Why does my meringue collapse?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Why does my meringue collapse” with an in-depth analysis of why meringue collapses. Moreover, we are going to discuss the reasons responsible for making my meringue collapse or crack.

For those who do not know what meringue is here is a brief detail about meringue. Meringue is a dessert, generally made by using whipped egg whites and sugar, and an acidic ingredient, for example, lemon, vinegar. 

So if you are trying to make meringue and all of a sudden it collapses and you are worried that why your meringue collapsed so you need not worry as we are going to answer all your queries.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure it out in-depth. 

Why does my meringue collapse?

There can be a couple of reasons lying behind a collapsed meringue including, meringue does not hold its shape, meringue mixture is bubbly, meringue mixture splits, meringue weeps while baking, presence of small particles, and meringue cracks during baking.

These issues occur due to several reasons; we are going to discuss all of them in-depth as well as how we can overcome these issues.

Reasons why meringue does not hold its shape

The reason that meringue doesn’t hold its shape is that the sugar is added at an early stage. If we add the sugar too early before the protein particles in the egg whites have had the opportunity to unfold appropriately, you won’t get the all-around circulated air through the froth structure you need for a thick and stable meringue.

But it is worth mentioning that you should not add meringue too late as adding sugar early will bring about a denser, firmer, better-finished meringue; while adding sugar late will make a lighter meringue with an airy surface.

Reasons why meringue mixture is bubbly

Meringue is hard to shape due to three main reasons

  1. The speed at which we stir the mixture 
  2. The quantity of sugar added 
  3. When sugar is added 

If we are rapidly whisking the egg-whites, the air bubbles will be less uniform. At the point when small air bubbles are scattered alongside bigger ones, the form will be excessively vaporous and difficult to shape. 

Moreover, if we add more sugar to the meringue mixture it will help us in a way that the form created will be denser and less airy. If sugar is added after egg-whites form firm peaks, then the mixture will be too airy.

Reasons why meringue mixture splits

  1. Meringue mixture has low sugar
  2. Egg-whites are older

Having more sugar will stabilize the meringue mixture, so if the amount of sugar is less the meringue mixture will be less stable. The reason why a French meringue is less stable than an Italian meringue is that the Italian meringue has more concentration of sugar to egg-whites than a French meringue which makes it more stable. 

If the egg-whites are older then they might not be acidic with loosely bounded protein bonds that help to create a less stable foam, so to make foam stable fresh egg-whites are required as they will help to make a more stable foam.

Other FAQs about Meringue which you may be interested in.

Can you make meringue without sugar?

How to store meringue for pavlova?

Reasons why meringue weep while baking

  1. The mixture has been over stirred
  2. Meringue has not been given enough time to bake 

If the meringue mixture is over whisked, the protein bonds of egg-whites become tighter around the moisture and air pockets. if meringue is over-whisked, these bonds will turn out to be too close and power out air as well as dampness during baking.

Under-baking means that meringue has a lot of liquid left in it which will lead the foam to collapse. The reason that meringue is not baked enough can be that the cooking temperature can be too low or the time to get baked is very low.

Reasons why small particles (beading) can be seen on the baked meringue

  1. Sugar is not dissolved properly before baking
  2. Meringue is over baked at high temperature

Sugar particles that are not dissolved well will melt during baking. The sugar in liquid form will seep out of the mixture during baking as this liquid has not been trapped by protein bonds. The tightly bound proteins will take out the moisture more rapidly than it can evaporate.  

Reasons why meringue cracks

The main reason why a meringue crack is that it is heated at a very high temperature as well as it is whisked at a very high speed. 

As described earlier, whisking at high speed will form an airy foam having a large number of air bubbles which on baking will expand and will cause the mixture to crack. Moreover, high temperatures will do the same in a way that air bubbles will expand causing the mixture to crack.

Things that should be avoided:   

  1. Sugar should not be added to quickly
  2. Using old egg-whites
  3. Eggs not kept at room temperature
  4. Whisking the mixture too quickly 
  5. Whisking the mixture for too long
  6. Meringue is under-baked
  7. Meringue is baked at a very high temperature for too long

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “Why does my meringue collapse” with an in-depth analysis of why meringue collapses. Moreover, we discussed the reasons responsible for making my meringue collapse or crack.

Citations:

https://www.thespruceeats.com/biggest-mistakes-when-making-meringue-2245941

https://www.myrecipes.com/how-to/cooking-questions/why-do-meringues-crack-or-collapse

https://www.sbs.com.au/food/explainer/make-meringue#:~:text=The%20meringue%20is%20under%2Dbaked,excess%20liquid%20to%20seep%20out.

Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.