Parsnip Parsimony- A vegan baking and science blog.

“You’re crazy, Susie!”

Posts Tagged ‘Vegan meringue’

The deal with the egg replacer thing.

Posted by Susie on April 14, 2008

So I’ve been swinging a lot of hints and promises around for the past three weeks, and I figure that I should just tell everyone what the deal is.

At the beginning of spring break three weeks ago, I had come to the decision that I would put an end to making everyone wait and wait for the mystery egg replacer that I’ve been talking about forever and ever. I resolved to write up a summary of all the things I’ve tried, what my logic was for trying them, why the egg replacer is not perfect yet, and my thoughts on possible solutions to the persistent problems. I felt guilty for not being able to put as much time into the project as I would have liked while I was doing other things in school and everyone else was waiting on me, so I thought it would be best if I created a summary of the past five years of work on this egg replacer, so that anyone who was interested would be free to mess around with trying to solve the problems that I was too busy to solve.

So I put some time into figuring out the best format for presenting all the information I’ve accumulated, the things I’ve tried, and the thought process that led me to this current obsession. That took about a week, but I finally decided on a format I was satisfied with. Then I started to outline and to organize my information and to trace my process of developing this egg replacer over the past five years. I found all the really badly taken notes on “experiments” I conducted years ago when I had no concept of experimental design, “significant digits” or of good scientific note taking practices. The fact that I did these “experiments” anyway, and even took notes on them, was a bit nostalgia inducing.

Then (after three-ish years of making outlines intending to write something on this subject) I actually started writing!  However, by the time I started making sentences, the outline that I had made myself for this document had become much more than a “short summary”. I was not writing at the speed I had imagined I would write at, either. After writing/researching/thinking only of this document for about a week and a half straight, by the last Friday of spring break, I had to face the fact that I was not going to finish this “short summary” by the time spring break was over.

Spring quarter started a week ago today, and I have been working on this when I get the chance, but I still am not even halfway done with a rough draft. I don’t know when I might finish this project, as I’m taking 16 credits again and I feel like its only a matter of time before I have no free time left. Also, in addition to writing this summary of my past research, I’m also still testing and acquiring new ideas of how I might be able to make the necessary transition from “super promising egg replacer with a few kinks to work out” to “Hey! This stuff is easy to prepare non-industrially and it works just like egg in everything!”

So, please accept my apologies for underestimating the amount of time it would take to write a summary of my egg replacer project. I realized a while ago that there is no reason to be secretive about this anymore. The only thing in my way is the difficulty I’m having with distilling five years of experimentation, conclusions, and unanswered questions into an effective communication.  I mean- I could post a “recipe” that everyone would try only to be disappointed by a lengthy process that gives mediocre results, and that doesn’t say why, despite its imperfections, that it represents a whole lot of potential as an egg replacer if the imperfections can be overcome, and what those imperfections are, and what doesn’t work to solve the problems that persist, and what might work if only we had the time or resources…. That is why I’m taking so long typing this thing, and why I’ve not just “said”.

So, please, by all means, if anyone out there just read through this ramble and has any sort of opinion, I would love to hear what it is.

And I will keep you posted about the status of the document I am working on.  Rest assured that I AM hellbent on getting this project to you all, and that given enough time, I will!

-Susie

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Pictures of meringues, and a decision made finally.

Posted by Susie on December 19, 2007

I’ve pretty much decided that the right thing to do would be to just post my egg white replacer recipe (the one that can do meringue, cream puffs, etc…) here on the blog. All I need to do now is psych myself up enough to actually go through with the “posting it” part. Thats going to take some guts.

Although…. I might opt to have a few select people “test” the recipe before I make it available to the masses- if only because I would hate to have a significantly flawed recipe widely distributed and end up with a lot of frustrated people. So it might be later that I finally post, rather than sooner. Important thing is though: I pretty much for sure WILL post this- in one form or another. I think I’m pretty happy with that decision, too. I’ve pretty much been possessed with the “okay… I figured out how to make vegan meringue… now what am I supposed to do?” dilemma for about exactly three years now.

But anyway- I made a batch this week, and I think I’ve fully overcome one out of two big problems that were keeping my meringue from being “perfected”. This batch actually tasted good. (The other big problem is foam strength, although I am slowly but surely getting closer to fixing that one too.)

Up until now, I’ve mostly concerned myself with foam structure. Three years ago, the ingredient I was using to make very primitive versions of what I make now also provided a positively revolting taste. I ate it anyway, even though I still shudder at the memory, all out of sheer determination of developing a vegan meringue (I still can’t eat bran muffins to this day, I’ll tell you that!). But yes. Even though its been in the back of my mind all along that developing a vegan meringue would be pointless if it didn’t taste good, I decided to work on structure first, and worry about taste later. And now that my structure is almost perfect, I’m pretty glad I got the stuff to taste good. Woohoo!

Here are some pictures of my latest attempt:

(this is blurry, and technichally a bad photo, but I think its really kind of pretty in a way)

Before whipping (Hee Hee! It looks like a pun!)

Before cooking: (you can tell I still need to work on making the foam a bit stiffer. If that I had a freeze drier, it would be a piece of cake.)

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