Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Deflating Souffle
Name: Alexis
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: LA
Date: January 2008

Question:
Why does a souffle' deflate? If sound vibrations or external forces occur, will a souffle' deflate?



Replies:
The biggest reason is because it is cooling after you take it out of the oven. The hot gases inside it blow it up like a balloon. When you make a soufflé, you whip tiny air bubbles into it. Then, when it bakes, those air bubbles expand as they heat up. The egg proteins heat up too, and set when the get hot enough. The hot air, combined with the egg proteins, make the soufflé stay inflated -- for a while anyway. However, once the soufflé starts to cool, and therefore so does the air in the bubbles, the air will return to its original volume. Since the egg proteins are not strong enough to keep the soufflé standing without the hot air, the soufflé collapses. If you agitate the soufflé, you can break up the delicate protein matrix that supports the soufflé. This also can cause the soufflé to collapse. Agitation will make the collapse occur faster because even if it does not completely destroy the soufflé, agitation will still break some of the matrix, thus causing it to collapse sooner.

Hope this helps,

Burr Zimmerman


Alexis,

A souffle' is essentially a bunch of bubbles in egg white. If the bubbles burst or the gases within escape then the souffle' will flatten. Many things can cause the trapped gas to escape. Improper whisking so that the egg whites are not stiff, improper folding so that the bubbles are burst, improper cooking so that the egg whites have not cooked thoroughly before it is moved, etc.

Greg (Roberto Gregorius)



Click here to return to the General Topics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory