Jul 2 # 1 of 1
The trick to beating egg whites successfully is knowing how much to beat them. Most recipes refer to two critical stages: soft peaks and stiff peaks.
When beating egg whites to the soft-peak stage, beat on medium speed of electric mixer till the foam turns white and the tips of the peaks bend in soft curls when beaters are removed. Gradually add any sugar to the egg whites after soft peaks form.
With addition beating, the foam continues to thicken, becomes even whiter, and forms glossy peaks that stand straight when beaters are removed. This is the stiff-peak stage. The egg whites at the stiff-peak stage contain all of the air they are capable of holding. At this point, do not overbeat. Further beating will produce dry, brittle peaks and reduced volume.