Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Recipes › PLEASE HELP!! Swiss Meringue NOT coming together!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

PLEASE HELP!! Swiss Meringue NOT coming together!

post #1 of 54
Thread Starter 
I am on my FIFTH batch of Swiss Meringue and it's not coming together!

I have a candy thermometer and heated the egg whites and sugar to 160. I have a stand mixer and mixed on high FOREVER until stiff peaks formed. I added butter at ROOM TEMP 1 pat at a time and beat for 10 seconds after each addition. And now, the frosting looks like SOUP! I read that you need to be patient and keep mixing in the stand mixer until it comes back together, but I have been mixing it for over HALF AN HOUR and it still is soup.

icon_sad.gif Please help and suggest what I am doing wrong!! Is it possible that the butter was too soft? (it wasn't melted, but veeerry soft). Does anyone have a fool proof recipe? I have tried TWO different recipes. The last one was eight egg whites, 1 1/2 cup sugar and 2 sticks of butter.

Thanks.
post #2 of 54
That doesn't seem like enough butter, which is what makes it come together. The recipe I always use is:
5 egg whites, 1 cup sugar and 3 sticks of butter. I've tried cutting the butter amount down to cut costs, but it would never come together right .I have used a 1/2 cup more sugar to sweeten it more for a customer and it worked fine. The meringue was just a bit stickier. Also, it use a lot of flavoring for this recipes, normally about 1/4 cup depending on the flavoring. HTH!
When life gives you lemons, make grape juice and let everyone figure out how you did it!
Reply
When life gives you lemons, make grape juice and let everyone figure out how you did it!
Reply
post #3 of 54
What blade are you using when you add the butter?

You use the egg white whisk up until you add the butter, then you switch to the paddle attachment.

Tutorial here:

http://fromscratchsf.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/tutorial-swiss-meringue-buttercream/
post #4 of 54
I agree that it doesn't seem like your recipe has enough butter. My recipe goes by volume, but it's 1/2 Cup Egg Whites, 1 Cup Sugar and 3 Sticks of butter.

Also, I think your butter may have been a bit too soft, you want to get an imprint with you press with your finger, but not have it squish completely. And it could be too warm/humid in your kitchen. I'm in New England and I've had to stop making SMBC a few months ago because I was having such a hard time with the heat & humidity, even if my ingredients were all the right temperature. To try and cool it down, I would stick bags of frozen veggies (or you could use bags of ice cubes) around the bottom of the bowl.

You may be able to salvage your buttercream if you add another sick of unsalted butter (although 8 egg whites seems like it would be more than 1/2 a Cup, so maybe you need 2 more sticks) and try cooling down the bowl....
post #5 of 54
In one of the replies to problems, FromScratchSF replies

"Oh no! I sorry its not working! Are you in Japan? Few thoughts are you using egg whites from the carton or fresh eggs? Egg whites in the carton make your meringue unstable, if you can get them whipped up at all. Not sure of Japan standards, but eggs here in the US also come pasteurized, and those also make unstable meringue. Always use fresh eggs. You can also try adding in Cream of Tartar (1/8 tsp) into your eggs when you take them off the stove and pop them into your mixer."

Could any of this be causing you problems? (Minus the Japan bits)
post #6 of 54
Yes, it matters if the butter is too soft. It should be cold, just soft enough that you can dent it with your finger, but not softer. (I take it out of the fridge, and by the time I've cut it up into pieces, it's just right.) Second, adding one pat of butter at a time is way too slow. I cut it into one or two-inch pieces then add half of it, pulse the mixer to get it to the bottom, and add the other half of the butter. Then, starting on low, gradually increase the speed of the mixer every ten seconds until you get to medium high and beat until it is light and fluffy. Third, I don't know about your recipe, but mine uses 10 egg whites heated with 3 cups of sugar, and then 3 full pounds of butter. I have never had it fail. Even if you cut that in half, it's a lot more sugar and a whole lot more butter than your recipe. Finally, you must use real butter -- the best quality you can find.
post #7 of 54
I found when I used the new-fangled silicone beater that scrapes while it beats I had exactly this problem, but when I used the regular paddle, my SMBC worked fine. I actually took two batches of "soupy mess" and beat with the original paddle and they recovered just fine.

The proportions of the recipe I mostly use is two cups of egg whites, 4 cups of sugar, 2 lbs of butter and 10 oz of shortening (though you can use all butter if you like and your climate cooperates)
post #8 of 54
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone! I think my butter was too soft - I put it in the fridge for 10 min. while I got the egg whites and sugar heated up again. Also, I added another whole stick of butter.

IT WORKED!!!!!!!!! yes! I can't believe it took SIX tries...

