Folding is a critical skill where the Egg Foam Method is concerned. Sadly, it is also one of the most misunderstood techniques in all of cookingdom. For most people it simply means “stirring with a spatula”. In fact folding is a far more delicate thing than that, since very often the intent behind it is to mix without breaking bubbles. Usually the folding of egg whites necessitates dividing your foam up into thirds. The first third usually just gets stirred in the old fashioned way to lighten whatever-it-is you’re folding your foam into. Seems like a bit of a waste, I grant you, but a small amount of a dense mixture like a soufflé batter can easily get lost amid a large volume of foam, requiring a lot more folding and a lot more broken bubbles. The idea is to mess with your mixture as little as possible while still getting everything blended.
So. How to fold. Well, here I have a mixture of melted chocolate and egg yolks to which I’ve already added the first third of my egg white foam. To begin folding, bring your spatula down in a chopping motion like so, taking it straight down to the bottom of the bowl:
Then you want to scoop up a portion of the mixture from the bottom….
…and flip it over on the top like this:
Funny, it really does look like folding a piece of paper doesn’t it? Now give the bowl a quarter turn…
…and repeat, repeat, repeat. Chop, scoop, flip, turn. Chop, scoop, flip, turn…until all your ingredients are roughly incorporated. I say “roughly” because you don’t want to go too nuts with uniformity here. You want to see at least a couple of streaks still in the mixture, which indicates that a good portion of those foam bubbles have survived the folding process and are ready to lighten your soufflé. Like so:
There now. Not so bad was it? Now go forward and fold with confidence. Soufflés for all this weekend!