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Buttercream Help
Posted: 06 April 2009 03:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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if I am using Fondant over the buttercream, would the Swiss Buttercream work?

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Posted: 06 April 2009 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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When an Italian Meringue is made the sugar syrup cooks the whites and heats them to 160 degrees, which is hot enough to kill any micro-organisms that could be in the egg whites. You really don’t need to be worried about the safety of the whites.

A Swiss meringue buttercream is different from the Italian in that the whites, sugar, salt, and acid (cream of tarter or lemon juice) are whisked together over a water bath until the it reaches a temp no higher than 165 degrees. Some recipes call for heating it to 140-145 (which will dissolve the sugar, but not make it completely safe to eat). You will have a more stable Swiss Meringue Buttercream if you heat the mixture to at least 160 before whipping.

There is a textural difference between the two styles of buttercream. The Italian Meringue style is by far the most stable of buttercreams (it is least likely to slide off a cake and melt in warmer temperatures), lighter in texture, somewhat easier to work with when icing a cake, and has a fluffier texture in the mouth and melts easily on the tongue. The Italian Meringue is the best for layer cakes, especially tiered cakes.

The Swiss Meringue in contrast is slightly heavier in texture (although not heavy like ganache is), and if the egg whites are not heated to 165 before whipping, it is not stable enough to use in temperatures 90 degrees and above. It also does not have the fluffy mouse like texture that Italian Meringue Buttercreams have, and consequently if you use it for a layer cake, you have to periodically re-beat it by hand a few times so it spreads easily.

Given it’s few disadvantages, I still use the SMB for simple layer cakes, as it is simple to make and takes less time put together. It is also my favorite choice for cupcakes, and can be flavored with just about anything (a few tablespoons of jam beat into the buttercream is delightful on vanilla cupcakes).

Here is my version of Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It is somewhat lighter than the standard recipe (1/2 cup egg whites to 1 cup of sugar and 1# butter), so it works better for layer cakes than the standard version (although it does not spread AS easily as the IMB).

3/4 cup of egg whites (6-8 egg whites, depending on the size of the egg white)
1 cup + 1/4 cup plain white sugar
3/4 tsp table salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice or 3/4 tsp cream of tarter (I prefer lemon juice for the flavor)

1# of unsalted butter, cut into smallish cubes and allowed to come to room temp.

2 tsp of extract of your choice
1-2 Tablespoon of flavored liquor of your choice

Make sure the mixing bowl, whisk, and whip are spotlessly clean.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the whites, sugar, salt, and acid together. Place the mixing bowl over a pot of barely simmering water and heat until it reaches 160-165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Whisk constantly while it’s heating to prevent the whites from cooking on the bottom of the bowl.

Put the bowl on the mixer with the whip attachment and start the machine on medium speed for about 1 minute. When the whites begin to thicken, increase the speed to high and whip until the whites have reached full volume, are fluffy, and form stiff, glossy peaks (FYI, it’s almost impossible to over whip these egg whites because of the sugar, acid, and pre-cooking them).

Allow the whites to whip until they cool completely and are under 100 degrees (the bottom of the bowl should feel barely warm to the touch).

Decrease the speed to medium, and gradually add in the butter about a tablespoon at a time, whip in each addition of butter into the meringue thoroughly before adding more butter. Periodically increase the speed to high, briefly, to make sure butter is emulsifying properly. The butter cream may break and curdle when you get to the last 1/3 of the butter; this is completely normal, just continue whipping until it comes back together.

When the last of the butter is added and the buttercream is well emulsified, add the extract and liquor and whip until well blended (it may break again briefly, but will come back together quickly).


Roxanne

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Posted: 06 April 2009 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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As long as the cake won’t be in a hot environment (higher than 90 degrees), a Swiss Meringue Buttercream will work for most cakes (I don’t recommend it for tiered cakes as it gets tedious to use and sometimes can weigh them down).

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Posted: 06 April 2009 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Rozanne,

The egg whites in an Italian meringue are fully cooked by the sugar syrup. The meringue reaches a temperature range of 160-162 every time I have made it. This has been tested by several people on this board and by America’s Test Kitchen.

There really is nothing to worry about.

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Posted: 06 April 2009 03:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Roxanne, does it matter how much sugar syrup there is?

Many Italian Meringue buttercream recipes use more sugar than TCB.  I treasure Rose’s not-too-sweet viewpoint, and would never use a sweeter version, but in my kitchen I have to say that I have left a thermometer in the whites and they do not reach 160F; nor do they remain above 140F for a full three minutes.  I’m going to check again next time I make it.

However, from what I have read there is almost never salmonella present in whites, it is only in the yolks.  According to Shirley Corriher, the only instances where it has been found in whites was when the eggs were subject to extreme abuse- left at warm temperatures for days, etc.

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Posted: 06 April 2009 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Thank you for your guidance. If the Italian buttercream reaches the correct temperature, I’d like to use it. I am planning on using Fondant on top of the Buttercream. This is a request of my daughter. I haven’t heard whether you prefer the Swiss or the Italian for use with the Fondant.. I’m just concerned because one of the guests is my 93 year old father who is on dialysis, and the thought of giving him Salmonella…..unthinkable!

