Cheese and chive soufflé
Makes 4 ramekins so serves 4
This soufflé has a roux sauce and egg yolks, then beaten egg whites are folded in to make it light. The air held by the egg whites expands with heat pushing up the soufflés.
25g butter or margarine
25g plain flour
150ml semi skimmed milk
large pinch mustard powder
Worcestershire sauce to taste
75g grated cheese – strong flavoured Cheddar is good
2 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
finely chopped chives or spring onions
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6 and grease 4 ramekin dishes and put on a baking tray.
- Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour and cook until it looks sandy. This is called a roux.
- Take off the heat and beat in the milk, a little at a time.
- Return to the heat and stir until very thick – it takes about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in mustard powder and Worcestershire sauce and 50g grated cheese.
- Taste to see if it needs more seasoning. Beat in the egg yolks.
- Whisk egg whites into soft peaks then fold gently into the sauce with the chives with a metal spoon.
- Spoon equal amounts into the ramekin dishes and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes until the top is golden and the soufflé is risen.
- Serve as soon as it leaves the oven or you can reheat later.
The science bit
The roux sauce thickens as the flour starch gelatinises and swells in the liquid milk.
The egg yolks add colour and thicken the sauce as the protein coagulates when cooked.
Egg whites are whisked to a foam. The albumen is the protein in the egg and this extends with beating and traps air bubbles.
On heating the air trapped in the egg whites expands and pushes up the mixture.
Flour contains the protein gluten which sets when heated, forming the structure.
Egg protein denatures, coagulates and sets with the gluten and forms the light structure.
The soufflé turns golden brown as the starch changes to dextrin and the Maillard reaction takes place.