Eggs are a versatile ingredient you will find used in a variety of ways in recipes. There are many different terms for how the eggs are added when cooking or baking. Each one will vary on the recipe, author, style, and regional differences. Some of the common terms used for beating whole eggs and egg yolks are included below along with how to identify each step and some tips for achieving them.
When a recipe calls for slightly beaten eggs, you will beat them with a fork or a whisk, just until the egg whites and yolks are blended. Slightly beaten eggs are good for scrambled eggs or may be called for in a number of baking recipes. The goal with slightly beaten eggs is simply to ensure that the white and yolk do not remain separate. In baking, you will often be further mixing the dough or batter so you won't need to spend much time beating the eggs.
Well beaten eggs are beaten with a whisk, egg beater, blender, or electric mixer until they are frothy, light, and even in color. This usually takes a few minutes. The texture will begin to change to more thick and foamy.
Thick and Light Lemon Colored
If you see this direction in a recipe, the eggs are beaten with an electric mixer for about five minutes, until thick and light lemon-colored. The volume of the eggs will increase as the amount of liquid eggs decreases. The egg mixture will become quite foamy.
A ribbon consistency is produced by beating egg yolks with sugar using a whisk or electric mixer for about three minutes. The mixture forms a "ribbon" when dropped from the beaters or a spoon.
Soft peaks refer to egg whites that are beaten with an electric mixer. Using a medium speed, continue to beat until they are soft and white. To test if you've beaten enough, lift the beaters out of the egg mixture. They should form peaks that will bend back over and curl downwards. A helpful tip is to make sure the bowl, mixer, and beaters do not have any oil or yolk on them. Oil and or yolk will prevent the whites from reaching their full volume.
Stiff peaks is the stage reached after soft peaks. Simply continue to use the mixer until stiff peaks form. An easy test is to remove the mixer and see if the peaks are pointing upwards. You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the mixed eggs moving.
As with any recipe, be sure to read through the entire recipe before you begin. Depending on the recipe and how you need to prepare your eggs, it may be better to use room temperature eggs or cold eggs. Now that you know the common terms for preparing eggs for baking, you'll be ready to tackle any recipe. If the term is different from what is listed above, read the description of how the eggs should look and try to match it with the common term from this list.