I wrote the USDA and asked their hotline about the egg whites, giving a description of how the cream anglaise and egg whites were whipped in the SMB recipe, and here is there reply
“Dear Ms. Ramirez:
Thank you for writing the USDA’s Meat and Poultry Hotline. Your icing recipe is just fine. If the hot syrup is heated to the hard crack state that is well past the temperature needed to make the egg whites safe. Since the crème anglese has also been heated to 170 the entire mixture is perfectly safe.”
So it seams as long as you are heating the egg yolks to above 160 degrees farenheit, (so their web sight says), and you pour hot syrup into the egg whites, all is safe.
Thanks for such a great topic everyone, I’ll feel better when I make this wedding cake.
Thanks, Linda, for reporting back on that! A very useful service to the forum. Now, too, we know a good source to consult about the mousseline bc, if anyone is ever concerned about the safety of syrup plus egg whites only.
Don’t want to be a wet blanket here, but the USDA has hedged their bets somewhat in the reply to Linda. As regards the egg whites - not the yolks in the creme anglaise which is a very straightforward issue (heating above 160 is fine).
I’m assuming you quoted them directly, Linda? Here’s the problematic sentence: “If the hot syrup is heated to the hard crack state, that is well past the temperature needed to make the egg whites safe.” The syrup for both the Mousseline and Silk Meringue buttercreams is heated until it reaches between 248 and 250F. That’s between firm and hard ball stage. Hard crack stage is 300-310F.
I personally don’t think the egg whites are a problem with the syrup at 248. But anyone who has concerns for whatever reason (e.g. compromised immune system, etc.) should use pasteurized egg whites for these recipes. In my opinion, it’s not an option to take the syrup to hard crack stage, because that would make it too brittle to incorporate in the egg whites.
I may not seem too bright but,is there an issue about the safe use of the egg whites in the recipe not being cooked or something?.Never had a problem with nobake pavlova where they are not cooked.Am I on the wrong track here?
I can’t remember whether it was Baking911 or Waverly Root who did a test to see what the temp of the beaten whites were after the syrup had been added. The temp did not come close to 160. The syrup - at 248 - is not hot enough to raise the temp of the beaten whites sufficiently.
On the other hand, Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which is made by gently heating sugar and egg whites to 160 (you constantly stir or whisk while it is on the bain marie then you whip it and add the butter) is considered safe by these standards. It’s just not as stable as IMBC. A lot of bakers use SMBC as their house buttercream and I keep saying I am going to experiment with it and see if I like it.
I have a pastry chef friend in NYC who uses the dried egg whites in her IMBC with great success and as soon as I find a source for the dried whites in the quantities I go through, I might just make the switch.
Carolita, I will check again at exactly what temperature they want the syrup to be for it to be safe. I did not give them the temperatures I was referring to, but you are right, there is a big difference between the hard crack and hard ball stage. I’ll post what I find out, as they are vague about the syrup.
Thank you Jeanne for your advise about the egg whites.I have never considered any dangers from egg whites before,its never been refered to by anyone here in Australia that I know of.As I said before I have been making an no bake pavlova for years ,just egg whites,sugar,gelatine,and vanilla.I also have never heard of pastuerised egg whites.Whole raw eggs are eaten by some people and egg flips with raw egg,vanilla and milk are a common thing for some others.This is indeed a new idea for me.It certainly is true that you learn something new everyday and its especially true on this forum.
Thank you Carolita for the information you sent me.I didnt know what the egg whites were actually suppose to cause.Thanks to your link I do now.We buy our eggs five minutes down the road from a producer,who does roadside sales from inside his premises.I will ask him about all these things when I go next time.Its sort of what came first ‘the chicken or the egg’is the problem of the eggs inside or outside.I will certainly be mindful of these things now I have been informed about them .Thank you once again for all this helpful information
thanks everyone for researching this important subject. fyi, although the syrup is at 248oF when drizzling on the whipped egg whites for mousseline, the mix never reaches anything close to 160oF???? that i can recall.
The syrup is more than hot enough to make the egg whites safe. Salmonella is killed at 160 degrees F, so even if the syrup is at firm-ball stage it is pleny hot enough to make the icing safe.
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I realize it is all a personal decision, but here is the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) web sights reply. I know I will be comfortable with it. My research shows that there is very little salmonella in the whites, as most of it is in the yolk. But we all must choose what we want to go with.
Rose addressed this issue on the blog some time back. If I recall correctly, she said the egg whites had to be held at/above a certain temperature for a specific length of time in order for salmonella to be killed, and I believe she said the hot sugar syrup in her buttercreams, although heated to a high enough temp, did NOT keep the eggs hot long enough to kill salmonella.
In my mind, the whole salmonella scare is overrated, but I suppose I wouldn’t risk it with someone who had a compromised immunity. No harm in being cautious.
Sorry, it wasn’t Waverly Root, it was Harold McGee who tested it. This is from his book, On Food and Cooking, pg 108:
“Because much of the syrup’s heat is lost to the bowl…the foam mass normally gets no hotter than 130 or 135 degrees F, which is insufficient to kill salmonella”
So when the syrup is added to the beaten egg whites, the whites never meet the temperature at which salmonella would be killed, if it is present.
If this is an issue for your circumstances, making Swiss Meringue buttercream would be one option, or making the Italian Meringue buttercream with dried (pasteurized) whites or pasteurized in the shell whites (taking care when separating them).