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Completely Frustrated with IMBC

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
So I've recently discovered SMBC and IMBC. I figured I'd make IMBC the signature frosting for my cakes since its just, well, beautiful! I've tried making it 8 times in the past 3 days but have only had a successful outcome once icon_sad.gif I followed Warren Browns video/ recipe to a "T" and researched plenty of other blogs just to confirm the process. The only part that keeps tripping me up is when I add the butter. I know it's supposed to fall flat, but 5 out of the 8 times it got really soupy. I was expecting this but after 30 minutes of beating it with the wire whisk it still stayed soupy. I made sure the butter was room temp and the meringue was cooled (I even put it in the fridge) but it never came back together. HELP! I'm wasting sooo much money buying eggs/butter/sugar everyday just to end up throwing it away icon_sad.gif
post #2 of 31
I tried Warren's IMBC this past week too, following his YouTube vid, and I found that it helped if I got the meringue to stiff peaks before adding the butter. How was yours? Also, I've read that when meringue BCs get "soupy" it is because the meringue is too warm when the butter is added, essentially melting the butter. I know you said your meringue was cool, so maybe you might try whipping it up a little stiffer before adding butter? Anyway, HTH!
-Stephanie
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-Stephanie
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post #3 of 31
I found this tutorial really helpful when first starting out:

http://cakejournal.com/tutorials/how-to-make-italian-meringue-butter-cream/

I do my sugar to temp with a candy thermometer instead of how she simply times it but, I pretty much follow the other steps. I once actually took a shower after adding my sugar and switching to the paddle attachment so, it was good and cool when I got ready to add the butter and, it turned out great.

It does sound like you might not be cooling the whites enough before adding the butter. Give it a shot and see how it goes!
post #4 of 31
A few more pointers since this is my recipe of choice:

Are your whites whisked to stiff peaks?

Big one... calibrate your thermometer to 212 boiling. A few weeks ago, mine slipped without me knowing it until a sugar work project I had done repeatedly that day all of a sudden failed. Now it is taped in place. If a digital is off, it cannot be calibrated as the reading is random, not just a mechanical movement.

What size mixer are you using? I have three KA's and the Artisan is a real pain. The head gives off just enough heat to keep the meringue from reaching room temp. I had to use the CC trick of packing the perimeter with frozen vegetables. Consequently, I never use my small mixer for European buttercreams.

As others have said, not room temp on the meringue. Feel the bowl and even feel the meringue if you need to.

I use butter that is true room temp, just thumb indentation soft. I find the emulsification takes a little longer, but the friction of the mixer causes heat and this should be taken into account in more powerful mixers. This also insures never having the buttercream too soft.

Hope this helps, Susan
post #5 of 31
I make this BC all the time, and I use the same recipe, except I add more sugar. It's all I use really, unless I have to use my American BC recipe for some reason.

I have a 4.5 quart KA which I have had forever. I whip the whites until they are good and stiff, then switch to the paddle when I add the butter. I usually wait about 15 to 20 minutes before I add the room temperature butter and I add it all at once. I start off slowly then gradually increase the speed. It looks rough at points, but it goes from cottage cheese soupy to perfectly mixed in just a few minutes.

I also recommend calibrating your thermometer as Susan recommended, but also switch to the paddle when you add the butter. If it's soupy that tells me the butter was either too soft and it melted or that you possibly overbeat it and broke the emulsion.
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
Grrrrr.... I tried it again and a big soupy mess icon_sad.gif I'm becoming more and more discouraged. To answer your questions I have an Artisan. This time after whipping the sugar syrup in there I out it in the fridge to help cool it down, came back maybe an hour later and beat it on low for like 4 minutes, added room temp butter and FAILURE. This actually looks like water versus soup icon_sad.gif I bought a brand new thermometer, so I didn't calibrate it.
post #7 of 31
I normally make SMBC, but the times an assistant has left the meringue to sit and then we start it up again (even 20 minutes) it falls flat and never comes back even without the butter.
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
I guess I'll try SMBC and see if I can make that work for me.
post #9 of 31
I've made the smbc for my last 3 or 4 cakes and it came out perfect every time. Fromscratch has a great tutorial. I actually use a little less butter but it still comes out great. I've always eaten a low fat diet and the thought of all that butter scares me. lol
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by AquariusB

Grrrrr.... I tried it again and a big soupy mess icon_sad.gif I'm becoming more and more discouraged. To answer your questions I have an Artisan. This time after whipping the sugar syrup in there I out it in the fridge to help cool it down, came back maybe an hour later and beat it on low for like 4 minutes, added room temp butter and FAILURE. This actually looks like water versus soup icon_sad.gif I bought a brand new thermometer, so I didn't calibrate it.



Your problem seems to be that you put the meringue in the fridge. Once the meringue part sits for a while, it will loose ist "billowy" texture (the air will go out) and when you add the butter the whole mixture will go soupy.
You will need to have patience and let the mixer run on low while the meringue is cooling to room temperature. It is very important not to let the meringue sit motionless.
The meringue should not be cold, just cooled down to room temperature. Touch the top of the meringue occaissionally with your finger and when you feel no difference it should be fine to add the butter which must be, as mentioned before, room temperature also. Best is to take it out of the fridge the day before.

HTH and don't give up, you'll get there.
post #11 of 31
Let the mixer rip and walk away. Come back in 20 minutes. It should be ready for the butter by then. I don't understand why you put it in the fridge. You need to let it whip on medium high that whole time it's cooling off. It will break down after you put the butter in. But after all the butter is in, it will come together.
post #12 of 31
Use the whisk attachment when whipping your egg whites, switch to the paddle when you add your butter. It worked for me when I was having issues!
post #13 of 31
I also had a bit of trouble with IMBC this weekend. I'm wondering if the mixer speed after adding the butter is what caused the issues for me. I've read that for SMBC the mixer should be on the lowest setting after adding the butter. Is this the same for IMBC or will the IMBC still come out right if I keep it on medium high after adding the butter?
post #14 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by vgcea

I also had a bit of trouble with IMBC this weekend. I'm wondering if the mixer speed after adding the butter is what caused the issues for me. I've read that for SMBC the mixer should be on the lowest setting after adding the butter. Is this the same for IMBC or will the IMBC still come out right if I keep it on medium high after adding the butter?



It has worked both ways for me! I make IMBC exclusively as my buttercream.
post #15 of 31
I start out on low just because I add all the butter at once and I don't want to make a mess. But once it looks good and chunky, I crank it up to medium, medium high until it's smooth.
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