For today’s article I will be talking about the use of egg white powder in macarons. What does egg white powder actually do? Can egg white powder fix hollow shells? Can I use just egg white powder when making macarons? Do I have to change the macaron recipe when adding egg white powder? Is it right for everyone?
All of these questions will be answered today!
First, let’s talk about what is egg white powder. Egg white powder is simply dried egg whites, the egg whites have had their water content removed, and what is left is just the protein, which is ground up into a fine powder.
Egg white powder is the pure albumen.
I first heard about it from Nicole at Bake Toujours. And then I saw a few people claiming to have fixed hollow shell issues using egg white powder.
So, does adding egg white powder to the meringue actually make your macaron shells fuller?
The answer is: not necessarily.
To be able to answer this, let’s see what adding egg white powder does to the meringue.
Let’s talk meringue for a second here.
Below you can see the structure of the meringue. The blue and teal circles would be air and water bubbles, the orange links around them would be the protein strands. The yellow represents the viscous sugar syrup that surrounds the air bubbles, the water bubbles, and the protein strands.
Basically to have a stable meringue, you need this whole structure to be solid and strong. It’s important to keep the air and the water bubbles in place, and for that you need the eggs to be whipped just right.
If you over whip the egg whites, the air bubbles will become too large and the protein strands will collapse, and you will have a broken meringue.
When you whip the meringue, essentially you are adding air to it, which is being captured within the foam. And for the air to remain where it is, you need the protein network to be solid. One thing that helps keep the protein strands strong is the sugar syrup that surrounds the whole structure, which is why you do need sugar when making macarons, and sugar substitutes don’t work well, but that’s a talk for another time.
And another thing that will help keep this network strong is to add more protein to it. And that’s where the egg white powder comes in.
You are basically making this whole structure stronger by adding the egg white powder in and giving a boost of protein “walls” to the meringue, which keep the air and water trapped in nice and safe.
So now we can answer the question:
Does egg white powder help with hollow macarons?
Egg white powder doesn’t necessarily help with hollow macarons as much as it helps you obtain a stronger, more stable meringue. And a stable meringue is needed for healthy shells.
So lots of people start to use egg white powder and notice improvement in their shells, which can come in the form of a sturdier, smooth, shiny top, beautiful feet, and fuller shells.
Does egg white powder work for everybody?
Adding egg white powder to the meringue doesn’t work for everybody. The climate you are in, the brands of the ingredients you use, the quality of the eggs, the recipe you use are all factors that will determine if egg white powder works for you or not.
Egg White Powder and Humidity
Egg white powder doesn’t work well if you are in a dry climate. Back in New York, during winter time it gets really dry inside the houses (around 20% or less) because of the heat being on all day long, if I added egg white powder to my meringue, the shells would turn out lopsided, they would be dry as soon as I even piped, not giving me time to poke the air bubbles, and the macarons would turn out dry and crunchy.
Now I am living in Florida, and the humidity inside my house during summer is around 50%, a bit less if I turn the dehumidifier on. This weather I am in right now is perfect for using egg white powder, just like summer in New York was also great for that. I haven’t been through winter here in Florida yet, but I will determine if I will use egg white powder or not based on the humidity levels of my environment.
Now, regardless of the environment, other things should also be considered when evaluating if you should or not use egg white powder as I mentioned above, such as the brands of ingredients, recipe, quality of eggs and what not.
The reason why egg white powder can often help bakers in humid climates is because, like we said above, it’s just like adding another layer of protein without the extra water that a fresh egg white would have. The sugar in the meringue will absorb moisture from the air, so the extra protein will be helpful to make up for the extra water that will be coming into the mixture.
Can I use just egg white powder when making macarons?
Yes, you can hydrate the egg white powder and make macarons like that. I’ve seen it done a few times around the facebook groups, and my friend Nicole from Bake Toujours has a video about it. While I haven’t tried it myself, just know it can be done.
Do I have to change my recipe when adding egg white powder?
If the recipe you are using doesn’t have instructions for the addition of egg white powder, you can try adding 4 grams for each 100 grams of egg whites, that’s what I usually add.
Unless the weather is becoming too dry, or unless I’ve added cocoa powder, or matcha powder to the shells, I use about 2 grams instead.
I’ve tried with 3 grams and it still made the shells super dry, but then again, I was on a different, drier climate. It’s important to experiment and try different amounts to see what works best.
In any case, you shouldn’t have to change the amount of any other ingredients, just add the egg white powder to the recipe on top of the dry ingredients, unless instructed differently by an instructor.
When to add the egg white powder to the meringue?
With the Swiss method, I like to whisk the egg white powder with the sugar before adding the fresh egg whites in. If you mix the egg white powder directly with the fresh egg whites, it will clump up. Whisking it with the sugar will prevent that from happening.
Is meringue powder the same thing as egg white powder?
Meringue powder and egg white powder are not the same thing. Egg white powder is simply dehydrated egg whites, when you read the label of the product, it should only say: egg whites.
Now meringue powder also has egg whites in it, but it has other ingredients too such as cornstarch, cream of tartar, sugar, citric acid, gum arabic, acid sulfate, artificial flavors, and silicone dioxide.
Essentially the meringue powder would perform similarly to egg white powder, again, it’s a matter of testing and using what you prefer.
To sum up, egg white powder can be a great addition to your meringue, and can be very beneficial depending on your circumstances. The only way of knowing is to try it out!
This is the egg white powder I use:
I hope you liked today’s article and that it was helpful to teach you a little bit about egg white powder and macarons.
To learn more about macarons and become a master baker, read my other articles here at Macaron School. There I share a lot of articles from troubleshooting guides, tips, tricks, the science behind macarons, and much more!
Thanks for reading!