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Posted: 06 April 2009 04:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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This would depend on what I’m making. A single tier layer cake? I’d use the SMB. If I was putting together a multi-teared cake I would most definitely use the IMB. For a single tier, 2-layer cake, it would just be personal prefarence and what’s convienant for you. Both styles would work.

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Posted: 06 April 2009 04:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Julie - 06 April 2009 06:52 PM

Roxanne, does it matter how much sugar syrup there is?

Many Italian Meringue buttercream recipes use more sugar than TCB.  I treasure Rose’s not-too-sweet viewpoint, and would never use a sweeter version, but in my kitchen I have to say that I have left a thermometer in the whites and they do not reach 160F; nor do they remain above 140F for a full three minutes.  I’m going to check again next time I make it.

However, from what I have read there is almost never salmonella present in whites, it is only in the yolks.  According to Shirley Corriher, the only instances where it has been found in whites was when the eggs were subject to extreme abuse- left at warm temperatures for days, etc.

The amount of sugar syrup added to the whites could affect the temperature range, but I’m not totally sure of this. For the record, I don’t use Rose’s recipe for mousseline. I have a recipe adapted from the style I used to use when I made wedding cakes. I would have to make huge batches of this in a 60qt mixer. My recipe uses a little over 1 and 1/3 times the sugar as Rose’s. I find it slightly sweeter than Rose’s, but no overly so. The reason for the extra sugar was for better keeping, as we would never refrigerate the butter cream in the bakery. We would make huge batches one or twice a week, transfer to large pails, and just store them in the decorating room. The buttercream would stay fresh about a week at room temp.

Even in a 60 qt mixer with something like a gallon of egg whites and 1.5 quarts of hot sugar syrup, the whites always reached 160. It was brief, but you only need, literally, 30 seconds at 160 to make them safe.

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Posted: 06 April 2009 04:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Thinking about the butter cream I used to make years ago for wedding cakes…I remembered we used commercially pasteurized egg whites (pasteurized at a lower temp than grocery store varieties, so they still whipped well) that we got in in 10 gallon buckets which were more food cost friendly, so it didn’t really matter what temp the whites got too during whipping.

Has anyone tried to whip whites from the Davidson’s Pasteurized Eggs in the Shell? They might be easier to whip than whites from a carton because they are not heat pasteurized. I will have to try that. I use the Davidson’s eggs for mayo, salad dressings, tiramisu fillings, and this really old-fashioned Creamy French Icing that’s been in my family for decades (calls for 2 whole raw eggs).

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Posted: 06 April 2009 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Roxanne, this is for a 3 tier 12, 9, 6, wedding cake. I intend to put fondant over the buttercream. From what you are saying, the Italian Buttercream , like Rose’s MBC , would be the best and most stable.

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Posted: 06 April 2009 06:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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yep!

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Posted: 07 April 2009 12:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Roxanne - 06 April 2009 07:50 PM

Has anyone tried to whip whites from the Davidson’s Pasteurized Eggs in the Shell? They might be easier to whip than whites from a carton because they are not heat pasteurized. I will have to try that. I use the Davidson’s eggs for mayo, salad dressings, tiramisu fillings, and this really old-fashioned Creamy French Icing that’s been in my family for decades (calls for 2 whole raw eggs).

Roxanne

I just made a batch of Silk Meringue Buttercream with Davidson’s Pasteurized Egg whites and they whipped up great!

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Posted: 07 April 2009 09:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Roxanne, I’m in NYC and they don’t carry Davidson’s Egg Whites here. Also , I’d like to pick your brain since you are an accomplished baker. I’m going to make Rose’s Wedding cake recipe,, the 3 tier, White Butter Cake. When preparing the 12 inch layers, I don’t have enough room in my oven at the same time, at least on the same rack in the middle of the oven. I’m hesitant to put the rack up higher, or lower to fit onee pan on each rack. Should I fill each pan and bake one and keep the other in the fridge until the first one is done, or can I leave it out until the first one is done baking? Sounds like I’ve never baked before, but I’m pretty good. I’ve just not baked with larger cake pans than can fit at the same time. Thanks.

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Posted: 07 April 2009 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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tofusalem - 06 April 2009 04:12 PM

Patricia and Rozanne, do you use “real” egg whites when you do your Buttercream or the egg whites in the carton? All this talk about safety in uncooked whites has me worried. I know you’ve had discussions about this. Do you feel that the heated syrup brought to 248 and then added to the beaten egg whites cooks them enough? There is a recipe which cooks the egg whites and sugar first until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved which they say is 160 degrees, then beats the heated mixture until thickened and then adds the butter after it is cooled enough. I’m thinking the buttercream would be a different consistency. What are your feelings…even though you’ve spoken of this ad infinitum!

I use regular egg whites… can’t get pasteurized egg whites here except for ones that have been colored yellow.  Rose specifically states on the blog that the temp of the mousseline does NOT eliminate the chance of Salmonella, but I believe it isn’t usually present in egg whites, but rather in the yolks, and very seldom at that.  I feel like we’ve been brainwashed into fearing eggs - Salmonella is extremely rare, and reported cases are almost always related to restaurant or commercial abuse, and are not related to home cooking.  However, if I were planning to serve mousseline to someone with a compromised immune system, I would mention the risk.

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Posted: 07 April 2009 04:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Patricia, I tend to agree with you. I just made a holiday Sponge cake ...family recipe…I certainly had no fear of licking the beaters after making the meringue for the cake!

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