Hello friends, let’s talk about the macaronage today. Macaronage is incorporating the dry ingredients (almond flour and powdered sugar) with the meringue and folding them together before piping the shells.
Again, this is a question I get a lot, to which there is no right answer for. It takes me from 3 to 5 minutes to do the macaronage, however, it may take you longer or less time.
Depending on the consistency of the meringue, on the weather (humid weather will make the batter absorb water from the air, which can make the batter seemingly softer), how much food coloring you’ve added, the method you are using, it will affect how long you should fold the batter. If the meringue is softer, the batter will take less time to come together, if you add a lot of food coloring, it will make the batter runnier as well, so all of these are things to take into account.
Instead of focusing on the number of minutes, focus on what should the perfect batter look like.
The batter should be flowing off the spatula slowly and effortlessly. If you grab some batter with the spatula, you should be able to draw several figure 8s with the batter that’s flowing off the spatula without having it break up, and even after the batter breaks up, it will still continue to flow slowly off the spatula. Focus on the word *slowly*. If the batter is just running non-stop at a fast speed, it means it’s been over mixed, or it can mean the meringue was too soft to begin with.
Also watch how the batter that is falling into the bowl incorporates back together with the batter that’s already in the bowl. It should take about 10 to 15 seconds for it to blend in.
Also, on my recipes I always recommend doing the Teaspoon Test. This is something I used to do in the beginning when I started to make macarons and I had trouble figuring out if the batter was done folding or not.
Basically you grab a teaspoon of batter from the bowl and spoon it onto the baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat. Give the tray a few taps against the counter, and watch how the batter spreads out.
On the middle picture as you see below, the batter is not smoothing out, it has a tip at the top that won’t go away even after a few taps and almost a minute waiting.
The last photo shows a smooth top, the batter has smoothed out after tapping the tray gently against the counter and waiting about 30 seconds.
What happens when the macaron batter is over mixed?
If you notice the macaron batter has been over mixed, should you still pipe it and bake? Is there a way of fixing over mixed macaron batter?
There is no way to fix over mixed macaron batter, unless you have a time machine. If you believe you’ve over mixed the batter, just go ahead and pipe the shells, and then bake it. There’s nothing to lose at this point, except for time and electricity to power your oven. But sometimes might not be as bad as you initially thought, and also baking the macarons anyway can give you an important lesson, once you see for yourself what were the results that came from that specific batter consistency.
Below we have some examples of what can happen if you over mix the batter. The shells can end up misshapen, wrinkled, hollow, with the feet spread out, or ruffled.
It might take a few tries for you to figure out the best batter consistency for your macarons. It’s all about practicing and watching videos that can help guide you.
Making notes and taking pictures of your batches can help. Take pictures of your whole process, of the meringue, the batter, the piped shells before and after baking. And keep a notebook where you write down about your experiments, that is indeed the best way to make progress if you feel like you are getting stuck in any areas of macaron making.
What happens if the batter is under mixed?
Under mixed batter will very clearly show the tips on the top of the shell. The shell won’t smooth out and spread out nicely. As you can see below.
If your shells have these bumps on top, it means that you aren’t mixing enough.
I hope this article was helpful to you. I still recommend strongly that you watch my videos on YouTube, where I always show the consistency of the batter before piping, and you can also see what the shells look like as I pipe them.
And I also recommend you take a look at my page here on the blog called Macaron School, I share lots of articles like this one filled with macaron knowledge that will help you on your journey, from Troubleshooting guides, to the science behind macarons, tips and tricks, and much more.
Thank you so much for reading!