Cheese Soufflé (inratable/foolproof)

So much mystery surrounds the infamous Soufflé. So many people are scared of them and yet, there is nothing simpler than making one of the most celebrated french cuisine delicacy. Who hasn’t heard of horror stories, like not to walk around the oven when you bake one, or need to whip the egg whites in one direction and only use medium size eggs… to do not dare opening the oven or it may collapse on the spot… I have heard them all. There are some basic rules one needs to follow, but in general it is a rather easy recipe, especially this one. The beauty of this dish is that you can use any leftover cheese you have in the fridge, as long as it is quite flavourful, otherwise the proportion of the Bechamel sauce dilutes the overall taste.
I use Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese or a very strong Cheddar cheese which packs a lot of flavour.

2 Tablespoons butter – 40 Gr.
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour – 18 Gr.
2 Cups of Milk – 480 Gr.
A dash of Cayenne pepper and black pepper
75 Gr. grated cheese of your choice
5 Large Eggs at room temperature
2 Tablespoons chopped Chives (optional)

For the baking dish
1 Tablespoon butter (20 Gr.) and 50 Gr – 1/4 Cup of grated Parmesan Cheese or breadcrumbs.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and when the bubbles disappear, stir in the flour. Using a whisk, mix the floured butter (roux) vigorously, making sure nothing sticks in the corners of your saucepan.
Stir in the milk and again using the whisk, bring the sauce to a boil, while stirring constantly. Cook the sauce for a 2-3 minutes, until the flour is cooked and the sauce becomes quite thick. It should easily cover the back of a spoon. Stir in the cheese, cayenne and black pepper and keep stirring until the cheese has melted. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven at 200 Celsius with a fan on.
Butter a baking dish/ gratin dish and cover with parmesan.

In a large bowl, crack 5 eggs and mix with a whisk for about two minutes, ensuring the eggs whites are well incorporated with the egg yolks.
Pour the eggs in the Bechamel sauce and mix until fully incorporated.

Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Make sure your eggs are at room temperature, this will help your souffle to rise.
Before adding any salt in your Bechamel sauce, make sure the cheese you are using is not too salty. My experience has shown me that we often need to add any salt, especially if you are using sharp Cheddar cheese.
You can prepare your souffle in advance – Simply cover it and leave it at room temperature if you are baking it the same day.
You can prepare the mixture for the following day. In this case, leave it in the fridge and bring it back to room temperature before baking.
I use Large eggs with great results.

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