‘What goes up must come down’ said Isaac Newton. This law applies to soufflés, puffed up and fluffy as they leave the oven but falling after several minutes on the outside. Such is life and gravity. Take this philosophically and assisted by a French chef (and me) you can produce some that puff up marvellously, are fast and easy to make in 25 minutes, and can be prepared in advance. If you still feel a twinge of culinary panic please repeat this phrase twice: savoury soufflés are just a white sauce with stiffly beaten egg whites folded in. Better, non? With some tasty gruyère and emmental cheese, flavoured with lovely nutmeg and basil or mustard powder, these soufflés are absolutely delicious alone or served with salad for a light meal! So let’s burst the bubble of the myth that they’re difficult and bake some lovely soufflés! Yay!
- Bernard’s amazing photo of a very puffed up soufflé
- very clear instructions and tips
- comments by French readers who said it was the best cheese soufflé they’d ever had or that they’d been scared of making soufflés but now realised it wasn’t difficult!
Ben oui mes amis, in France there were people afraid of this little dish too but not any more! Because actually it’s easy as
I’ve spent a few weeks eating the test-runs. Yes, it’s been hell. 🙂 My favourite adaptation has spelt flour and basil-infused full-fat milk but I also enjoyed the versions with gluten-free cornflour, almond milk and mustard powder. You can play around with your preferred flours, milks and spices. But not heavy flours, and keep the freshly grated nutmeg. Also, the lighter watery milks and cornflour work well but the spelt flour and full-fat milk soufflés are creamier and hold better. The good news is they’re all delicious!! Yup, I’ve loved each and every one! 🙂
First find free range eggs like the Swedish Chef?
Okay, that’s how NOT to get eggs! Don’t worry if yours aren’t just out of a chicken as they’re best free-range but not toooo fresh. Oh, and here’s the first part of an egg joke. Question: Why do Frenchmen only have one egg for breakfast? Answer coming later. So now you’re all relaxed and thinking ‘no more jokes or funny videos please’, lets get our eggs (at room temperature) and bake!
The recipe – makes 2 and a half small individual soufflés (approx. 9cm x 5cm high moulds). For one large soufflé: 150g/5oz grated cheese (gruyère+emmental), 5 medium to large eggs, 50g/1/4 cup butter, 50g/2/5 cup of flour, 400g/1 and 3/4 cups less 1 tablespoon milk. Bake 45 minutes.
Get everything ready
Basil infusion option: you can infuse cold milk with basil leaves for half a day or more in the fridge or warm the milk and keep the leaves in for half an hour or more. Use 5 to 6 big leaves and strain with a sieve to remove when ready to use the milk (squeeze the leaves to extract the most milk and flavour).
Coating the moulds with grated cheese is the tastier option but it seems easier to coat with flour. Use the method for buttering and flouring moulds on my basics page. Once coated don’t get any fingerprints in there.Make the white sauce (it should be thick)
Don’t overwhisk the egg whites. They shouldn’t be dry, but still glossy. Stop whisking the minute you can turn the bowl upside-down without them falling out. You can whisk in a teaspoon of cornflour right at the end to help ‘soften’ and stabilise them. The secret: fold the egg white in delicately with lifting figure-of-eight motions. Some people add an extra white.TEN MINUTES, OR AN HOUR OR MORE LATER
Bake, watch and wait
Place a baking tray in the lower middle of the oven then preheat to 180°C (static oven) or 160°C (fan oven). When it reaches the right temperature place your moulds on the hot baking tray in the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes till golden, well-risen and set but slightly wobbly. DON’T OPEN THE OVEN DOOR BEFORE THE END. Some say you can open the door to check after the first 15 or 20 minutes. But soufflés are delicate so I just watch them through the glass, waiting till they’re browned enough and risen to at least double the original size and no longer rising. Mine generally take 30 minutes.
Timing is everything
Les invités attendent le soufflé, mais le soufflé n’attend personne! (the guests wait for the soufflé but the soufflé waits for no-one!). Have your family or guests ready with their spoons and accompanying salad so you can serve the soufflé immédiatement! Even when they lose some puff your soufflés will be absolutely delicious. They’re like a fluffy pastryless quiche. I love quiche and soufflés too now! Miam miam!
You can keep unbaked soufflé in the mould (cover with clingfilm) to bake later in the day or the next morning for breakfast. Version 4 was baked after 18 hours in the fridge and still almost doubled in size (the one on the right was only half-full). The texture in both was wonderful!
I love the subtle basil and nutmeg taste. A few basil leaves add a nice touch.
You can keep leftover baked soufflé for an omelette, reheated or mixed into your fried rice or stir-fry.
I confess this recipe is part of my masterplan to conquer the world with soufflés, sorry I mean to get people making them. And once you’ve mastered the simple cheese soufflé you’ll enjoy the upcoming sweet cherry and almond one! You know you’d rather be baking than watching TV! These cheese soufflés take one short Big Bang episode to make. They’re absolutely delicious. And very exciting. Taking photos is a speed-shooting challenge but I’ve document their evolution and devolution. First they go up:Then down:
Or realist with hearts!So sweet and savoury reader, hope you’re all puffed up with soufflé enthusiasm! Perhaps you’ve made a soufflé before? Which soufflé would you be interested in eating and baking? I’m happy to do research to develop recipes and would appreciate your feedback! 🙂
Thank you and please have a little basil and nutmeg cheese soufflé! I’ll take some along to Fiesta Friday, Recipe of the week, Simply eggcellent and Cookblogshare too! 🙂And now I bid you a cheesy farewell savoury reader! May your baking go up or down as it’s meant to, and may you have an egg-cellent light and fluffy week ahead! 🙂
P.S. Anyone interested in an informal soufflé challenge? Just a few of us trying them out and sharing our findings? I’m thinking of starting a Soufflé Pinterest board…
P.P.S. Why do Frenchmen only have one egg for breakfast? Answer with a French accent: Because un oeuf is enough (un oeuf)! Yes, un oeuf means ‘one egg’. Ho ho… get it?! Sorry! 🙂