"Folding in egg whites" sounds like an easy instruction to follow, but it requires more technique than you might assume—and like many steps in baking, it's crucial to get it right.
Folding egg whites into a batter creates a light and fluffy consistency, like you would find in an angel food cake. If you stir the whipped whites into the batter incorrectly, you could end up with a deflated dessert (and no one wants that). Here's how to keep both your desserts and your spirits high.
Once you've whipped your egg whites to the desired consistency, you must fold in three stages.
① Fold a small portion—about a third or less—of the egg whites into the batter. Stir it around to lighten the batter and loosen it up for the additional foam.
② Carefully add the next third of the egg whites on top of the batter and, using a rubber spatula, turn the egg whites into the batter. The important part here is not to stir. Instead, use a flipping motion, literally folding the egg whites into the batter.
③ Add the remaining whites and repeat the folding motion until the foam is just incorporated. Don't overdo it, or you'll end up releasing all the air you've carefully whipped into the egg whites and have ideally maintained through gentle folding.
Another helpful tip is to rotate the bowl instead of the spatula. This will prevent you from inadvertently stirring, and compressing, the batter as you try to incorporate everything. It's also helpful to think about the spatula as cutting into the batter, as opposed to mixing it.
Got all that? Now you're in the fold.
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