Swiss Meringue Buttercream vs. Italian Meringue Buttercream
Posted: 18 January 2012 10:21 PM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  19
Joined  2011-07-19

Hi Everyone,

A question about buttercreams…

What are the differences in taste and performance of SMBC vs. IMBC?  SMBC just seems so much easier and faster to make (although I definately have more practice with this one) and requires only one bowl.  Is IMBC really worth the effort?  I appreciate any help you can offer.

Thanks!
Allie

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 January 2012 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4781
Joined  2008-04-16
alliecakes82 - 19 January 2012 02:21 AM

Is IMBC really worth the effort?

Depends on what your goals are.  Italian meringue buttercream is a little lighter/fluffier than Swiss, and holds up better after it’s on the cake.  It’s also whiter/paler than swiss because there are no egg yolks.  The somewhat firmer texture and pale color make it the best of the all-butter buttercreams for decorating.  It’s a great choice for weddings, where pale, stable frostings are desired.

Tastewise, it’s good but not my favorite, I like the richness of yolks in classic french buttercream and the custard flavor of silk meringue.  But there are definitely some who like the lightness and for them it’s a favorite.

Certainly the perception is that swiss is easier to make, but I do wonder if the difference is really as significant as people think.  I find for IM buttercream that it’s easy to make the meringue in the mixer bowl, then scoop that into another bowl to finish cooling after the mandatory beating/cooling period.  Then, without washing the mixer bowl, I put in the butter and whip it.  Then all the meringue gets dumped on top of the butter at once and whipped in.  I suspect that the tendency of IM bc to curdle freaks people out a bit, but it nearly always comes together, even after curdling badly.

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 January 2012 10:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  596
Joined  2007-11-27

For what it’s worth, I don’t beat the butter before adding it to the Italian Meringue; so for me, this is just as easy as Swiss.  Many professionals use Swiss (Ron Ben-Israel, Marina Sousa, Elisa Strauss….) - but I’ve never succumbed to the dark side wink mostly because IMBC is how I learned and I never seem to make the time to play with Swiss.  As long as the butter is soft, it’s ok.

 Signature 

I Dream of Jeanne Cakes selected by Brides Magazine as one of their 100 Favorite Bakers (2013)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 January 2012 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  901
Joined  2009-05-25

I’ve never made Swiss either, but I can almost make Mouselline in my sleep.  I either use a hand beater for the butter or I use my second mixer bowl.  Sometimes I don’t beat it either.  I really want to make more of the Silk Meringue Buttercream (with the custard)—that’s more work that the lot, but a fabulous texture and incredibly delicious.  I find IMBC to be a bit “buttery” for my tastes—especially on it’s own—definitely need additions to it!  That said, I’ve never ruined a batch of Mouselline—ever (temping fate now, I know).  I’ve wrecked countless genoise, angel cakes, etc.—but I’ve always managed to make Mouselline work for me.  I’ve never found it difficult, but I have always used a thermometer.

I’m a bit confused, though, I thought Swiss was egg white based with sugar added and warmed over a water bath to some specified temp (160F?) then proceed as per Mouselline.  I didn’t think there were egg yolks in it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 January 2012 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1174
Joined  2009-11-24
Julie - 19 January 2012 02:23 PM
alliecakes82 - 19 January 2012 02:21 AM

Is IMBC really worth the effort?

Depends on what your goals are.  Italian meringue buttercream is a little lighter/fluffier than Swiss, and holds up better after it’s on the cake.  It’s also whiter/paler than swiss because there are no egg yolks.  The somewhat firmer texture and pale color make it the best of the all-butter buttercreams for decorating.  It’s a great choice for weddings, where pale, stable frostings are desired.

Tastewise, it’s good but not my favorite, I like the richness of yolks in classic french buttercream and the custard flavor of silk meringue.  But there are definitely some who like the lightness and for them it’s a favorite.

Certainly the perception is that swiss is easier to make, but I do wonder if the difference is really as significant as people think.  I find for IM buttercream that it’s easy to make the meringue in the mixer bowl, then scoop that into another bowl to finish cooling after the mandatory beating/cooling period.  Then, without washing the mixer bowl, I put in the butter and whip it.  Then all the meringue gets dumped on top of the butter at once and whipped in.  I suspect that the tendency of IM bc to curdle freaks people out a bit, but it nearly always comes together, even after curdling badly.