Thank you so much for your quick responses. I am so thankful for cake central and the friendly bakers on here. icon_smile.gif
post #9 of 54
When my butter has gotten too soft and it doesn't want to come together like it should in the mixer bowl, I either put icecubes in a kitchen towel or retrieve bags of frozen vegetables from the freezer and place, still inside their bags of course, around the base of the mixer bowl. It helps chill it without having to remove the bowl, cover and chill then remix.
"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
Reply
"Be the change you want to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi

miniature cake tutorial

http://www.youtube.com/user/MyNewSneakers?feature=mhsn
Reply
post #10 of 54
Hello Julie, glad it worked! I can look at your recipe and tell that 2 sticks of butter is not enough. When making SMBC you can always add too much butter and it'll work, but you are creating an emulsion, so without enough fat to bond with your sugar it will never come together.

Everyone has their own recipe/method for making anything so no disrespect to whats posted above, but I think just adding the extra stick of butter would have brought your SMBC together. I've never seen anyone suggest cold butter when making a meringue buttercream, everyone from Toba Garrett to Rose Levi Bernbaum says butter at least 72 degrees or warmer. Cold butter breaks your meringue and gives less in volume of finished buttercream. But again, whatever works for you!

Adding cream of tartar helps to strengthen the meringue which helps in humid climates, so you might want to try that as well. If you don't have cream of tartar on hand, I've recently read that fresh lemon juice can work in a pinch. You don't want to add enough to change the flavor, you just want to add a little acid to strengthen the protein (egg whites).

Try my recipe next time, I think it's foolproof and tastes really yummy!

Jen

PS - always super cool when someone from the UK (or other places around the world) suggests my blog! Thanks icon_smile.gif
post #11 of 54
Correction - I've never seen anyone suggest adding cold butter straight off - but we do cool the bowl if working in a warm kitchen if the buttercream is too soft.

Jen
post #12 of 54
JulieM, try FromScratchSF's recipe. It's so foolproof I'm translating it to Spanish for my sister in Ecuador. FromScratchSF, you give me permission, don't you?

Adding all the butter at once at the lowest speed is the greatest tip ever.
post #13 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF

Hello Julie, glad it worked! I can look at your recipe and tell that 2 sticks of butter is not enough. When making SMBC you can always add too much butter and it'll work, but you are creating an emulsion, so without enough fat to bond with your sugar it will never come together.

Everyone has their own recipe/method for making anything so no disrespect to whats posted above, but I think just adding the extra stick of butter would have brought your SMBC together. I've never seen anyone suggest cold butter when making a meringue buttercream, everyone from Toba Garrett to Rose Levi Bernbaum says butter at least 72 degrees or warmer. Cold butter breaks your meringue and gives less in volume of finished buttercream. But again, whatever works for you!

Adding cream of tartar helps to strengthen the meringue which helps in humid climates, so you might want to try that as well. If you don't have cream of tartar on hand, I've recently read that fresh lemon juice can work in a pinch. You don't want to add enough to change the flavor, you just want to add a little acid to strengthen the protein (egg whites).

Try my recipe next time, I think it's foolproof and tastes really yummy!

Jen

PS - always super cool when someone from the UK (or other places around the world) suggests my blog! Thanks icon_smile.gif



No disrespect to Jen, cause she knows her stuff. But this has been my experience having done numerous experiments with the various SMBC recipes and methods.

I find that if I add cold butter one tablespoon at a time it helps to cool the meringue. And I do it on medium speed too. icon_surprised.gif I wait until the meringue is about 87-90 degrees before adding the butter. It usually cools it right down in about 1/2 to 1 stick to a nice 65 degrees. And I measured a batch with room temp butter and with cold butter. I did not loose any volume. I get 6 cups of frosting either way. I don't get soup this way like I did when I let the butter get to room temp. So it doesn't take as long to get the frosting made.

I agree that the amount of butter was not enough. I have not read what the other people have responded, so I can't comment on their suggestions. But your recipe had too much egg and not enough butter to make it work, like Jen said. Try FromScratchSF's recipe, or try a 1:2:3 ratio - one part egg, 2 parts sugar and 3 parts butter. Both will give you a beautiful frosting.

I did not know about the cream of tartar stabilizing the SMBC in humid weather. In which way? I mean does it help stand up to the heat and humidity, say 76 degrees and 100% humidity. This would be very interesting if it does. And is it the standard 1/8 tsp per egg white? I am going to try that on my next batch. I just made a 20 egg batch today for three cakes. But the next stuff I'll try this trick. It is quite humid here this weekend and all summer long for that matter.
I am no longer active on CC.  They will not let me delete my account.
Reply
I am no longer active on CC.  They will not let me delete my account.
Reply
post #14 of 54
Acid helps to strengthen proteins and make them more elastic. It helps to get a nice siff meringue and helps prevent it from deflating from overwhipping. It won't help your finished buttercream in heat... the butter will still melt/clarify.

Give it a try and see if it helps though!

Jen
post #15 of 54
It works the same with Royal Icing made with real egg whites. You add cream of tartar or lemon juice to strengthen it for string work and piping
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Recipes
Cake Central › Cake Forums › Cake Talk › Recipes › PLEASE HELP!! Swiss Meringue NOT coming together!