Making meringue is something that is a bit tough for some people, but once you get used to making it, it’s going to be worth all of the effort.
Some of the most delicious pies that people love call for a meringue topping. There are also many different types of meringue cookies that are very tasty.
If you’re new to making it, you might still be perfecting things, and it might not turn out quite the way you expected.
If your meringue is soft, you’re probably wondering where you went wrong. In this article, we’ll dive into the most common reasons and what you can do about it.
1 – Humidity Issues
You might not expect that humidity would play a role in your baking, but it absolutely can. Some people live in parts of the world that have very high humidity levels.
If you live in the Southeastern United States, it might be quite humid at certain times of the year. There are many other humid places in the world as well.
When you try to make meringue in an environment that is very humid, it’s going to be harder to get the right results. The moisture in the air might wind up having a big impact.
If the meringue absorbs the moisture, it’ll wind up making it impossible to beat it properly. You need to beat it to get it to form stiff peaks.
Your egg-white mixture can easily absorb the moisture in the air. This will make it so that it’ll be extra tough to stiffen it up.
If too much moisture was absorbed, it’ll be impossible to get things to turn out properly. Everything will simply be way too soft, and you’ll likely need to start over.
So how can you solve an issue that has occurred due to humidity? There are a few options available to you.
You could simply avoid making meringue on days that are overly humid. It should be easy enough to get information about the current humidity levels in your area.
It might be better to take steps to lower the humidity in your home. Simply buy a dehumidifier so that you won’t have to worry about the humidity levels negatively impacting your culinary pursuits.
2 – Not Beating the Eggs Properly
You should know that beating the egg whites properly is essential when you’re making meringue. This is really the key thing that you need to get good at if you’re going to be making it often.
Some people aren’t aware that it’s possible to beat the egg whites too much. Typically, the problem with meringue not turning out right is that the egg whites weren’t beaten enough.
You do indeed have to beat the egg whites quite a bit to get them to stiffen up. You’re trying to whip air into them using either a whisk or an electric hand mixer of some sort.
There are a few things that can go wrong when you’re whipping the egg whites. You could wind up whipping them at a slow speed, which will cause them to turn out sort of soggy.
Some people describe this meringue state as droopy, but it could also be considered soft. It certainly isn’t stiff, and you want it to be stiff so that you can get the expected results.
Beating the egg whites for too long will make it so that the meringue is really grainy. It might also appear sort of lumpy and it’ll be a bit dry.
You’re supposed to beat things until they have the stiff peaks that you’re looking for. It’s easy to recognize this because when you go to pull the beaters up, the meringue will stand up easily.
Try to do your best to get the beating process right when you wish to avoid issues with softness or dryness. It might take a bit of practice to get things down to a science.
3 – You Didn’t Use Cream of Tartar
Did you realize that you need to use cream of tartar to make meringue? It might be possible to make meringue without it, but it’ll be a lot harder to get ideal results.
Using cream of tartar will help it to inflate better. It’ll be able to hold the air properly so that you can form the stiff peaks that are discussed above.
On average, you’re supposed to use one-fourth of a teaspoon of cream of tartar for every two or three egg whites that you’re using. This should be easy enough to remember.
Some people choose to use lemon juice instead, though. It should work the same way because you really just need some type of mild acid that helps with volume and structure.
If you don’t have any cream of tartar, it’d be wise to go out and buy some. It’s not expensive, and it’ll help you to get the results that you want when making meringue.
Having your meringue turn out soft or otherwise wrong will be upsetting. You just want to enjoy a delicious meringue pie or some type of meringue cookie.
Thankfully, it’s going to be possible to troubleshoot and figure out where you went wrong. Typically, there should only be a few common mistakes that are preventing you from getting ideal results when making it.
It could be that there are humidity issues that are preventing it from being able to be made right. Egg whites could be absorbing the moisture in the air, and this will make things far too soft.
If this is happening, it might be better to avoid making meringue until you can solve the humidity problem. One good solution is to buy a dehumidifier for your home.
Beating the eggs wrong can also lead to issues with softness. There are situations when people beat the meringue too slowly, and this causes it to turn out soft and sort of droopy.
When you beat the eggs too long, it’s going to make them turn out dry and grainy. It’s also true that failing to use cream of tartar could make it way harder to achieve stiff peaks when making meringue.
Use this advice so that you can have an easier time making it. You’ll be able to get this figured out so that you can enjoy your desserts without it being a huge deal.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.