Saturday, April 13, 2013

French Meringue Method vs. Italian Meringue Method

Hi everyone, as you all know (or may not know) there are two main methods of making macarons: The French Meringue Method and the Italian Meringue Method. The two methods are quite similar, but are also quite different.

French Meringue Method: consists of sugar, almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites. The egg whites are whipped to stiff peaks using the sugar and the dry ingredients are folded into the meringue. This method takes a bit more skill, but since it doesn't deal with thermometers or grams(majority of recipes online), most people in America try this method first (including me). It is easier to overmix the macaronage with this method, but some people claim that the French Meringue Method produces a more airy texture. The shell is also a bit more crisp than the Italian Method macarons. Here are some examples of French Meringue Method macarons.

(courtesy of madbaker.net and notsohumblepie.blogspot.com)

Italian Meringue Method: consists of sugar, almond flour, powdered sugar, and egg whites as well. However, the almond flour and powdered sugar are glued together by an addition of egg whites. This makes it easier to fold the meringue with the tant pour tant (mass) and you are less likely to overmix. Usually, this method does not fail to produce feet. Also, instead of making a regular meringue, sugar and water are boiled together until it reaches 240 Fahrenheit and poured into soft peak-stage egg whites. This produces a very stable meringue that doesn't deflate. You can put it in a container and save it for later, and the quality won't be sacrificed. This method produces a fuller macaron, with a soft shell and insides. Here are some pictures of Italian Method macarons. (the ones I post on this site are all Italian method)


(courtesy of notsohumblepie.blogspot.com)

So which method do I like??

......

ITALIAN!

WHY??
Because most of the time (when I do everything right lol) they do not turn out as horrible as these cookie-fails:

1)
2)
(sorry guys...but an example must be shown XD)
(courtesy of ceeinthekitchen and tast-e)

I used to use the French meringue method in the beginning because I thought "Ohh, I don't want to have to buy a candy thermometer and weigh out stuff with a scale". So I used yumsugar.com's recipe...but at times I would get things like these! And I was like "MAN, WHAT A ***** temperamental cookie! How can bakeries do this every day??" By the way, the reason why those two macarons failed up there is because 1) batter was overmixed, and not rested, and 2) Were not fully rested either. Those darn macarons would take hours to dry! And I was thinking "wow, how do people have time for this??" Also, I guess I didn't know how to deflate the batter correctly in the beginning, so they would be hollow and have tall feet. To me, tall feet are not ideal in a macaron. I like smaller feet on macarons, because I know the insides won't be hollow. Tall feet=hollow shells (most of the time). 
These ones were around the beginning of my baking macarons. These were French meringue method, and I didn't really care about the interiors. I just wanted feet. lol so I am pretty sure that these were quite hollow, since the feet are so tall and the shell is sort of a squareish shape. Since I was so focused on making sure my macarons had feet, I completely forgot about the interiors. 

Now since I use the Italian meringue method, it basically guarantees feet as long as you follow the instructions correctly. (my recipe) I have more time to focus on the interiors of the cookies, and they have become a lot better than when I first started. The batter also takes less time to dry, especially if you use a fan. Usually when I'm done with all the dishes from baking (groan) they're done and dry (15-20 min).

If you compare those to my most recent batch, you can see that the feet are quite smaller and the shells are a more rounded shape. They have full interiors and are very moist. The French ones I used to make were a bit crispy. 

So if you're a beginner and want to try making macarons, I HIGHLY suggest that you start with the Italian Meringue method. It prevents those disasters from happening, and you won't have to worry about not having feet (lol sounds funny). 

I know some people swear by their French Meringue method, but a lot of commercial bakeries use the Italian method because it's just more reliable. It doesn't really depend on humidity or silly factors like that. No nonsense. No BS. No babying the batter. It's straightforward. Sorry if I'm offending any of you French meringue bakers, but this is my opinion. :)

20 comments:

  1. great post. i definitely agree about the italian meringue method- it is my preferred method as well. :)

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    1. Thanks! Your macarons look lovely Vivian :)

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  2. Looool i love your post. I'm going to tell you my story with macarons...

    It was a lot of months i want to make macarons so i decides to start with french merengue method...i try and try but after 6 times of failures i decided to try with the italian merengue...so that was my salvation (good result from the first time)....
    But i still have the french merengue in mind...where i was wrong??? I follow all the istructoon about how to whip the egg whites, about the rest time, about the temperature of oven, about everything... I was ovsessioned with the french method MISTERY.... And i understand that I HAVE TO LERN EXACTELY HOW TO DO THEM WITH FRENCH METHOD!!!! That is my goal for the mext future.

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    1. Hi Alessandro!

      Thanks haha. Yes same here I haven't tried French method ever since my failures. Maybe I should try again also!

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  3. Hi Vivian,
    I tried italian method so many times and failed. Everytime i put my sugar syrup to the egg white, the egg white became deflated and never come to high peak. I didnt age my egg white as you mention aging egg white is not necessary. Please tell me what went wrong.
    Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, did you use a hand mixer or stand mixer?

