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Breakfast Souffle [split from Food Media]

Caroline1 | Mar 18, 200810:43 PM

(Note: This post was split from the Food Media board at: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/49857... -- The Chowhound Team).

I don't do souffles for breakfast, just lunch or dinner, but if someone wants to call "lunch" "Brunch", that's okay with me! '-)

Rough recipe for souffle. It's from memory.

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a quart or quart and a half souffle dish. The smaller the dish, the more the souffle will rise above the rim.

Melt 1/4 stick of butter in a suacepan, dump in 1/4 cup of flour. Stir with a wooden spoon. This is a basic ""roux," and for a souffle you can keep it white or take it up to a golden color, which will modify the end-flavor of the souffle with a bit of "depth." Both ways are good, but do cook the roux for a minimum of 1 full minute to get the raw flour taste out of it.. Add some salt and freshly ground white pepper or you can use about 1/3 tsp of hot sauce of your choice. whisk well and now slowly pour in 1 1/4 cups of milk whisking all the while. Don't use low fat or skim milk, it just doesn't taste right. Don't bring to a full boil, but just barely to a simmer, then remove from the heat.

Add about a cup and a half of any cheese of your choice. Cheddar is good. Pepper jack can be interesting, but Monterey jack doesn't have enough flavor so save it for something else. Same goes for muenster. Goat cheese can be interesting, but I find it has a tendency to repeat on me, so it may stay with you all day. A well crumbled feta will give you an eastern Mediterannean flavor. A really good rich swiss, gruyere, or emanthaler is nice. Sometimes I mix cheeses, like a cup of cheddar and a half cup of pecorino romano. But whatever kind of cheese you decide to use, grate it fresh yourself. So add the cheese now and stir to blend well.

Now seperate four large eggs. Add the yolks to the cheese mixutre one at a time and stir well to incorporate. One of the hazards at this point is that the cheese can settle to the bottom of the pan in a big glob if you didn't stir it long enough the first time. Give it a good stir now as you add the yolks.

Beat the four egg whites -- preferably with an electric mixer -- to stiff peaks. Sometimes I add a healthy pinch of cream of tartar to the whites before beating, sometimes I forget. I get lovely souffles either way, but it is a modicum better when I remember. If you have biceps from hell and an unlined copper bowl, you can whisk the eggs by hand and won't need any cream of tartar because the copper will do the same thing for you.

Okay, stiff egg whites. Put about 1/3 of them in the cheese sauce and fold gently until mixed. You "fold" with a rubber spatula by "cutting" straight down deep into the mixture, then "turning it over" repeatedly. Be gentle and always remember you can seriously damage your souffle by folding too energetically or too long. Now fold the rest of the egg whites into the mixture, but don't bother folding so long that there are no splotches of white left. Leave a little.

Pour souffle batter into buttered souffle dish, GENTLY smooth the top Hold your thumb against the inside of the bowl so it is about a half an inch into the souffle batter. Without removing your thumb, turn the bowl a full circle. This helps the souffle rise uniformly.

Bake in center of oven for 40 to 50 minutes. When souffle has been in the oven 30 minutes, gather diners at the table and make them stay there until the souffle is done! Ovens vary greatly, but you're looking for maximum loft and a nice gently browned top. If it takes more than 50 minutes, so be it. If it takes less than 40 minutes, your oven is way too hot! Reduce the heat by about 50 degrees or so and give it another ten minutes or so for the center to firm up. You just have to guess, because you can't stick a toothpick into a souffle to test for doneness because that will bring on total disaster. But even if you guess wrong, it will still taste good.

Serve and enjoy! Some nice strawberry jam is an interesting side.

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