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TLDR: Is it possible to make a souffle that doesn't have beaten egg-whites, but still rises? Leaveners don't seem to work.

Longer version:

I've never eaten "real" souffles (at a restaurant). I tried this recipe, which tastes great, but doesn't deal with beating egg-whites. This (beating the egg-whites into stiff peaks and folding) seems to be something of a fundamental or hallmark of souffles, which is credited to their rising.

The recipe's souffles don't rise much (not even out of the pan). I also tried a variation with baking powder, which had a negligible effect.

Is it possible to make a souffle that rises, without folding in beaten egg whites? Would baking soda work?

NB: these (from the recipe) are also not baked in a pan with water with them.

  • It's not that egg whites produce the rise, it's that they form a strong protein foam that captures air bubbles and which hardens upon heating, producing the airy texture. Leaveners will just produce more bubbles, not necessarily "capture" them in the same way. – logophobe Apr 17 '15 at 21:32
  • @logophobe I don't know much about the science behind it. That's why I can't figure out the answer to this question myself. Are you suggesting there's no alternative that will act similarly? – ashes999 Apr 17 '15 at 21:36
  • I'm suggesting that it will be tough, and that you may want to update your question (or your searches online) to refine what you need. – logophobe Apr 17 '15 at 21:48
  • @logophobe I tried to make it as clear as I could. Maybe you can suggest some edits to increase clarity? – ashes999 Apr 17 '15 at 21:56
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TL:DR answer - not really. The beaten egg whites are an integral component of the souffle, forming both the rising action of the mixture (by capturing air within the protein network of the eggs) and and the structure. The recipe you linked to is more of a cake than a souffle, even using the creaming method commonly seen in cake production.

While other ingredients can capture air as well (such as the gluten formation from flour in a cake or bread), they change the nature of this dish so much that it's no longer recognizable as a souffle.

Adding baking soda unfortunately won't help in this particular instance as the rise caused by this is due to the carbon dioxide gas released. The souffles have that part covered with the air bubbles released during baking - what they need is the structure to trap them in.

I hope that helped to clarify!

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Yes, I don't see why this would not be possible. As someone pointed out above, the white does not serve as a leavener, but creates structure. Modernist cooking uses an array of ingredients that produce foams in a variety of ways. See here, for example: http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernist-techniques/more/culinary-foams-technique

Versawhip, for example, is a soy protein that has been treated with an enzyme. It can be added to a liquid and whipped into an egg white-type foam fairly easily. It can be used hot or cold. There are probably other options.

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