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    2. You have to whip the egg whites at least until somewhat foamy before adding the syrup, and when you do, you have to do it slowly in a very thin stream and beat until the bowl cool down and you have stiff, glossy peaks. Also, if you get water or other substances in with the egg whites before you beat them, it can prevent them from ever forming a stable form. If all else fails, try adding a bit of lemon juice of white vinegar early on to stabilize the meringue.

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  4. Italian meringue is my preferred method too. I tried French meringue method twice when I started making macarons, I just gave up and tried Italian meringue method instead. The humidity is low here so my macarons take around 20 mins to rest.

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    Replies
    1. Oh I see, I like Italian but it tends to be pretty sweet so I like French method better now with my updated recipe :)

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  5. Stumbled into your blog and I thought this is a nice post! Just wondering if you would be able to help with some macaron troubleshooting, this is killing me lol
    I've made macarons using the Italian method and they've worked well. Catch is, I used hazelnut meal instead and used cocoa powder, baked them at 160 deg c (320F) and they always turn out great, but when I use almond meal and food colouring, bake them at 320F, they turn out bad... they form feet but have huge hollows or sunken interiors. I use liquid food colouring in my sugar syrup so I thought that wouldn't be adding extra liquid to the mix.
    I've tried different temps 140, 150, 160 (284, 302, 320 F) and they still have the hollows. Any ideas why? The hazelnut/cocoa ones turn out good but not the almond ones. Maybe I should try out the french method? Why do they even have hollows?
    Cheers! :)

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    Replies
    1. Hey, I'm not sure if anyone had responded but I just wanted to let you know that sometimes food coloring can affect the delicate macaron so its best to use powder or gel food coloring!

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  6. Hey Natalie!

    I love your blog! I have a question for you. I prefer the French method, and I love your recipes..I am wondering if I can use your recipes for the French method? Would any of the proportions change?

    Thanks!
    ~Julie

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  7. I've been using the French method for a while now, and I always find them to crispy or hallow. I am definitely going to be trying out the Italian method next. By the way, you macarons look FAB! ♥

    ~Dominique ♥

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  8. Most people choose French meringue over Italian because cooking sugar syrup is a giant pain. WIth a super-simple foolproof technique for making the syrup, Italian meringue becomes a no-brainer because the results are more consistent and over- and under-mixing is much less of an issue.
    I cook my sugar syrup cooked in the microwave! It eliminates the mess and the burns and is perfect every time. I use 200g sugar and 50ml (50g) water. Combine in a 2-cup pyrex measure, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes. (This proportion is correct for 75g of egg white.) The complete recipe is in "Macarons for the American Kitchen". If you reduce the amount of sugar, reduce the cooking time accordingly, e.g. 100g of sugar and 25g of water cooks for 1min 30 sec. This works equally well for making buttercream:
    Whip 3 egg yolks until light and fluffy, pour in sugar syrup (100g sugar/25g water cooked for 90 sec.) Beat until cool. Add 2 sticks soft unsalted butter & flavoring of choice.

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    Replies
    1. Connie, the method of cooking sugar syrup in the microwave is pure genious!!! Thank you so much for sharing! This will save me so much time struggling in the kitchen!

      Lots of love from Stockholm! ;*

      Delete
  9. Most people choose French meringue over Italian because cooking sugar syrup is a giant pain. WIth a super-simple foolproof technique for making the syrup, Italian meringue becomes a no-brainer because the results are more consistent and over- and under-mixing is much less of an issue.
    I cook my sugar syrup cooked in the microwave! It eliminates the mess and the burns and is perfect every time. I use 200g sugar and 50ml (50g) water. Combine in a 2-cup pyrex measure, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes. (This proportion is correct for 75g of egg white.) The complete recipe is in "Macarons for the American Kitchen". If you reduce the amount of sugar, reduce the cooking time accordingly, e.g. 100g of sugar and 25g of water cooks for 1min 30 sec. This works equally well for making buttercream:
    Whip 3 egg yolks until light and fluffy, pour in sugar syrup (100g sugar/25g water cooked for 90 sec.) Beat until cool. Add 2 sticks soft unsalted butter & flavoring of choice.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm so thankful I came across your blog! I have been using the French method with inconsistent results. I have tried a variety of basic french recipes and only one recipe produced a good cookie that wasn't hollow and had the right size feet (but that might have been a fluke still...I don't know until I try another batch). I'm hoping that the Italian is less finicky than the French. I'm in search of the perfect macaron recipe and technique (or obsessed at this point, lol).

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  11. Hello, I'm so excited to have found your blog! I've been reading through lots of macaron recipes and trying to figure out which one to trust.
    I'd like to make my own for the first time, for my daughter's little family birthday party next weekend. It's 2 states away, so we are road tripping, and I hope to make them at home to bring with us for the little party.
    I do prefer things quite sweet, so I'd like to make your Italian version that you refer to here. I see from comments that you have switched back to a French recipe. Could you tell me which post I will find your preferred Italian recipe in, please (either the title to search, or the URL link)?
    And just because I'm also curious, and may find after my first attempt that I'd prefer to try your new French favorite, would you also mind sharing where to find that recipe too?

    Thank you so much for your time, help, and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
    Happy Weekend :)

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  12. I just read that you can store the Italian meringue and use it for later? Does it need to stay room temp or can I refrigerate it?

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