Recipes often call for beating whipping cream or egg whites until soft or stiff peaks form. To ensure the cream or egg whites reach full volume, make sure the bowl and beaters are free from oil and the egg whites contain no specks of yolk. Whipping cream should be cold and egg whites should be room temperature before beating them. Begin by beating with an electric mixer on medium speed until the peaks curl down when the beaters are lifted up. This is the soft peak stage. For stiff peaks, continue beating on high speed until the volume increases and the mixture thickens even more. Lift up the beaters—the peaks should stand straight up, and if you tilt the bowl, the mixture should not slide around.