If you cook or bake, you'll inevitably run into recipes asking you to separate eggs. The need to separate egg yolks or egg whites depends on the recipe you are making. For desserts like angel food cake, mousse, macarons, and pavlova, only egg whites are used. Desserts like ice cream and custard call for only the yolk.
Egg whites can be whipped up to create volume in a recipe. Meringue is a well-known dessert that can be baked and eaten. If you've ever eaten lemon meringue pie you've probably enjoyed the fluffy, sweet, meringue topping.
Meringue is made by whipping egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar until stiff peaks form. The meringue can then be toasted in the oven or torched to create a charred crispy texture.
We are going to teach you the step-by-step process to separate egg whites for your next baking adventure.
How To Separate Egg Whites
The total time to separate egg whites is about one minute. It's very quick and easy enough for a child to do, too. Depending on your recipe, you'll need whole eggs.
The first step is to set out two bowls. Then, crack your egg on a flat surface, like a countertop. You'll want to try to crack the egg as close to the middle of the egg as possible.
Once cracked, gently pull apart the two halves, letting the yolk stay in half of the shell, while the white drips into the small bowl.
Transfer the yolk back and forth between the eggshells until all the egg white falls into the bowl. In your second bowl, discard the egg yolk.
If you're making meringue, you may want to individually crack eggs into separate bowls, before transferring them to one large bowl. This guarantees that if one yolk breaks into the white, you don't ruin the whole bowl of egg whites.
Non-Traditional Egg White Separating Methods
One of the more unique ways to separate egg whites is with a water bottle. In a large bowl, crack all the eggs you need. Next, take an empty water bottle and squeeze the middle. Hold the bottle over the yolk and the yolk will get sucked up into the bottle. Empty the yolks onto another plate.
You want to make sure you have clean hands before separating the egg whites. The oil from your hands may get into the whites, making it difficult for them to whip up properly.
If you are whipping egg whites, make sure to use room-temperature eggs. Cold eggs are easier to separate, but the room temperature viscosity of the egg white helps to get the most volume.
If you are worried about salmonella from using the eggshell to separate the raw eggs, you can use a spoon instead. Take a slotted spoon and crack the egg over the spoon. Let the whites fall through the slats into the bowl.