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Swiss Meringue 101

Baker Bettie Baking Techniques, Fundamentals 9 Comments

Moist Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Angel Food Cake with Blueberry Ginger Sauce

Learn how to make Swiss meringue, the most stable of all meringues, along with a little food science about how Swiss meringue is different than the other meringue preparations. This post is part of my Baking Fundamentals series where I teach basic baking techniques. 

How to Make Swiss Meringue- Baker Bettie

Hello there! It is currently extremely early in the morning and I am very foggy eyed, but I am here and excited because today I am sharing another baking fundamentals post with you! Today I am teaching you about Swiss Meringue, how to make it, and a little science behind what makes it different than the other meringue preparations.

Last week, we talked about the French Meringue preparation. French Meringue is awesome because it requires very few steps, very little equipment, and very little time or technique to make. Essentially egg whites are whipped, sugar is gradually added and whipped into it halfway through, and the mixture is whipped further until stiff peaks are formed.

While this is all fine and good and I make French Meringue a lot for certain things (like that angel food cake), there are times when it is just not stable enough and a more stable meringue is needed.

Enter, Swiss Meringue! Swiss Meringue is the most stable of all meringues. It is also more dense and glossier, almost marshmallow like. Swiss meringue pipes like a dream and holds its shape well without weeping for a much longer time than french meringue. For this reason, it is great to use as a pie topping especially if you aren’t serving it immediately. The preparation of Swiss meringue also makes it safer to eat if you aren’t baking it because you heat the mixture during the preparation.

Let’s walk through the steps, shall we?

How to Make Swiss Meringue

Step 1- Whisk together the egg whites and sugar. In a very clean bowl, free from all oil/grease, whisk together the sugar and egg whites. No need to use superfine sugar here, like we did with French meringue, because the sugar is going to get completely dissolved during the process anyway.

Baking Science Fun Fact!

The egg whites in meringue serve two main purposes. They are the liquid in which the sugar is able to dissolve in and they also serve as the protein structure for creating the web that will trap the air bubbles to create the volume in meringue.

The sugar serves the purpose of stabilizing the protein web that traps the air (as well as sweetening the mixture). The earlier in the process the sugar is added, the more stable the meringue. This is why Swiss meringue is the most stable. 

How to Make Swiss Meringue- Baker Bettie

Step 2- Heat the mixture over a double boiler. A double boiler is essentially a pot of simmering water that your bowl can sit on top of. You don’t want the bottom of the bowl to be touching the water. Sit your bowl over the pan and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is heated to 160F. If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, whisk until the mixture turns opaque and the sugar has completely dissolved. It should feel completely smooth between your fingers. This should take about 5-7 minutes. I do this right in my mixing bowl so that I don’t have to dirty another bowl when we move to the next step.

Baking Science Fun Fact!

Plain egg whites begin to thicken and coagulate starting at 145F. But the sugar acts on the proteins in the egg whites and will slow down the coagulation process so that the whites will remain liquid during this heating stage. 

How to Make Swiss Meringue- Baker Bettie

Step 3- Whip the mixture on high to cool it down. With the whip attachment, whip the eggs on high. This will cool the mixture down and begin creating a foam. If you have made french meringue before, this is going to take much longer to thicken than that preparation does. In about 3 minutes it will start to turn white and foamy.

Step 4- Continue whipping to stiff peaks. This is more of a continuation of step 3 as you do not need to do anything other than keep you mixer working. But I seperate it out because the first few minutes the mixture is cooling down and after it is cool enough then it will start working toward that stiff peak stage. The mixture will turn very glossy, thick, and almost marshmallow like.

After about 6-8 minutes the mixture will hold stiff peaks. It is possible to overmix this meringue just like any of the others, but it isn’t as easy to do here as it is with french meringue. It is just more stable all around.

How to Make Swiss Meringue- Baker Bettie

Now your meringue is ready to use for whatever your little heart desires. Top a pie with it and give it a quick torch or a flash under the broiler. Or use it to make a swiss meringue buttercream which is what I used this for! I have the cake and buttercream recipe coming up for you so stay tuned!

