Sunday, February 8, 2015

How to boil an egg

After quite some time I am reporting back... with a quite simple topic [so it seems]. Hot to boil an egg.
But how have I heard it so often in cooking shows [like MasterChef and TopChef] - the most simple things, demand perfection... please throw the first stone, who does think, that he/she can boil the perfect egg!

No? I am totally unscathed - that means most people out there do have some issues to boil the perfect egg.

So what are the options:

  • Traditional boiled egg
    • It is very difficult to pull off the right consistency
    • It is almost impossible, to peel the egg perfectly, without totally blemish its service
    • Especially if you are intend to cook a hard boiled egg, the egg white will be rubbery and smells like sulphur.

  • Sous Vide egg
    • One of my favorites
    • It takes pretty long - around 45 minutes
    • The egg yolk it perfect [depending how you like it].
    • The egg white, is fluid, and usually you are inclined, to eat yolk only.
    • It is not possible, to peel an traditional egg from the result [white is simply not stiff enough]
    • Sous vide isn't the most accessible equipment out there [however it becomes better and better

  • Pressure cooker
    • Very fast method 
    • It needs a steaming basket
    • Eggs are looking boiled traditionally.
    • The egg peel can be perfectly removed

  • Rice cooker
    • Needs also a steam insert.
    • Same as pressure cooker just slightly faster

I have seen last two versions and it made click! Duh - not the pressure made the egg peel better [like theorized on many websites] - it is the steam! Look water can boil only at 100ÂșC. However steam can be far hotter. That means the membrane in the egg expends due to the higher temperature.
But the egg white doesn't get overheated [and rubbery] due to the fact, that it doesn't boil usually long enough - and as the membrane builds an insulating air barrier [speaking of theories- this is mine.

That means, you don't even need a rice cooker or pressure cooker - you just can steam in a normal pot.

This having said I still would not boil a hardboiled or medium egg through steam. Because you don't end up with a perfect result, and the egg white might just be too hard. What do you think about a combination - short steam [e.g. pressure cooker] about 2 minutes [with another steamer you might need to steam the eggs longer], dropping the eggs into an ice bath.
Then throwing them into a water bath for another 30-40 minutes at the temperature, you prefer the egg.

The result is the perfect egg - the yolk [nectar of the gods] is perfect - and the egg white is nice, solid and shiny. Additionally it peels perfectly.

This type of egg, you could bread and fry [shortly - maybe you pass the sous vide step, due to the fact, that the frying oil will anyway warm up the egg enough]. Or you make a perfect [runny] Scotch egg. Or... sky's the limit!