I never considering doing it this way…... useful for when you need to several things with your bowls.!!

 Signature 

So many recipes - so little time.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2012 12:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  43
Joined  2010-08-04

Swiss Meringue Buttercream definitely doesn’t use the yolks. French buttercream uses the yolks. I have made both IMBC and SMBC and I found that I can’t really tell the difference so I have switched to SMBC because as you noted it is easier. It goes on perfectly for me. I have heard that IMBC is more stable but I haven’t seen any evidence of that.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2012 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3147
Joined  2010-04-25

Allie, were you wondering about the difference between mousseline and (A) SILK meringue buttercream (yolks) or (B) SWISS meringue buttercream (which has no yolks)?

I was interpreting SMBC vs. IMBC to be the difference between SILK Meringe Buttercream (with egg yolk custard) vs. Mousseline, as well.  But reading responses above about the similarities between SWISS and Mousseline makes me think it is about SWISS vs. Mousseling (whites vs. whites).

I’ve made SILK - make custard, make hot-syrup-cooked egg whites, cool everthing to same temp, mix custard with butter and add whites and mix.
I’ve made IMBC (Mousseline) - add hot-syrup-cooked-whites to butter and let fly.

SILK is fluffier and more subtle—and pretty incredible in it’s almost etherial texture.  IMBC more buttery (as it’s not “diluted” with custard), and great with fruit.  And neoclassic, great with nut butters added.

But not SWISS meringue buttercream.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 January 2012 08:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4781
Joined  2008-04-16

Ooops, sorry about the swiss/yolks vs. no yolks thing.  I’ve definitely seen some swiss recipes that include whole eggs, but it sounds like maybe most of them don’t, is that right?

 Signature 

B&T Blog:  Cultured Butter Recipe

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 January 2012 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  670
Joined  2012-01-12

If you are aiming for fabulous and great taste,  then do what is best for you.  Ignore all the health issues and paranoia.  I bake for taste regardless of health problems and what not…I think great bakers are more concerned about taste than anything else..

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2012 09:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2012-04-19

HI Everyone,

I also was wondering about the real difference between IMBC (Italian Mirangue) and SMBC (Swiss Mirangue) buttercreams?  My understanding is that its just a difference of method where IMBC requires the hot (140 F) cooled down sugar syrup to be poured into the whipped egg white mirangue and then room temperature butter is added.  On the other hand SMBC is the sugar and egg whites warmed over a double broiler and then whipped up to the mirangue stage and then butter is added in.

Am I incorrect in the difference of these two?
And what do you all think is better for cake decorating and piping?
Do they taste the same?

Thanks!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2012 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  596
Joined  2007-11-27

Hello and welcome sara_sf!

You are correct about the methods used to make Italian (aka Mousseline buttercream in the RLB parlance!) and Swiss meringue. 

There are pros and cons to each: Swiss seems to me to be smoother/softer which translates into easier to get a glass-smooth surface on a cake; I have never piped anything other than a small border (dots, shells) with it.  Italian seems - by comparison to the Swiss - to be a bit firmer; a little harder to smooth for a final coat, easier to pipe with (keep in mind that the petals of a flower made with a meringue buttercream will soften and sag as the buttercream warms up).  I can get a very soft Italian meringue, but it has more air pockets in it than does the Swiss so it is a little more fickle or maybe I am just too fussy about getting a perfectly smooth finish coat wink

As far as taste, you should make them and see for yourself how you like them.  They will both be melt-in-your mouth soft and air-like, but sometimes people don’t care for this type of buttercream, finding it too buttery or not sweet enough, regardless of whether it is Swiss or Italian.

 Signature 

I Dream of Jeanne Cakes selected by Brides Magazine as one of their 100 Favorite Bakers (2013)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 19 May 2012 03:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  15
Joined  2012-04-19

Thanks for your warm welcome, Jeanne!

I will indeed give them a try to see the difference smile

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top
 
‹‹ Bread Proofing      Charlotte Russe ››