Cheese Soufflé

While playing Suzette, a cordon bleu cook in the Zurich Comedy Club‘s production of Don’t Dress for Dinner (November 6-16, 2013), I cooked all the dishes named in the script. This was the second course: Cheese soufflé.

*****

I suppose it was only a matter of time before I attempted this classic dish. Every cook should be able to make one, so I guess I had to tackle this some time in my life. I’d never made one before, and I have to say, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. And it was quite impressive.

A soufflé basically consists of two components—stiffly beaten egg whites and a thick, flavored base. In the cheese soufflé, the base is a sauce Béchamel, one of the five mother sauces. The word soufflé comes from the French verb souffler which means “to blow up” or more loosely “puff up.” That is exactly what happens to the soufflé when it is put into the oven.

In my research, I picked up some basic information about and tips for making soufflés.

  • Be very careful when separating your egg whites from the egg yolks. Even a bit of yolk in the egg white can ruin your endeavor. Separate your eggs in a separate bowl, then add them one at a time to the ones you intend to whip to make sure no yolk gets in.
  • Beaten egg whites don’t hold up well, so you should have all other ingredients ready and the oven preheated before you start.
  • Adding an extra egg white helps stiffen the soufflé.
  • In beating the egg whites, it is very important to use a clean, dry, non-plastic bowl. Plastic tends to retain a slight film of fat, which can counteract your efforts to stiffen the egg whites. Start on a lower speed and slowly increase speed until the egg whites are stiff but not dry.
  • Preparation of the baking dish or soufflé mold is very important. It should be generously buttered with soft, not melted, butter. It can then  be (optionally) sprinkled with dry bread crumbs, finely grated cheese, or cornmeal. (This tip is from the Joy of Cooking.)

    Use a glass or metal bowl to whip egg whites. Prepare the soufflé dish carefully.

    Use a glass or metal bowl to whip egg whites. Prepare the soufflé dish carefully.

  • Some people  wrap buttered parchment paper around their mold as a “collar” to support the mixture as it expands.  (I did this but it didn’t end up being necessary.)

    Buttered parchment paper can be used as a collar to extend the height of the soufflé dish.

    Buttered parchment paper can be used as a collar to extend the height of the soufflé dish.

  • You can run the back of a wooden spoon around the inside edge of the dish to create a moat. This supposedly helps the soufflé rise in a straight line.

    Last step in the preparation.

    Last step in the preparation.

  • Keep the oven door closed while baking. Only check for doneness once the soufflé is close to finished.
  • Be sure everyone is seated at the table before you remove the soufflé from the oven, and serve your soufflé immediately. It will begin to collapse within a minute or two of leaving the oven.

Cheese Soufflé
Serves 4
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
672 calories
18 g
407 g
51 g
36 g
29 g
279 g
765 g
5 g
1 g
18 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
279g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 672
Calories from Fat 447
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 51g
78%
Saturated Fat 29g
145%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 15g
Cholesterol 407mg
136%
Sodium 765mg
32%
Total Carbohydrates 18g
6%
Dietary Fiber 1g
3%
Sugars 5g
Protein 36g
Vitamin A
41%
Vitamin C
1%
Calcium
80%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 Tbsp. (57 g.) butter, plus butter for the baking dish
  2. 1/4 cup (60 g.) all-purpose flour
  3. 1 1/2 cups (355 ml.) milk, warmed until hot to the touch
  4. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. 1/8 tsp. (.06 g.) nutmeg
  6. Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  7. 6 eggs, separated
  8. 1 egg white
  9. 1/2 cup (120 g.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus about 3 Tbsp. (45 g.) for the mold
  10. 1/2 cup (120 g.) grated cheese such as Gruyère (cheddar, Jack, Roquefort, or Emmentaler can also work)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 °F (190 °C) before you're ready to cook.
  2. Generously butter a 2-quart (2-liter) soufflé or other deep baking dish. Liberally sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Tilt in all directions until all of the areas are covered then tip the mold over and shake off the remaining cheese into the cheese you'll be using for the recipe.
  3. Melt the remaining 4 Tbsp. of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring gently, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the milk, a bit at a time until the mixture is thick. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne. (Minus the cayenne, this is a basic sauce Béchamel.)
  4. Let cool for a few minutes to room temperature or slightly warmer than room temperature, then beat in the egg yolks and the cheeses.
  5. In an immaculately clean, dry, non-plastic bowl, using an electric or hand mixer or a whisk, beat the egg whites—slowly at first, then with increasing speed until stiff.
  6. Fold the egg whites into the sauce in 3-4 portions. Continue to fold gently until all egg whites are incorporated. Do not overmix.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish to just below the rim. You can run the back of a wooden spoon around the inside edge of the dish to create a moat. This supposedly helps the soufflé rise in a straight line.
  8. Bake until the soufflé has risen, the top is golden brown, and the sides are firm, about 30-45 minutes. You can use a toothpick or skewer to test for moistness. If it is quite wet, bake another 5 minutes, then test again.
  9. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
beta
calories
672
fat
51g
protein
36g
carbs
18g
more
Adapted from Mark Bittman, How to Cook Everything
Eclectic-Domestic http://eclectic-domestic.com/






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3 Responses to Cheese soufflé

  1. Karen says:

    Wow! Your cheese soufflé looks divine! I have neither eaten nor cooked a soufflé in my entire life, but I’m now tempted. Do I have to adjust the recipe if I made several small individual soufflés?

    • Bouqui says:

      Hi Karen,
      Thanks! The baking time should be adjusted (reduced) by as much as half for smaller/individual dishes. You’ll need to judge based on the size of your dish and watch the soufflé carefully.

  2. Nya says:

    This looks good. I have made souffle before and I often use herbs in the base along with the cheese. I’d never heard the tip about the breadcrumbs. I’ll have to try it. Thanks.

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