Like creaming butter and sugar, beating egg whites is a critical step in recipes to trap air and create lightness. It's critical for puffing up meringues, chiffon cakes, angel food cakes, soufflés, waffles, and many other dishes.
Improperly beaten egg whites (both under- and over-beaten) aren't aerated adequately, and as a result, the final product is dense, flat, and a big disappointment, especially if your arms are aching from beating those eggs by hand. But it's not hard to get it right, especially if you know a few tips.
This slideshow will take you through the process of achieving perfectly beaten egg whites, from the whole egg to stiff peaks.
About the author: Kumiko writes the blog Recipe Interrupted. She believes that having a few cooking techniques under your belt can help make home cooking creative and easy, and is excited to share these basics here on her regular column Technique of the Week. A graduate of Brown University, the Institute of Culinary Education, and a mother of two hungry girls, Kumiko is always trying to keep her Brooklyn kitchen smelling of something good.