A classic recipe for Cheese Soufflé which is much easier than you think!
This post has been prepared in collaboration with Kenwood Swiss AG, but the content and opinions are my own.
My husband’s great-aunt, whom we call Marraine, is a spritely 93 years old who still loves to cook and bake for the family. At the top of her list is a Cheese Soufflé which, to most ordinary people, is a rather frightening and panic-inducing dinner suggestion. Yet, this is what Marraine makes on a regular weeknight for dinner!
I recall one occasion when she had not been expecting us for dinner that evening. I panicked because I suddenly had to whip up something for the children to eat, but the fridge looked almost bare. Marraine hopped up from her chair and promptly announced, “No problem! I will make a soufflé!”
And just like that, using only butter, flour, eggs, cheese and milk, she managed to create a truly impressive dinner from the simplest of ingredients.
On a recent visit to France, she showed me once more how she made her delicious cheese soufflés. This time, she had our children as eager volunteers; my son was very hands-on with the stirring, grating and whisking, whilst my daughter was mostly there to sample the cheese and lick the spoon at the end!
Marraine uses a very (extremely) old hand-held electric whisk in her kitchen. It has probably been around since the beginning of time and certainly works like a elderly retiree; it’s terrible at mixing cake batters because it simply lacks the power to beat together non-liquid ingredients. But for egg whites, it does the job fine and my son enjoyed holding the whisk and moving it around the bowl.
In connection with the launch of the new KenwoodClub in Switzerland, the friendly people at Kenwood recently gave me a Chef Titanium to test-drive at home. Whisking egg whites is something I do a lot with my KitchenAid stand mixer, so I thought it was a fitting test for the Kenwood Chef Titanium to recreate Marraine’s cheese soufflé.
As I was using the Kenwood Chef Titanium to prepare my many soufflés last week in preparation for this post, I realised how convenient it was to have the machine whisking the egg whites in the background while you can get on with preparing the other ingredients. I think I made the soufflés in half the time that Marraine would need, and it brought to light the main difference between how Marraine and I cook.
Marraine is a traditionalist who prefers to use her hands or the equipment which still works in her kitchen; she is someone who regularly makes brioche by hand, and that is certainly not a task for the weak! She also enjoys the ritual of handwashing and hand-drying the dishes after each meal, a chore she describes as relaxing and therapeutic.
I, on the other hand, am a creature of the modern world where any automation is a welcome relief. At any one time, you will find the dishwasher, washing machine and vacuum-cleaner robot working simultaneously while I am preparing a meal from a recipe displayed on my iPad. Whilst there is a time and a place for an electric hand-held whisk (but I would want a very powerful one), a kitchen machine like the Kenwood Chef Titanium gives the cook more flexibility and convenience in the kitchen. It’s a powerful machine and whisks up egg whites beautifully and quickly; I particularly liked the speed dial which enables better control of the speed and also a seamless increase in speed.
I made a large soufflé, similar to Marraine’s recipe, and it rose magnificently and remained so whilst I proudly brought it to the table to many oohs and aahs. A few nights later, keen to recreate some theatre at dinner time, I made individual cheese soufflés which, although were not as grand or majestic, were a massive hit with the children. Despite all of our efforts to teach them how to share, they relished having their own individual pots! I also found that I preferred the texture of the smaller soufflés, plus they took only half the time to bake (about 20 minutes), which pretty much qualifies them as fast food! I never thought I would say this, but I think soufflés will start making a regular appearance at our dinner table during the busy week.
You can view my recipe below or over at the KenwoodClub (in French and German), which is a community where members can share recipes using their favourite Kenwood appliances, and exchange other tips and tricks.
Stay tuned for my next post where I share my thoughts on test-driving the Kenwood Chef Titanium and comparing it to my beloved KitchenAid stand mixer!
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: Serves 4-6
- 15 g (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, melted (for greasing the soufflé dish)
- 45 g unsalted butter
- 60 g plain flour
- 450 ml full cream milk
- 240 g Gruyère cheese, grated
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- sea salt & freshly ground white pepper
- 6 eggs, separated
- Preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F) and place a baking tray in the oven. Make sure you use a shelf which will give the soufflé enough room to rise, which could be 5-8 cm (2-3 inches) higher than the dish.
- Brush the soufflé dish generously with the melted butter. (See Notes)
- In a large saucepan which will later hold all of the ingredients, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
- Add the flour, and use a wooden spoon to mix the flour into the butter. The mixture will clump into a ball. Keep stirring the mixture over the heat for about 2-3 minutes to cook off the flour.
- Slowly add the milk and gently incorporate it into the mixture. I tend to start with a wooden spoon to mix everything together, and then change to a whisk to make sure the mixture is smooth with no lumps.
- Once all of the milk has been added, you should have a very thick white sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool slightly (about 5 minutes), giving it a stir from time to time to help it cool down.
- Add the cheese and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.
- Next, separate the eggs.
- Add the egg yolks to the saucepan and beat them in well with a wooden spoon.
- Whisk the egg whites until they have tripled in volume and stiff peaks form. I like to start on a slow speed until the egg whites become foamy, and then I increase the speed gradually until stiff peaks form, finishing at a medium to high speed. If you are using a Kenwood Chef Titanium, start on speed 1 or 2 until the egg whites are foamy, and turn the dial gradually to speed 4 or 5 until stiff peaks form.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture, 1/3 at a time. Take care not to over mix as you want to keep as much air as possible to help the soufflé rise.
- Pour the mixture into the dish, making sure there is at least a 2 cm (1 inch) gap from the top.
- Bake the soufflé for 30-40 minutes, or until it has risen magnificently and is golden in colour.
- Serve immediately.
- For a large soufflé, I use a soufflé dish which measures 20 cm (8 inches) wide and 8.5 cm (3 inches) high with a 2 litre (8 cup) capacity.
- To make individual soufflés, this mixture will fill about 6 ramekins with 375 ml (1 1/2 cup) capacity. You will need to bake them for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden and risen.
- When greasing the soufflé dish, I use upward strokes around the sides of the soufflé dish which is meant to encourage the soufflé to rise. But I have read that this technique doesn’t really play a role. However, this is what my husband’s great-aunt does, and I do as I am told.
- For an extra cheesy crust, I like to sprinkle finely grated parmesan on top of the soufflé mixture before baking it.
- Some recipes suggest lining the soufflé dish with breadcrumbs to help the soufflé rise. The breadcrumbs add a nice crunchy texture to the outside of the soufflé, but they also make it a bit more difficult to serve the soufflé as the mixture tends to stick to the dish.
- The texture of the soufflé on the outside should be similar to an omelette, while the centre should be light and fluffy. If the centre is wet and runny, it means it is still raw. While it is hard to check if the soufflé is properly cooked, a gently wobble of the soufflé should give you an indication of whether the centre has set or not.
- Once you have taken the soufflé out of the oven, it should remain risen for a good 3-5 minutes, but don’t be disappointed if it starts to deflate right away. Any change in room temperature, such as bringing the soufflé from your warm kitchen into a cooler dining room, will cause the soufflé to collapse. You can reheat soufflés in the oven (or return it to the oven for further cooking), and it should still rise again after 3-5 minutes, but it won’t rise as high as the first time.
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