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My attempts at Meringue-making are driving me a tiny but crazy...

No matter what I do, at first, they are still wet on the inside, and if I leave them standing longer to dry out, they get a chewy/gummy-like consistency when bitten into (this is really the best way I can explain it).

I am currently working with 50-60 grams of granulated sugar per eggwhite (depending on what size of egg I have), a slightly heaped teaspoon (not the measuring-kind, just a regular, european teaspoon) of cornstarch per eggwhite. I add a pinch of salt to my eggwhites before whipping them up, then slowly add the sugar. Temperature-variation of the eggwhites did not seem to do much about the chewiness-Problem. I have tried drying between 70 and 100 decrees Celsius (most recipes seem to call for 80).

How do I get them to dry all the way through without burning them? I SUSPECT the fact that I seem unable to get them all dried out is the actual problem!

EDIT: For size: I usually strongly heap a teaspoon (mostly because the whole issue with a piping bag seems futile to me if the texture does strange things anyway...). They are not overly large, I'd say, and I even have the chewyness-issue when I make very very flat ones.

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    How big are your meringues? Isn't that chewy bit the best part anyway? – Doug Jan 15 '15 at 11:26
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    Hehe, with the right chewyness, I'd agee, but not when it turns MY chewy... it is not fluffy-sweet chewy, but "stick to my teeth" chewy... I wish I could share them online to explain just what is wrong with them! Will update the post about the size :). – Layna Jan 15 '15 at 11:32
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I'm pretty sure the problem is in using too much starch. Try less, or even learn to whip meringue which does not weep - you need to get both the speed and whipping time just right - and then skip the starch altogether. You can also try making Italian meringue, it's much easier. It also doesn't need starch.

Also don't use salt, it interferes with foam formation. Use a pinch of acid for more stable foam, but don't overdo it.

  • Good point about the starch! I had actually increased it because... actually, I think because my brain went floppy and weird on this. Now that you mention it, adding starch to reduce wetness and chewiness sounds ridiculous. I had NO idea about the difference acid vs. salt could make! And I will definitely give the Italian version a go :). – Layna Jan 15 '15 at 12:14
  • The starch makes your meringues similar to a cake. But because you bake them at so low, they don't become truly cakelike, their interior is similar to unbaked cake batter. This is why they stick. The explanation of salt vs acid is more complicated, it has to do with the microscopic structure of protein foams, especially disulfide bonds and hydrogen bonds. – rumtscho Jan 15 '15 at 12:18
  • I will definitely try this when I am having another set of eggwhites left over (happens often enough, somehow) and will hopefully remember to give final feedback :). And rumtscho is definitely right... of course starch will create something dough-y. Sometimes, one just is blind to ones own sillyness ^^. – Layna Jan 15 '15 at 12:51
  • @Layna such blind spots happen to everybody. There usually is a viewpoint from which the solution of a problem is obvious, but there is no guarantee that you (or anybody else) will find it. Good luck with your next batch. – rumtscho Jan 15 '15 at 13:18

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