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A few months ago I attempted a soufflé and had mixed success (i.e. failure). I determined that I enjoyed both the taste and the presentation, but I just haven't gained the confidence to try again.

I noticed that my soufflé would puff up very nicely, but quickly collapse, losing its structural rigidity and demolishing its parabolic nature. Does anyone know any tips or tricks to re-puff a soufflé, or at least a way to keep it from falling in the first place?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

They're kinda supposed to fall: egg protein just can't hold the shape independent of the hot air inside, so as it cools, it's going to fall. The only time one wouldn't fall is if you screwed it up and it never rose in the first place.

The best thing to do is pull it right out and serve it. Timing is everything.

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I guess my problem was not immediately serving it, thanks! –  Frank Pierce Dec 16 '10 at 16:38
3  
@frank pierce: Number one rule for souffle: don't tell people that you're making souffle. That way, if it falls, you can just call it something else ;) –  Satanicpuppy Dec 16 '10 at 18:32

A soufflé will always fall, but you can control how much. As a general rule, the faster and more dramatic the rise of the soufflé, the more catastrophic the fall. A lower oven temperature and stiffer mix will give a slower rise and a slower fall. You can also use a water bath to control the temperature of the soufflé as it cooks.

You can always re-puff a soufflé by re-heating it, but it will just fall again, and it will not rise as high each time it is re-heated.

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Good point about the lower oven temperature, I didn't realize this. –  Frank Pierce Dec 16 '10 at 16:41
    
@frank pierce: Some recipes will tell you to cheat and use a little baking powder for added lift. This can cause the sort of catastropic collapse Bob's talking about. –  Satanicpuppy Dec 16 '10 at 18:30

I never made a souffle in my life before watching an old episode of Julia Child's. We had success with both plain and smoked salmon souffle. You might search for it online and try her easy techniques. It's very entertaining as well.

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Try using cream of tartar to help stabilize the egg whites. As this article explains,

Add cream of tartar to the whites while beating; the acid stiffens and coagulates the egg-white protein, strengthening the walls of the bubbles. Sugar, used in sweet soufflés, also strengthens the bubbles.

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