Folding makes your mousse airy, your soufflé sky high and your cakes lighter!
What is it
Folding just means you are carefully mixing a light airy mixture (like whipped cream or meringue) with a heavier, dense one. It’s a gentler alternative to stirring that combines the 2 mixtures without losing the air bubbles.
How to do it properly
Always add your lighter mixture to the heavier one and not the other way around. If you add the heavier mixture to the lighter one, you’ve already started losing the air you worked hard to incorporate. Using your spoon or rubber/silicon spatula, start at the centre of the bowl and scrape down and across the bowl towards you, continue up the side and scoop the mixture over the top! Rotate your bowl slightly (a quarter of a turn) and repeat – that’s folding! Repeat with the rest of the mixture until just combined. Once you have a homogenous mixture, you’ve got to resist the temptation to keep mixing and undo your hard work. Doing the down-across-up-and-over motion slowly is key to gently combining the mixtures to create a fluffy and light mixture. Today we’re doing a mousse to show you the technique, remember: down-across-up-and-over!
Why do we do it
Air, air, air and more air. Essentially, we do it to incorporate as much air as we can into the dish. When baking, the air bubbles you’d have trapped in your batter expands with heat, acting as a physical leavener. When you do the down-across-up-and-over motion, you’re trapping air bubbles inside the mixture, which provides the lift and lightness.
How to fix a mistake/Tips:
You could always make more of the light mixture and adjust the rest of the ingredients to try restore some of the lost air but it is difficult to fix once deflated so the best advise we can give is on how to prevent deflating your mixture:
Don’t rush it. You will likely have to practise some patience with this as the mixtures will take some time to come together. Resist the urge to mix more vigorously so you don’t lose the air you are trying to incorporate. Just keep folding and it will come together
Use a large bowl so you have enough space to fold without worrying about the mixture overflowing
You can use either a large spoon or a rubber/silicon spatula but a flexible silicon spatula is best because it’s flexibility allows you to scrape every last bit of the mixture from the bottom of the bowl more effectively
Always add your lighter mixture to the heavier one and not the other way around. If you add the heavier mixture to the lighter one, you’ve already started losing the air you worked hard to incorporate.
Add the light mixture to the heavier one in thirds. The first third will loosen the batter and make folding in the rest easier
Remember to rotate the bowl rather than the spatula as this will help prevent you from inadvertently mixing and compressing the batter .
Got all that? Now you’re in the fold