Skip to main content

Serves 2–3 as a main course or 4–6 as a starter

If there’s one thing that’s take the edge off the winter, it’s a massive hit of hot cheese. Just ask the Swiss, who’ve known for centuries that the perfect antidote to the chill of the Alps is a bubbling fondue or a steaming raclette.  We, however, are a long way from the Alps, and where the Swiss turn to liquid gruyere or emmenthal when the mercury drops, we embrace cheddar – and the fluffy wonder that is the soufflé.

This fragile, airy dish has a (somewhat unfair) reputation for being beyond the reach of home cooks – a culinary challenge should only be attempted by the bravest of pros. But we, and the chef-tutors of Dudwell cookery school in Somerset, beg to differ. They’ve come up with what they’re calling an ‘almost foolproof’ cheese soufflé recipe that even the most nervous cook can master.

It works as both starter and main, (but maybe not in the same meal) and can even be made ahead and frozen. Perfect to pull out at a dinner party when you want to show off for your guests – or to whip out on Valentine’s Day and wow your other half – just don’t let slip how easy it was.


  • Melted butter for greasing

  • Dried white breadcrumbs

  • 35g butter

  • 30g plain flour

  • ½ teaspoon dry English mustard

  • A pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 280ml milk

  • 100g strong Cheddar, finely grated

  • 4 medium eggs, separated

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/180ºC fan/400ºF, gas mark 6. Place a baking sheet on the top shelf in the oven (note make sure there is enough space for the soufflé to rise).

  2. Brush the soufflé dish or ramekins with melted butter and dust with the breadcrumbs.

  3. Melt the 35g butter in a saucepan, add the flour, cayenne pepper and mustard, mix well and cook over a gentle heat for 45 seconds.

  4. Remove from the heat and gradually add about half of the milk, stirring continually. When the mixture is smooth return to the heat and slowly bring up to the boil, stirring all the time and adding the remaining milk. Boil for one minute. The mixture will become thick and leave the sides of the pan.

  5. Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese. Pile into a mixing bowl and when slightly cooled add the egg yolks and season with salt and pepper. It should be very well seasoned – the flavour will be diluted by the egg whites.

  6. Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Beat a spoonful of the egg whites into the soufflé base (this is to loosen the mixture and make the folding in of the whites easier).

  7. Fold in the remaining whites and pile into the soufflé dish or ramekins. If using a soufflé dish, it should be just over three-quarters full; ramekins can be filled to the rim. Run your finger around the top of the mixture – this will give a ‘top hat’ appearance to the cooked soufflé. Tap the dish lightly on the work surface to remove any pockets of air. If you’re making ahead, you can freeze the soufflés at this point.

  8. Bake in the oven on the pre heated baking sheet for 25-30 minutes for a large soufflé (40–45 from frozen) or 8–10 minutes for individual soufflés (12–15 from frozen). Serve immediately. (Do not test to see if the soufflé is cooked until two-thirds of the way through the cooking time. Then give the dish a slight shove – if it wobbles alarmingly cook for a further 5 minutes.)