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Mousseline Woes
Posted: 25 March 2009 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Julie - 25 March 2009 12:50 AM

Jeanne, I wonder if you also get the “ball of whites” stuck inside your KA 6QT whisk when making a double batch of mousseline?  It happens to me after I add the hot sugar syrup and the whites expand dramatically.  I have to push down the whites and stop the mixer to clear out the inside.  Do you beat at a higher speed when cooling the whites? 

And does your mousseline curdle?  I don’t start adding the butter until the whites cool down to below 90F, perhaps your warmer mixture doesn’t curdle so much?

Thanks so much for providing those details!

Well, how the whites behave depends on a few things - their age (if they’ve been left out at rm temp for a few hours or if you use them cold or colder), when you add the sugar (my chef instructor used to say this was the hardest part - teaching people how to “read” the whites), how long they beat before you add the syrup….  plus if you have a trace of yolk in there, they won’t beat well and you’ll see it not get the height or volume you’re used to. 

So usually I will let the whites stand out for a few hours sometimes even overnight if it’s winter - with my Hobart at work, I can get cold egg whites to whip beautifully, it just takes a little longer.  When I let them go too far before adding the sugar, they will make that ball,so it’s a careful balance.  Usually I start whipping the whites at about 225-227, if they are rm temp, they are ready for the sugar somewhere around 230-234 (this will vary depending on how much water is in the pot).  When the temp probe alarm goes off at 240, I turn the mixer to speed 8 and start pouring.  I let it stay at speed 8 for about 30 seconds (sometimes less, like 15 or 20) after I’m done with the syrup, then I turn it back to 6.

The “curdling” happens with the fat addition - you get to a point where the fat has to begin to emulsify and make the fluffy buttercream, but the whites have to get to a certain point and a certain “saturation” (for want of a better word) before that can happen.  The fat in the butter weighs down the meringue which is why it deflates, and the next stage is that “breaking” or “curdling” you see before the emulsification takes place.  The other students in school used to get a huge kick of me wanting to make buttercream; I love the part where it becomes buttercream, and to this day I still get a kick out of watching it (I’m very boring smile go from this hopeless mess to a big bowl of deliciousness.

If your butter is too warm, and the whites too warm, you risk floppy buttercream.  Let it set up for a few hours or put it on an ice pack or bowl of ice for a little while and keep beating it every so often.

If your butter is too cold, add it when the whites are still warm, but add it in thin increments so it doesn’t cause the meringue to go flying out of the mixer bowl and make a mess.  You can also use the microwave to soften it, but be very careful not to go too far.

If your butter is warmer than you like, wait til the whites are very cool, or stick the butter in the fridge to chill for about 20-30 minutes.

I can’t remember what the proportions are for the large batch size in TCB, so here’s what I use for a small batch:
12.5 oz whites
3.5 oz sugar

6 oz (minimum) water
14 oz sugar

2.5 pounds butter

Here’s what I use for the 20 qt Hobart:
30 oz whites
10.5 oz sugar

1#10 oz water
1# 15.5 oz sugar

6# butter

More than that, and the whites come out of the bowl when the sugar is added.

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Posted: 25 March 2009 11:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Jeanne, thanks so much!  This is all great information and you are so generous with us!!!

I loved hearing about how much you like to see the buttercream emulsify- it sort of freaks me out, and I keep wondering if I were to do something different if it would stop curdling, but I’m finally reconciling myself to the reality of mousseline.  Next time, as it’s dissolving into a lumpy mess, I’m going to think of you in culinary school and smile.

Have a great day!
Julie

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Posted: 25 March 2009 12:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Jeanne, you are so thorough in your descriptions. You would make an awesome teacher.

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Posted: 29 March 2009 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Julie - 24 March 2009 12:42 AM

Kacy, believe it or not, it sounds like you made mousseline correctly!  It is nervewracking to see it go through so many changes in volume and texture, but that’s what it does.

To rescue your first two batches, let them come fully up to room temp (this can take hours!), then try beating them until they emulsify and turn creamy/smooth.  Then you can freeze, or add flavorings and frost your cake.  If continued beating doesn’t work, then it could have been a sugar temp issue, but try the beating first.

Thanks Julie, I rescued my first batches and made another without any problems.  Not beating it long enough was the problem; the ingredients’ temperatures and room temp turned out to be fine.  The texture is great.  I added green tea powder and melon liqueur.  This is going on a genoise cake with honey syrup.

Next time I won’t be afraid of overbeating!

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Posted: 29 March 2009 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Kacy, congratulations, you did it!  You can now add mousseline to your bag of tricks. 

Your cake sounds wonderful, what great combinations!  Please post a pic if you can!

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Posted: 03 April 2009 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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I SOOO appreciate this discussion forum. I have made MBC 100 times and it always works out beautifully for me. I couldn’t understand the problems some people have with it. Tonight I am making a wedding cake for my favorite niece…everything MUST be perfect for her…and darned if I didn’t get a greasy watery puddle instead of the silky smooth amalgam I am used to getting. FIRST TIME EVER. So I ran to my computer and checked this thread and followed the advice and VOILA! the MBC is fixed. This is my first time baking in my new house, and I didn’t realize how warm the kitchen gets…76 degrees in here…so I chilled the curdled mixture and rebeat and it is fine now. SO THANKS!!!!

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Posted: 03 April 2009 12:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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So glad your buttercream came together Dottie.  Mine doesn’t usually curdle either, but I guess a lot of people have it happen (?).  I hope you’ll post a photo of your niece’s wedding cake!

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Posted: 03 April 2009 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Julie - 29 March 2009 08:28 PM

Your cake sounds wonderful, what great combinations!  Please post a pic if you can!

Here are some pics.  I had a tasting party and the genoise was the favorite over the chocolate.  Several people suggested increasing the mousseline to cake ratio smile

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Posted: 03 April 2009 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Lovely photos!

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Posted: 03 April 2009 03:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Wow Kacy! That looks great. Did you do all that writing on the cake?

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Posted: 03 April 2009 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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I traced it from a printed copy under a see-thru silpat, then glued it to cake with tylose when dry.  I used “chocolate” summer coating - don’t tell!!!

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Posted: 03 April 2009 08:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Jeanne - 23 March 2009 06:51 PM

what speed on the mixer are you using?

When I make this in a KA 6 qt, I use speed 6 to beat the whites; then 8 when adding the syrup; and I go back to 6 while it cools, and then stay there when adding the butter.

I have the KA 5qt; was using 4 & 6 on failed attempts.  Switching to 6 & 8 plus beating longer fixed it.  Thanks!

PS I didn’t realize you were I dream of Jeanne - You are my idol!!  Keep up the great work!

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Posted: 04 April 2009 12:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Lovely cakes! Your combo of green tea, melon and honey sounds divine. Makes me want to bake one…

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Posted: 04 April 2009 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Kacy - 03 April 2009 06:36 PM

I traced it from a printed copy under a see-thru silpat, then glued it to cake with tylose when dry.  I used “chocolate” summer coating - don’t tell!!!


Cool idea! I am horrible at writing on cakes. I admire anyone who can. I wish I can master the art of it.

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Posted: 04 April 2009 12:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Oh yes… GREAT idea!!!  I’m horrible at writing on cakes too, so this seems like the perfect solution!  Thanks for the great tip!

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