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Cheese Soufflé Recipe & Video

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Soufflés can be sweet or savory. This is a recipe for a savory Cheese Soufflé. It is a wonderfully light and fluffy egg based dish flavored with grated cheese, chives, and bacon. Soufflés are baked in a straight sided deep mold, typically ceramic, and the mold is buttered and dusted either with bread crumbs or grated cheese (used here). The magic happens in the oven. As the soufflé bakes, it rises, clinging to the sides of the mold, until it becomes wonderfully puffed and golden brown. For me, I like my Soufflé set, yet when you gently shake the pan it jiggles ever so slightly. I think what makes a Soufflé so magical is that it must be served immediately, when it's still hot from oven. Because as it cools it will slowly deflate.  

 

You can serve this savory Cheese Soufflé for Breakfast, Lunch, or even for Supper. The first thing is to prepare your Soufflé Mold. For this recipe I used a 1.5 quart (6 cup) (1.4 liter) ceramic mold. The mold needs to be buttered and then dusted with finely grated parmesan cheese (can also use bread crumbs). The cheese is used so that as the soufflé bakes it will cling to the cheese, enabling the soufflé to rise to its full height. The added benefit is that as the soufflé bakes the cheese turns golden brown and becomes wonderfully crispy.

Savory Soufflés start with a béchamel (a thick white sauce). It is made with butter and flour that are first cooked (a roux) to get rid of the flour's raw taste. Then you whisk in warm milk until you have a smooth mixture. This mixture is further cooked until it becomes thick and silky smooth. Next, grated cheese is stirred in. For this Cheese Soufflé you can use either grated Sharp Cheddar or Gruyère, or a combination of the two. Once the cheese has melted and you have a smooth sauce, whisk in the egg yolks and, if desired, some chopped chives. You can also add a couple of slices of coarsely chopped cooked bacon, or even some sautéed vegetables (mushrooms are very nice). The final step is to whip the egg whites and fold them into your sauce. In order to get the maximum volume from the egg whites, make sure your mixing bowl and whisk are clean, dry, and free of grease and have the egg whites at room temperature. Cream of tartar is added which helps to stabilize the whites and prevents over beating. The whites are beaten until they are stiff and glossy. Add a little of the whites to the sauce to lighten the sauce and then gradually fold in the remaining whites. When folding, use large gently strokes and fold just until the white streaks disappear.

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Cheese Soufflé: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of your oven. Butter a 6 cup (1.4 liter) soufflé mold and then dust the mold with an even layer of the finely grated parmesan cheese. Place the soufflé mold on a larger baking sheet.

Béchamel Sauce: Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan placed over medium heat. When melted and it starts to bubble, remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or whisk, add all the flour and stir until combined and smooth (no lumps). Return the saucepan to medium heat and, stirring or whisking constantly, bring to a boil and continue to cook for about one to two minutes or until light brown in color (this will get rid of the flour's raw taste). Remove from heat and slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until the sauce is well blended and smooth. Whisking constantly, return to medium heat, and bring to a boil. Continue to gently boil, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes or until the sauce is very thick, smooth and shiny. Remove from heat, stir in the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Gradually stir in the grated cheese until it's melted. Finally, stir in the chives and bacon, if using. Then whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.

Next, whip the egg whites. In a clean bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer or wire whisk), beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, on medium low speed, until soft peaks form. Increase your mixer speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold about a quarter of the egg whites into the sauce to lighten it and makes it easier to fold in the rest of the egg whites. Gently fold the remaining whites (in 2 - 3 additions) into the lukewarm sauce. Pour the batter into the prepared mold and place in oven. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake for about 30 - 34 minutes until crust is dry and lightly browned. Place on a wire rack. Remove or until the soufflé is puffed, golden brown on top, and just set (the center will wobble slightly when the pan is gently shaken). Do not open the oven door for the first 25 minutes or the soufflé may collapse. Serve immediately as the Soufflé will deflate as it cools.

Leftovers can be covered and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat.

Serves 3 to 4 people.

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Cheese Soufflé:

1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons (15 grams) finely grated Parmesan Cheese

Béchamel Sauce:

3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons (28 grams) all purpose flour

1 cup (240 ml/grams) milk, warmed

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) salt

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

4 ounces (115 grams) grated Sharp Cheddar and/or Gruyre Cheese

2 tablespoons (6 grams) finely chopped chives or green onions (optional)

2 slices cooked bacon, coarsely chopped (optional)

4 large (60 grams) egg yolks, at room temperature

5 large (160 grams) egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) cream of tartar

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