Is there really a “best” oven to bake a soufflé? Is one oven better than another for cooking recipes to appease hungry appetites? Because of the sensitive nature of a soufflé, we do not recommend a convection oven under any circumstances. The main reason is the fan that a convection oven uses to evenly distribute heat through the oven cavity could also blow your soufflé down. If your oven comes with a convection setting be sure not to use it when cooking a soufflé. Use the conventional setting instead.
The choice for this chef is a Frigidaire Wall Oven. A wall oven provides easier access to supervise cooking progress. A wall oven reduces chances of someone stomping into the kitchen causing vibrations to ripple through the floorboards causing a rising soufflé to become a sinking ship.
Why Frigidaire? Because it’s a fairly common, reliable, and trustworthy brand. It has an easy to use control panel, an attractive smudge-free stainless steel exterior, and a quick and easy cleaning function.
The Mystery of the Cheese Soufflé
- 2 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs or substitute 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose King Arthur flour
- 1 ½ cups milk, warmed
- 8 ounces sharp Hooks Cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 5 large eggs, separated
- 1 large egg white
Preheat your Frigidaire wall oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease (If you think olive oil, think again. Olive oil will dominate the flavor of a cheese soufflé; try using canola or vegetable oil) a 2-quart soufflé dish and sprinkle evenly with the bread crumbs (or sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese – which would be our choice!)
Act 1 – The Cheese Sauce
Now we’re going to make a delicious cheese sauce. Begin by melting the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over very low heat. Using your favorite whip, stir in the flour and cook until a nice thick paste begins to dance in the pan. Slowly banish the warm milk to the butter-flour mixture (which is known as a roux) and stir until the paste has transformed into a nice creamy sauce.
Now crank up the heat a bit, like to medium, and use a wooden spoon to stir the sauce until it thickens and has just come to a boil. Reduce the flame to low and stir frequently for an hour or so. Just kidding…stir for about 3 minutes or until the boil has diminished. Back up the truck and dump in a couple cups of Cheddar, salt, and the ground cayenne pepper. Maintain a steady stirring motion until the cheese has just melted and the sauce is smooth.
Hot Tip: The above cheese sauce you’ve just made can be used for many other recipes as well as act as a great topping to any type of food you can think of. Potatoes, chili, mac and cheese, chocolate. Well, cheese sauce might be pretty disgusting with chocolate. Save the chocolate for the next soufflé you make.
Act 2 – The Egg Yolks
Grab your favorite whip once again and lightly whip those egg yolks until they are a screaming rich blend of yellow. Gradually add ½ cup of the cheese sauce you created in Act 1. Now you’re going to add this mixture to the 2-quart saucepan where the remainder of the cheese sauce is patiently waiting. Stir rapidly! That’s not quite fast enough; stir faster, like someone with supernatural powers would stir it. Once it appears that it’s not going to curdle, because it sure could, remove the pan from the stove. Pour the cheese mixture into the soufflé dish and get ready for act 3.
Act 3 – The Egg Whites
The following act could be performed with your favorite whip. But the preferable method, is a household mixer, such as the KitchenAid Professional. In a large bowl, beat 6 egg whites until stiff mountain-like peaks form when you pull the beaters out. The pointy slopes should remind you of Mt. Everest.
As we approach the finish of The Cheese Soufflé, we sense a culinary wonder about to take place with the blending together of plot and story, of cheese sauce and egg whites, of soufflé and appetite. Anticipation sings an anthem of patience.
Grab your favorite rubber spatula and gently, and we do mean gently, fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the cheese mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until just blended.
Act 4 – The Soufflé
At last! Slowly pour the soufflé mixture into the prepared dish. With the back of a wooden spoon, gently create a moat around the outer edges of the soufflé. This will enable the soufflé to rise slightly above the height of the dish and create a top-hat effect. Bake until golden brown, about 60 minutes.
Remember: Don’t allow anyone to come stomping around in the kitchen while your soufflé is baking. The soufflé could flatten out before its even had a chance to rise!
Finale’ – The Dinner
Serve the soufflé while it’s still hot! Now, why would you need to read that? Of course, you’re going to serve it hot! This masterpiece will proudly serve a party of six. Take a bow and enjoy!