By Grace Mersch
October 8, 2020
Since being home for the majority of this year, I’ve found myself cooking at home more and more often. To help fight off boredom, I’ve tried to cook new recipes for as many interesting foods as I possibly could. I’ve made whipped coffee, experimented with different chili ingredients and had many failed attempts at three-ingredient pancakes (just to be clear, egg and banana does NOT make a pancake).
And in October, we’ve come to cloud bread — a viral TikTok recipe consisting of just three simple ingredients: egg whites, sugar and cornstarch.
While mindlessly scrolling through TikTok (or even Instagram, honestly), I would see clips of people tearing open this incredibly fluffy piece of bread to reveal a soft, pink interior. The color of the interior is actually white, but most of the videos I watched depicted bread dyed a baby pink or blue color.
I knew that I just had to try this recipe. Three ingredients?! And things I already have in my house most of the time?! Yes, please.
The recipe I used called for three large room temperature egg whites, 2.5 tablespoons of sugar and one tablespoon of cornstarch. Optionally, you can add a few drops of any food coloring, but I substituted this with some vanilla extract. The egg whites don’t technically have to be room temperature, but they tend to whip more efficiently if they are.
Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, you then whip the egg whites until they are frothy. Something to be noted: do not use a hand whisk. Your arm will likely fall off before the mixture is done being whipped. Once the egg whites are frothy, the sugar is added one tablespoon at a time, continuing to whip on medium speed. When the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is full of small bubbles, the cornstarch is sifted in and any food coloring or flavorings are added. With this last addition, the mixture is whipped for five or six more minutes until it is stiff enough to stand on its own. To test this, take the mixer out of the bowl; if the mixture lifts from the bowl without collapsing, it is ready. Whipped egg whites that are this consistency are known to be at “stiff peaks.”
Then, bake the bread on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a preheated 300℉ oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The surface of the bread should be light to medium brown, similar to a toasted marshmallow. The exterior may be slightly sticky but it should not be wet. If it is wet, put the bread back in the oven for a few more minutes.
What I had imagined this bread to resemble the closest was angel food cake. After it had cooled, I realized that is not at all what it was like.
The cloud bread was really soft and fluffy — don’t get me wrong — but I wouldn’t call it a “bread.” You can definitely taste the egg, even if there is vanilla or another flavoring added. But if that’s your thing, go for it. It’s very light and melts in your mouth, and in some ways does taste similar to a marshmallow with only a fraction of the sugar.
I did happen to mess up the bread, however, so my opinion may not be the most accurate. My bread was just very slightly underbaked, leaving the exterior kind of sticky and the interior slightly wet in some places. It was nothing that ruined the taste or texture, but it could have benefitted from maybe two more minutes in the oven.
In the end, I did enjoy the bread, but it was not at all what I expected. If I were to give advice to someone wishing to try this recipe, I would say to divide the mixture into smaller pieces as opposed to one large piece of bread (unless you really like it enough to eat the whole thing at once). Also, experiment with adding flavorings — the flavor of the bread itself is pretty bland, and there is a whole world of flavorings to be tried. My recommendations would be a vanilla extract, almond extract or even peppermint extract for an extra twist for the holiday season approaching. Just make sure to avoid adding too much liquid, or else you might mess up the way in which the egg whites whip up.