Tuesday Techniques: Cheese Soufflé

May 20, 2008 | By | COMMENTS


We all remember those episodes of bad sitcoms where a character would be making a soufflé and insist that everyone stay quiet in the kitchen lest their precious prize collapse. Then, of course, an Urkel or a Punky would knock over a tray of pots and pans, the soufflé-maker would cry out and hilarity would ensue. This is how most Americans perceived soufflé, as a disaster waiting to happen. And most people, I’d wager, still think of it that way–which is why, perhaps, so many of you requested soufflé as the next technique I tackle in my Tuesday Techniques.

But, as Michael Ruhlman writes in his “Elements of Cooking”, “Soufflés are less fragile and difficult than their reputation suggests.”

Banking on this, I decided that I’d make a soufflé for lunch after going to the gym this morning (instead of dangling a carrot in front of my treadmill, I dangled an imaginary cheese soufflé).

The recipe I chose wasn’t from Jacques Pepin’s book (though he has a recipe for lobster soufflé I may try in the near future) but from my favorite, Ina Garten, and her “Barefoot in Paris” cookbook. I trust Ina–her recipes almost always come out–so I figured that for a dish as daunting and intimidating as soufflé, hers would be the recipe to use.

And boy, am I glad I did. Was it difficult? Not at all: it just involves lots of dirty dishes, broken eggs and self-control (especially in the not peeking in the oven department). I bought a large soufflé dish on Monday in preparation for making this; I think having a large soufflé dish is smart because instead of figuring out how many portions you can eat, you just make a big giant portion and dish yourself out however much you want. [For this recipe, the dish should hold 8 cups and it should be 7 1/2 inches in diameter X 3 1/4 inches deep.]

Here’s what you need to make it…


3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

3 Tbs all-purpose flour

1 cup scalded milk

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of nutmeg

4 extra-large egg yolks at room temperature

3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped

5 extra-large egg whites at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar



And here are Ina’s instructions…

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of an 8-cup soufflé dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.


Melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat.


With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.



Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg.



Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.

Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.


Stir in the Roquefort and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.



Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.


Whisk one quarter of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest.



Pour into the soufflé dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the soufflé rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven.


Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don’t peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.

Here’s what I saw when I finally opened the oven…



What a feeling to see that your soufflé has risen! It’s one of the great kitchen highs. I removed it from the oven and called Craig in to behold my accomplishment.


“Wow,” said Craig giving it a once-over. “Smells good too.”

But it was when he dug his fork into the portion I put on his plate (along with some salad) that his eyes really lit up.


“Mmmmmmm,” he sang out. “This is so good! This is one of the best things you’ve ever cooked!”

Isn’t it fascinating that a dish with such a long, dusty history can still dazzle when it comes out of the oven? This is like a cross between a cheese puff, a pancake, and an omelet. The Roquefort really gives it complex flavor and the Parmesan rounds it out. Along with a salad (dressed simply with olive oil and vinegar), a better lunch can’t be had.

And that, my friends, is this week’s Tuesday Technique. What would you like to see next?

Tags: , ,

Categories: Cheese, Recipes

  • Stephanie

    It’s hardly the season for it, but never a wrong time to learn, FUDGE. I like the hard-ish kind that you bite into and it just DISSOLVES in your mouth. Sometimes, it turns out. Sometimes, it’s just fudge sauce.

    Whattya think? :-)

  • http://www.restaurantreviewworld.com foodette

    Crazy! A month ago I randomly decided to make cheese souffle, and was so excited about the results that I posted it on my blog, too! Of course, I just posted my results, w/o all of the great step-by-step instructions that you have, and I regret it but I didn’t put on the recipe that I used from the Bride and Groom cookbook by Williams Sonoma. Oh well, I have never actually posted a real recipe, but randomly like to share my cooking exploits.

    Anyway, I see your charactature (sp??) all over the food network these days. Congrats and keep up the good work – I love reading Tuesday Techniques!

  • http://www.fritterblog.blogspot.com Sarah

    Adam, you certainly make this look simple! I’m particularly intrigued by the use of Roquefort. Thank you for sharing your tips.

    On a side note, I know that you recently blogged about kitchen tools, but I don’t recall that you discussed that handy automatic whisk that I see pictured. I’ve been thinking about buying one. Would you recommend the model that you owe?

  • http://thenewcook.com Andy

    Nice job. I’ve never tried a souffle, but you do make it look easy.

  • http://spudcake.blogspot.com Allix Geneslaw

    Good call on the Ina! She’s my favorite chef right now — each one of her recipes is simple and classic. I just made a batch of chocolate chip cookies from her Parties cookbook and they are scrumptious. (Although the required 3 1/2 cups of chocolate chips may send my body into a diabetic seizure.) I’ll have to pick up the Paris cookbook too!

  • http://lostintaste.blogspot.com/ Sarah Williams

    Crème brûlée please Adam!

  • http://www.mashedpotatoesandmerlot.blogspot.com Kristin Murdock

    I love this! I love Ina! I am inspired to buy a souffle dish and attempt my own this weekend. Thanks Adam!

  • http://livingsmallblog.com Charlotte

    I’ve never understood why people are so freaked out by souffles or think they’re complicated. It was one of the very first things I learned to cook when I was about 10 (Girl Scout cooking badge via my Mom). Once you get the basic idea — egg whites and a sauce (for either savory or sweet) they’re really easy. I was shocked this season on Top Chef by the souffle-hysteria (and their utter failure). Maybe I’m just old. In the 70s when I learned to cook, souffles were very swanky …

  • http://www.thethiftygourmet.com Chloé

    Good job!!! Your soufflé totally made me salivate. I always wanted to try Pepin’s lobster one, but doubted my skill level was up to par. Your post inspired me to give it a shot :)

  • http://devourthis.typepad.com/ Jackie

    Nice pouffy souffle, Adam! I, too, recently made a souffle for the first time and it was spectacular — perhaps I was a tad overzealous with the paprika, but its oozy-jiggly-eggy-cheesy-savory-ness was spectacular nonetheless.

    I used Molly Wizenberg’s (Orangette) recipe from last month’s Bon Appetit. And I served it with a Balthazar baguette. Perfect combo.

    I’ll try my next one with Roquefort…thanks!

    P.S. As for next technique, I’d like to see stuffed artichokes or preparing a whole fish!

  • Stephanie

    wow looks so yummy. A great tip, use some truffle oil to give the suffle a nutty flavor. i was browsing around for cheese souffle recipes, and I came across a video of how to make the perfect cheese souffle. The site is BehindtheBurner.com. I really liked that they use real-life restaurants chefs to show a demonstration video!! What’s also great is that they give you a discount for buying the cheese for the souffle, too. It’s great check it out!

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