Why it Works: The Power of Egg Whites
Egg whites are almost 100% protein. When beaten, as in a meringue, these proteins unwind and hold onto air (think of them as coiled springs). The resulting foam can then be used to make soufflés, angel food cakes and cookies. The same happens in this recipe, even though the egg whites are not beaten. As the cream puffs bake, the egg white proteins unwind and hold onto air. The heat of the oven causes water within the dough to turn to steam, lifting the dough as it boils. Just like an egg in a skillet, when enough heat is added, the egg white proteins solidify and trap air. The result is a light and airy cream puff, ready to be filled!