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Old 04-14-2008, 02:53 AM   #1
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Requesting testers for a new hard-boiled egg technique

One of my continuing projects is the search for a perfect hard-boiled egg. By perfect, I mean fully-cooked yolks, firm (but not rubbery) whites, easy-to-remove shells and a minimum of green ring around the yolks. Some time ago, I worked out an ideosyncratic method (which I'll describe presently) that satisfies all these criteria to my satisfaction, except easy-to-remove shells. Sometimes it works fine, other times not so well. I'm aware that older eggs generally are easier to peel, but want a method that works with fresh eggs.

Recently, I was thumbing through Shirley Corriher's Cookwise and noticed her explantion that the reason older eggs peel more easily is that they're slightly alkaline, because they have less carbon dioxide. She mentions this by way of debunking the notion, which I've seen suggested from time-to-time (by analogy to poached eggs) that one should add vinegar to the cooking liquid. I wondered whether we can force the process, in effect aging the eggs, by taking the opposite approach and adding baking soda to the cooking liquid. I've tried it now half-a-dozen times and think it works. But I'm mindful this might just be good luck and/or the power of positive thinking.

So, what I'd appreciate would be for any of you to whom the question appeals to try the technique. If you have some other solution to the problem, I'm happy to hear about that too. But what I'm really looking for is feedback on this one. Not in the abstract, but based on actually trying it. Importanly, I'm not asking that you follow me on every point. If you prefer to incorporate the soda into your usual recipe, that's fine. Whether soda helps with peeling is the question. Just tell us what you did, so we can compare notes. If anyone is interested, I'm happy to explain the rationale for the rest of my recipe. But, as mentioned, for present purposes, the focus is on whether soda helps with peeling.

Anyhoo, here's my current recipe. Layer a dozen eggs in a 4 qt pot, preferably over a shallow rack. Stir 1 tbsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda into 1 qt water until dissolved; pour over eggs; pour in another 1 qt water (i.e, 2 qt total); let stand one hour. Bring quickly to a gentle boil; continue 7 minutes; take off heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Run tap water in pan to cool eggs quickly. Working one at a time, crack all over with a spoon and use to remove membrane just under the shell. Use immediately or chill until needed.

Any takers?

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Old 04-14-2008, 05:53 AM   #2
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I'm tempted, but I don't run into any of the problems you mentioned with my hard boiled eggs.
I use Better Homes New Cookbook's recipe; Barely cover eggs with cold water, bring up to boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, cool down under cold water. The only thing I add to the water is salt. I rarely run into an egg that's hard to peel. And believe me, since my eggs are fresh, I was expecting to. And they are always done perfectly.
I'll keep this in mind if I ever do run into a problem.
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Old 04-14-2008, 06:57 AM   #3
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The eggs I buy are generally wonderfully fresh-- and so are often difficult to peel. I'm definitely willing to give this a try and get back to you. However, in my household of two, I never need a dozen boiled eggs. I'll try this with 4 or so eggs and post here again during the week. If it works, you'll be my hero!
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:22 AM   #4
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Sorry. If there is one food that revolts me it is the boiled egg. Love eggs done any other fashion. But boiled, blechhhh, ich puke a thousand times blechhhh.

Why? I have no idea. Maybe because as a kid I had to eat them.

No that cannot be the answer because I detested them even then.

But I will make them for others. And take pride in the way I do it. But don't ask me to try the horrible stuff.

My first cooking rule is never serve anything to anyone before trying it yourself.

With boiled eggs I violate that rule with regularity. And shall continue to do so.

Sorry for the rant, but boiled eggs are one thing I just can't abide.
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:48 AM   #5
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How do you really feel about hard boiled eggs, auntdot?


Me on the other hand, I could easily eat every egg right after it has cooled.
As a matter of fact, I need to make up a shaker with both salt and pepper in it, thereby eliminating one time consuming step before this wonderful delicacy enters my mouth
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:42 AM   #6
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I use what I think is Julia Child's method.
Cover with cold water, bring to a rolling boil,cover and remove from heat. Let stand 15 mins.,then shock in ice water. I get perfectly hard cooked eggs with this method and no bluish rings around the yolk.
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyndalou View Post
I use what I think is Julia Child's method.
Cover with cold water, bring to a rolling boil,cover and remove from heat. Let stand 15 mins.,then shock in ice water. I get perfectly hard cooked eggs with this method and no bluish rings around the yolk.
That is how I make mine and they come out perfect everytime.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:24 PM   #8
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pacanis: The method you describe is basically the one I grew up with. Sure, the eggs are easy to peel. They also generally have green rings. We always just took it as given that that's how hard-boiled eggs are. It was eliminating the ring which started me tinkering.

lyndalou & JoAnn: Agreed, that method generally eliminates green ring. It also, in my experience, often produces eggs that are hard to peel. From discussions with others, I have confirmed that I'm not the only one with this problem.

auntdot: Actually, I can totally understand that. Hard-cooked egg whites, in particular, have a pretty funky texture and almost no flavor. It is with a generous spirit that I shall help myself to your share of the deviled eggs. Unless pacanis gets there first.

karenlyn: No rush. When you get a chance. Thanks.
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Old 04-14-2008, 02:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lyndalou View Post
I use what I think is Julia Child's method.
Cover with cold water, bring to a rolling boil,cover and remove from heat. Let stand 15 mins.,then shock in ice water. I get perfectly hard cooked eggs with this method and no bluish rings around the yolk.
this is the method i use also. always works for me.

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Old 04-14-2008, 02:46 PM   #10
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I see no point in trying to reinvent the wheel here, but I typically just do the simple, cover, bring to boil, rest, cool...no issues...as others have said.
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