â€¢ Use scrupulously clean metal or glass bowl and clean beaters. A tall, narrow bowl that maximizes the beating action Is preferable to a wide, shallow one.
â€¢ Bring eggs to room temperature in bowl of warm water if necessary; cold eggs do not beat up to as high a volume.
â€¢ Separate eggs carefully, not allowing the least speck of yolk into the whites. If this happens, use a piece of eggshell to lift out yolk cleanly. To be on the safe side (and in baking, this is the side you want to be on), separate yolks and whites into two separate bowls. Check each white, then transfer to bowl in which you intend to make meringue. This way, a bit of yolk in the last egg white won't ruin the rest, which, when making an angel food cake or dacquoise, can be close to a dozen.
â€¢ Beat at low speed until foamy; add cream of tartar, if required in the recipe, at this stage to stabilize egg whites.
â€¢ Increase speed to high and beat until whites mound and form soft peaks that droop when the beaters are lifted.
â€¢ At this soft peak stage, begin gradually adding sugar, about 2 tbsp (25 mL) at a time, until whites form glossy peaks that stand straight up when beaters are lifted. Sugar helps stabilize and stiffen whites.