Soufflés, Strata, and Baked French Toast


Soufflés

Soufflés can be truly gorgeous, almost magical as they mushroom up in the oven into a light airy dish. And even if you’re a first-timer and your soufflé doesn’t look quite right, it’ll taste great. But there are some tricks to making them come out right.

Soufflés are made in two parts, whipped egg whites and a base made with the other ingredients including such things as a cheese sauce or chocolate. Since the base holds the flavor, make the flavor intense because it will be diluted with the addition of the egg whites.

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Beat the egg whites properly. It’s the air trapped in the egg whites that causes the dramatic expansion of the soufflé in the oven. You want the egg white to remain elastic. Beat the egg whites just until soft peaks form, add the sugar if the recipe calls for it, and then beat until stiff peaks form. Cream of tarter will help the egg whites develop.

Fold the egg whites into the base carefully. Stir about a cup of the egg whites into the base to lighten the base then gradually fold in the remaining egg whites. Use a spatula to cut through the whites and gently lift the base through the foam in an up and down motion only until the two parts are combined.

Strata

A strata is basically a savory bread pudding. Most are made by layering bread cubes in a baking dish and then pouring an egg mixture over it. The mixture soaks through the bread and sets up in baking as custard does. Most recipes call for cheese and spices.

Baked French Toast

Baked French toast is a cousin to a strata. It’s made with whole slices of bread layered in a baking pan instead of bread cubes. Baked French toast can be savory or sweet.

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