Cheese Soufflé





  • Pull out your eggs. Egg whites whip best at room temperature.
  • Preheat your oven to 400°F Set the oven rack low, so your soufflé will have plenty of room to grow (it can get up to 4-5 inches above dish rim!).
  • Prepare your soufflé dish: butter the bottom and sides, then press grated cheese against the sides and sprinkle it over the bottom. This should take ~1-2 ounces of cheese. The cheese should be fairly evenly distributed, with lots of places where you can still see the dish. If it looks like a 70's shag carpet, you've probably gone too far. :).
  • Make a roux: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over med-low heat. When it's melted and bubbly, add the flour and whisk it in to make a paste. Cook the paste for about 2-3 minutes, until it starts to smell nutty and delicious.
  • Add the milk to the roux. Some people heat their milk before this step.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • Add mustard, cayenne, and salt/pepper to taste. Congratulations, you've made a béchamel sauce!
  • While the béchamel is still warm, stir in the cheese. The sauce will be very thick. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  • Separate the eggs. Stir the yolks into the cheesy béchamel, one at a time. This is the soufflé base.
  • Whip the egg whites with a small pinch of salt to firm peaks (but not dry).
  • If the saucepan is still hot, transfer the soufflé base to a bowl so you don't cook the eggs.
  • Whisk 1/3 of the whites into the soufflé base to loosen it up.
  • Gently fold another 1/3 of the whites into the lightened base with a spatula. Try to use as few strokes as possible to avoid popping the egg foam.
  • When there are only a few streaks of whites left, gently fold in the last third of the whites. THIS DOES NOT NEED TO BE PERFECT. Streaks are OK, you just want to get most of the big patches of whites worked inches.
  • Gently scrape the mixture into your prepared soufflé dish and immediately put in oven.
  • Bake at 400 F for 28-35 minutes. The soufflé will rise high and the top will become a burnished chocolate brown.
  • While the soufflé bakes, make whatever else you're serving. You want to serve your soufflé right away, as it will start to fall only a few minutes after it has been removed from the oven.
  • Leftovers, if you have any, are quite good cold.