Souffles have fallen out of fashion, at least in regards to home cooks. I have hundreds of cookbooks spanning back over 120 years. In many of those books, dated from the 50’s through the 70’s and even 80’s, you’d find recipes for all sorts of souffles from sweet to savory. In the 80’s their popularity started to wane and now it is rare to find a new cookbook with a souffle recipe in it. That’s too bad as I think every decent home cook should know how to make a soufflé.
There seems to be a mystique surrounding souffles and how difficult they are to make. Most of it is a load of crap. I can’t begin to count the number of souffles I have made, in both professional kitchens and at home, and I think I have had only 1 turn out a failure. They really aren’t that difficult to make, and they most certainly are not nearly as temper mental to bake as the myth has it.
I want to share 4 tips that will allow you to serve a perfect souffle almost every time. There’s nothing secret about these, nor are they all that enlightening, but follow these 4 tips and your success rate will be like mine.
1. Don’t over whip your egg whites. Leave them just shy of stiff peak to get maximum rise out of them.
2. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into your base to lighten the base then gently fold in the remaining whites. It’s okay to leave a few streaks of white unincorporated. This is better than over stirring and deflating your whites.
3. Once in the oven do not open the oven door for the first 2/3 of the baking.
4. Serve the souffle as soon as possible after coming out of the oven. Even the best made souffle will start to collapse as it cools down. Time is of the essence.
This recipe makes a great breakfast souffle that will serve 4 people when accompanied by toast, bagels or pastries.
Cheese and Bacon Souffle
1/4 cup Flour
1/4 cup Butter + more for greasing the mold
1 cup Milk
1/2 tsp. Dry Mustard
1/2 tsp. Granulated Garlic
3-6 dashes Hot Sauce
2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese, grated
6 oz. Cheddar cheese (sharp or medium)
3 sliced Bacon, thick cut
5 each eggs
Preheat oven to 375. Dice bacon and render until crisp. Pour off fat and reserve bacon. Grease a 2 qt. Souffle mold or high sided baking dish with butter and dust with Parmesan cheese. Place in the fridge. Separate eggs with whites in 1 bowl and yolks in another. Meanwhile melt remain 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Combine flour, a couple grates of fresh nutmeg, mustard, and garlic and add to the butter. Cook for 2 minutes then add the milk. When thickened add hot sauce and stir in cheddar cheese. Continue to heat until cheese has melted. Remove from heat. Whip egg whites to a point just short of stiff peak. Temper cheese mixture into yolks, stirring to combine. Add bacon. Gently fold in 1/3 of the white into the yolk mixture then fold in the remaining whites. Pour into mold and bake for 25 minutes. After 20 minutes quickly check for doneness. To test a souffle for doneness test just like a cake. Insert a toothpick or small knife into the souffle. If it comes out clean then it is done. Serve immediately.