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I've tried many times to whip some cream or egg whites with a simple whisk, but I feel tired after about a minute of whipping, and I do not obtain good results also after whipping for sometime. I suspect that I'm doing it wrong.

Is there a correct way to use a whisk? How to avoid so much fatigue? About the quantity of the food to whip?

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5  
Get a mixer with a whisk attachment! As long as it takes to make a meringue or whipped cream in an electric mixer, I get tired just thinking about trying it by hand. –  yossarian Aug 25 '10 at 14:37
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I've got one in my home, but not in my girlfriend's home, I don't want to be beaten by an egg in front of her! –  pygabriel Aug 25 '10 at 19:21
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Keep in mind that whipping cream or egg whites by hand may take longer than you expect.

That said, there is a proper way to whisk egg whites, and it is quite likely that taking breaks due to your fatigue is interfering.

See this site for detailed instructions. In particular, see below for an excerpt on one possible problem (although there are numerous things that can potentially go wrong).

We will split the whisking of egg whites into two parts. The first covers the disintegration of the mucous mass up to the point when it becomes a grayish, roundish mass. This part requires mixing with an easy and rhythmic effort. The second part covers the conversion of the round, gray mass into a smooth, light, firm, stunningly white batter. This second part, unlike the first, requires a very vigorous and accelerated effort.

During both these periods, the whisking, even though different in strength and speed, must not be interrupted. Under no circumstances should you stop once you have begun to whisk. Stopping causes the whites to disintegreate. Instead of rising and firming up more and more, their mass will remain semi-solid and will take on a blotchy, grainy look.

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Thank you for the highly accurated informations –  pygabriel Aug 25 '10 at 21:57
    
Both cream and egg-whites should be cold. You can place the mixing bowl on top of an ice bath to keep the temperature low. –  BaffledCook Mar 3 '11 at 0:35
    
For egg-whites use a very clean bowl. Fats interfere with the formation of the bubbles. –  BaffledCook Mar 3 '11 at 0:38
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Use a larger bowl than you'd think (or less starting product); you want your product to be able to move around. Hold the bowl on an angle so your whisk can shear through the liquid as much as possible. Other than that, you want to go in a fast circular motion, dipping in and out of the liquid in order to incorporate air.

Only way to avoid the fatigue is practice. You should see one of our prep cooks! She used to be patissier for a very rustic chef--no electric mixers in that kitchen. I've seen her whisk meringue by hand and then move on to making aioli without blinking. Girl's got pipes I tell you.

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I belive you also want to move more at the wrist than at the elbow.

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I would say: keep your wrist stiff and make the movement from your elbow. I'm not sure if what you're saying is the opposite of that, or the same - in what I'm describing, the elbow stays in the same place and the wrist moves along with the rest of the arm, so in some sense we agree, but the movement originates from the elbow. –  Erik P. Aug 25 '10 at 13:36
    
I completely agree with @Erik P. Follow @roux's instructions for bowl placement, and Erik's for arm movement (or lack thereof) –  Joe Aug 26 '10 at 3:47
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Making the movement from the elbow ensures you are using big muscles that can do more work. Doing it entirely from the wrist means using small muscles for big movements; they tire easily. –  daniel Aug 26 '10 at 7:06
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