How to Make Swiss Meringue- Baker Bettie

But here is a little teaser to get you in the mood!

chocolate-swiss-meringue-buttercream

One year ago: Eclairs with Espresso Glaze and Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Two years ago: Apple Streusel Muffins

Three years ago: Easy Breakfast Pastries for Valentine’s Day

Swiss Meringue

5 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

15 minTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

6 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Set up a double boiler (a pot filled with water not all the way to the top) and bring the water to a simmer.
  2. In a very clean heatproof bowl (I use the bowl of my stand mixer) whisk together the egg whites and the sugar.
  3. Set the bowl over the double boiler, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl, and whisk while the mixture heats to 160F. You can check with a kitchen thermometer, or if you do not have one the mixture will become very liquid as the sugar melts and it should feel very smooth between your fingers. This will take about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mixture to your stand mixer (or you can do it with a hand mixer but it will take much longer), whip at high speed with your whisk attachment to cool the mixture down.
  5. Continue whipping at high speed until stiff peaks are reached. The mixture will become very thick, glossy, and almost marshmallow like. This will take about 6-8 minutes of whipping.
http://bakerbettie.com/how-to-make-swiss-meringue/

 Tools I used for this recipe…

KitchenAid Professional 600 Series KP26M1XER Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer, 6 Quart, Nickel Pearl (Kitchen)


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Moist Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Angel Food Cake with Blueberry Ginger Sauce

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Comments 9

  1. June Burns

    Wow that chocolate cake looks incredible! I love swiss meringue, used to be my favorite frosting before I switched to egg-free baking…haha. It’s good to know some of the ideas behind it! 🙂

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      Baker Bettie

      Hi June! I am totally hooked now on swiss meringue buttercream. I never really like frosting, but this stuff I can do. But I still almost always prefer cream cheese to any other!

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    1. Post
      Author
  2. Odelle Smith

    I find the ‘scientific facts & 101’ invaluable, enjoy reading them all, it explains why one would choose a particular method/recipe over another…
    ‘Everything for a reason’ or ‘A reason for everything’…
    Knowing why is a big part of the fun of how the chemical reaction occurs, which results in understanding & achieving the desired result. The perfect bake, as you always provide great recipes, results & the information to achieve it.
    I’m loving the ‘Swiss Meringue Method & Butter-Cream Frosting’, it’s awesome, tried, tested & it’s easy to make, use & very forgiving when frosting the Chocolate Cake, makes a pleasant change from butter-cream icing.
    Your Chocolate Cake recipe with Chocolate Frosting tastes delicious, so pleased with how it baked, all credit is down to you, many thanks, much appreciated.
    However, my favorite has got to be cream-cheese, chocolate, caramel & crumb topping with lots of Pecans, looking forward to more recipes in the near future that include these.
    You’ll wish you hadn’t asked for suggestions on what your readers would like to see, especially me, this will be a difficult combination to include, impossible to have them all together, unless that is you can find a way, which wouldn’t surprise me!
    I’m making another Chocolate Cake today (should have made two).
    My family, friends & neighbors & myself do adore your ‘Pecan-Crumb-Diamonds’, I’ll make a double batch today to share.
    All these ‘goodies’ will make me a popular person today, I’m sure that one of the reasons I get many visitors popping in each day, they must follow gorgeous aroma coming from my kitchen.

    Joking aside, it is great that some home-made baking can bring pleasure to others receiving them, as it gives me great pleasure in giving, which brings happiness to us all, makes my day & is a small price to pay. It’s a feel-good-factor for all that the gift of baking brings & sharing this makes it worthwhile & even better.
    Many thanks for providing me with all of the recipes, tips & ideas.
    Odelle Smith. (U.K.)

  3. Mark

    Hello
    Like your post, could you tell me how long the meringue would hold for before being used, I want to put it on top off a lemon meringue cheesecake, just before I serve it, & blow touch the top

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