Tips: Eggs

by on April 15, 2016
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Hard Boiled Eggs

There are many ways to hard boil an egg. Here are several methods. Try them all, and pick your favorite

  • Grandpa’s Way of Doing It

    • It doesn’t matter if you start with cold or room temperature eggs.  Put eggs into a large pot, and cover (by two inches) with water.  Bring the water up to a quick boil, then cover and leave for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, dump the hot water and cover the eggs with ice and then run cold water into the pot.  Let set for at least 5-10 minutes
    • Start with eggs that are at least a week old, preferably about 10 days. This gives time for the albumin, the white, to separate from the shell membrane.
    • Least amount of sticking will happen if you peel under slow running water tap.
    • In my family, we put a pencil or grease-marker circle around the eggs to show that they have been hard-boiled.
    • Test an unmarked egg to see if it is hard boiled or raw, by SPINNING the egg on its point. A raw egg will not spin, while a hard-boiled egg will spin like a top.
    • When you hard-boiled eggs, and air sac is usually on the fat and. Start peeling here.
    • Eggs should always be stored pointy end down.
    • Refrigerate cooked eggs for up to two weeks.
  • Third Party Hints

    • It will take longer to heat up a cold than a warm egg to the desired temperature. Start with an egg that has been brought to room temperature (set out on counter 1 hour)
    • Alton Brown notes that carefully cooking an egg at 67 degrees Celsius (153°F) yields a yolk that bends to the scientist’s will. 10 minutes in boiling water—is not ideal. 212 degrees Fahrenheit is far higher than the temperature at which the egg whites and the yolks coagulate. – (My personal preference is about 185 degrees)
    • AB says that because the yolk contains fat, it floats above the aqueous white, both in the shell and in a beaker. To achieve a centered yolk, one must rotate the egg while cooking it.
    • As eggs cook, their balled-up proteins uncoil into strands, and the strands bind together to form an intricate mesh that traps water. In essence, the proteins form a gel, a liquid dispersed in a solid. Boiling causes too many egg proteins to bind and form dense meshes, “so there is less sensation of water in the mouth,” says Alton Brown (Good Eats). Voilà: rubbery egg whites and sandy, grayish yolks.
    • IF YOU ARE GOING TO USE THEM RIGHT AWAY, at the tail end of the cooking process, shake them against the side of the pan to lightly crack the shell to let water in. This will make them easier to peel.  DO NOT do this if you are planning on storing the eggs for later use.

Cooking with Eggs

  • Large eggs are the standard for cookbooks. If you use a medium or extra large egg, adjust the recipe accordingly.

Storing Eggs

  • Eggs, fresh from the chicken, do not have to be refrigerated if used within a week or so.  Look for tell-tale signs such as a bit of chicken poop or feathers.  This is actually good news.  Just be sure to wash it before cracking it.
  • United States markets wash the eggs, which remove the protective coating. Refrigerate these eggs – or at least don’t set out for more than a few days.  Warm them to room temperature an hour before cooking.

Using Egg Whites

  • When egg whites are beaten, the whites stretch and trap air bubbles.  The smaller and more even the size of the bubbles; the more stable the foam.
  • Large bubbles break more quickly, and the foam collapses faster.
  • A large whisk with many fine wires will create smaller bubbles and a better foam.
  • Whites foam better when beaten at a cool temperature: About 65-75º
  • Whites will generally increase about 8-10 times in volume
  • If whites are underbeaten, they haven’t stabilized enough to hold bubbles.  Overbeaten, and the bubbles are stretched too far and will pop easily.  When overbeaten, you will see cottony bits of solidified (coagulated) egg whites.
  • Plain whipped whites make a fragile and short-lived foam.  Even their own weight will cause the bubbles to burst.
  • Bubbles that burst become liquid again, and will not whip up again.
  • Cream of Tartar or a little white vinegar will stabilize the foam.  Use about 1/8 tsp cream of tartar for 1 large egg white.
  • Sugar also strengthens the egg white protein, but you should still use cream of tartar.
  • Once a foam is established, 1 TBL every 30-45 seconds will dissolve uniformly.
  • If sugar is added too quickly, it won’t dissolve and your whites will be grainy.
  • If sugar is added BEFORE the foam is established, the whites can’t incorporate enough air to make a stiff foam.
  • Even a slight bit of egg yolk will keep your egg whites from foaming.  Even oil on the side of your bowl or your whisk will prevent the whites from foaming.
  • Use a large bowl.  Whisking in a small bowl will allow the bubbles to escape as quickly as they form.
  • A copper bowl is best.  In a metal bowl, the simple action of beaters or whisks will increase the temperature enlarging the bubbles.  Copper will transfer the heat rapidly from the whites, keeping them cooler.  Copper ions will also help bubbles to form.

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