What is the difference between soft peaks and stiff peaks?

Posted by cream-chargers.uk on

It’s a phrase everybody hears when they try to make whipped cream - you’ve got to have stiff peaks. That’s a common point that people get to and stop whipping.

If you’re unfamiliar with the process, it might be confusing what can be considered soft peaks vs what can be considered stiff peaks.

whipped cream dripping from a whisk

What Are Whipped Cream Peaks?

One thing you will always hear when people are telling you how to make whipped cream is to watch for the peaks. Almost like they are on repeat.

What they are really telling you is to pay attention to the texture of the cream while it’s being beaten. This is how you can begin to tell when it’s going from its liquid state to its fluffy state.

This process is happening because the cream is being combined with air particles during whipping. The more air that gets trapped in the cream, the more it can hold form. 

It’s not an instantaneous thing and going for too long can make the cream start turning into butter, so staying vigilant is important to get the perfect texture.

What To Look For

The reason to pay attention to the exact texture of the peaks is that is how you are able to tell how much hold the substance has at that point.

There are a few things to look at while trying to notice what the peaks are doing. The first is how much is the cream rolling over itself. At the start of whipping while the cream is a liquid, you won’t be able to notice any rolls.

However, once some air starts getting trapped, then you’ll be able to see some lines on the side of the bowl. That’s the first sign that the cream is attaining the desired fluff.

One test that can also be helpful is to pull out the whisk and notice what the cream does after leaving contact with the whisk.

difference between soft peaks and hard peaks

Difference between Soft and Stiff peaks

Here is where you can tell the cream is really at. ​

Once removing the whisk, look at the triangular shape left by the cream. If it is holding its form and stays raised up then you’ve got Stiff peaks. If you pull it out and it goes right back down, then you’ve got soft peaks. If there isn’t and shape being held, then keep whipping because you’re not there yet.

First, there will be soft peaks, then with more beating, the Stiff peaks will come.

Don’t get put off if the stiff peaks aren’t forming right away. It can take a few minutes of beating the cream to finally get there.

Once Stiff peaks are finally attained, you should be able to flip the bowl upside down without any whipped cream falling out - just like a blizzard from Dairy Queen.

This type of hold as a texture makes the whipped cream extremely versatile in what it can be used for.

whip cream dispenser, dispensing whipped cream

Perfect texture without having to worry

One alternative to having to go through the whole process by hand is to use a whipped cream charger and cream whipper dispenser.

These devices take out the physical beating that is used in the traditional manner. They work by combining the chargers (which contain nitrous oxide) with the cream under pressure. It mixes the gas and liquid together and dispenses as perfect whipped cream.

The cream chargers are tested so you can be confident you will have a consistent result every time.

Plus, using a dispenser means you can have it ready anytime you want, rather than having to plan ahead for it. It’s a convenient alternative to making whipped cream in the traditional manner.


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