The Last Word on Hard-Cooked Eggs?

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Over the ages there have been many threads with many posts regarding many ways to hard-cook an egg.

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f22/how-do-you-boil-an-egg-26432.html

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f22/iso-hard-boiled-egg-basics-84378.html

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f22/differing-opinions-for-the-pefect-hard-boiled-egg-45814.html

http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f22/how-to-make-the-perfect-boiled-egg-53851.html

And on, and on... In the movie "Bull Durham", Annie Savoy states "I've tried 'em all, I really have..." when she says her monologue equating religion to baseball. That's how I've felt about hard-cooking eggs. I've tried them all. I think I have finally found the true way.

About a month ago, Serious Eats put up an old article about hard-cooked eggs. I never tried it that way before, so I gave it a go. Cue the Monkees, 'cuz I'm a Believer!

Perfect Boiled Eggs

It's so simple. Bring a pot of water to a boil (I've used a 2-quart for two eggs with great results). When the water comes to a full boil, immerse your eggs into the boiling water (I use my spider) and boil for 30 seconds with the cover OFF the pot. After 30 seconds, cover pot and immediately reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for required length of time depending on desired doneness. (I have a glass-top stove, so I turn the burner off, slide the pot half-off the hot spot, then turn the heat back to low when it looks like "barely simmer" state has been reached.) 11-12 minutes gives me perfectly done hard cooked eggs. As soon as time is up, remove the eggs from the simmering water (again with the spider, I am) and put into a bowl of iced water. Results? Firm white, cooked yolk, no green ring, and very easy to peel - usually without any dimple in the wide end of the egg.

You do not need salt/vinegar/baking soda. You do not need to put a tiny whole in the large end of the shell. You don't need to crack the egg shells as you dump the eggs in the ice water. Easy Peasy, perfect eggs.

The eggs in the salads I made for tonight's dinner were 8-minute eggs. Just the barest of "done" where they meet the white, the rest of the yolk was soft but not liquidy. Kinda like a paste, but in a nicer way. Himself likes good, runny-yolk sunnyside up ones, and likes a looser yolk just about anywhere. I've just moved away from the "give me a rock-hard yolk, darn it!" stage. This is as soft as I can go. The beauty of cooking them this way gives you the option of taking one out with the spider and cooling it earlier than the second one. Just NOW thought of that!
bang-your-head.gif


Like the man said in the long-ago Alka-Seltzer commercial, "Try it, you'll like it".



* I hope I didn't go over quota with Pop Culture references...:ermm:
 
I swore off getting into discussions on hard/soft boiled eggs several years back, for the obvious reasons.

there are many variables to boiling an egg - the plunk in boiling water for X minutes minimizes the variables - the most important remaining variable is the egg temperature at the start. we got a new fridge, I had to adjust my soft/med/hard timing because the new fridge keeps colder than the old fridge....

the 'short story' in the link omits the egg temperature issue; I think the longer story covers it. one will need to tweak the "this is the one and only amount of minutes" nutso approach to compensate for one's altitude and egg temperature.

the beauty of the method is: you can repeat it any day of the week forever with the same results. well, except the situation like when DW stopped at the store for a dozen eggs, brought them home, cooked them "immediately" for the time specified to make a deviled egg platter. the eggs were overdone & green ringed - the store dairy case is not as cold as our fridge . . .

oh, the "dimple" and size thereof is completely unrelated to how it is cooked. as an egg ages, CO2 exits from the white, this is what creates the air sac on the big end. older egg generally means bigger air sac.

I poke a pin hole in the big end prior to boiling. the pin hole doesn't let air in, or water in, or the baking soda in - none of that nonsense. the purpose is to relieve the internal pressure build up of the expanding air sac so if there is any weakness in the shell it does not crack open. a perfectly intact shell with no 'defects' can easily withstand the minor amount of pressure that builds up inside, but not every egg is "perfect"
 
I put the eggs in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, then take it off the burner and cover for 10 minutes. Empty the pot and refill with cold water, then put the eggs back in to cool.
 
I swore off getting into discussions on hard/soft boiled eggs several years back, for the obvious reasons.

Me too... yet here I am again posting. :rolleyes:

Here's how I do it:

  1. Cold water in a pot, add eggs from fridge and let them stand in the water for a few minutes.
  2. Turn pot on high and bring to a boil.
  3. Turn down temp and simmer for 5 mins.
  4. Run under cold water and peel immediately.

That said, the BEST way I've ever found to cook eggs is in a pressure steamer:

pressure steam.jpg

I used to cook dozens of eggs (at once) in this thing and the shells would just fall off under cold running water. The eggs would crack just slightly during cooking and the steam would get under the shell just loosening it. The eggs were perfect. Controlling the pressure was key however as too much would crack the eggs too far and deform the final cooked product. About 7~ psi as i recall.

I've always thought you might be able to duplicate this at home in a pressure cooker but never had the guts to try. Has anyone tried?
 
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>>Me too... yet here I am again posting.

sigh. I suppose after a while one just can't stand the nonsense anymore.....

>>I put the eggs in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, then take it off the burner and cover for 10 minutes. Empty the pot and refill with cold water, then put the eggs back in to cool.
>> Cold water in a pot, add eggs from fridge and let them stand in the water for a few minutes.
Turn pot on high and bring to a boil.
Turn down temp and simmer for 5 mins.
Run under cold water and peel immediately.

so.
how cold is the water in the pot?
how big is the burner i.e. how long does it take to come to a boil?
how much water is in the pot?
is the water deeper than wide?
yes, Virginia, it all makes a difference.

all this 'stuff' works within its limits.
if the method works with two eggs in a two quart pan, the method will almost certainly not work with two dozen eggs in a stock pot.

and don't even think about addressing: "how cooked is a soft boiled egg?"
 
Like I said dc, "I've tried them all". Really, I have. BUT, I tried this method about a month ago since it was new to me. Since then I have cooked at least two eggs each time, at least three or four times a week, for the last month. (I do NOT want to think of my cholesterol reading next blood draw :ohmy: ) Perfect. Every. Time. Well, except the time I forgot to leave the lid off for the first 30 seconds. You want to know what happens? The eggs crack. Big time. They're still easy to peel, though! :LOL:

Every other method gave me unevenly cooked yolks. The cold-egg-in-cold-water. The leave-it-on-the-counter-to-warm-to-room-temp. Not one resulted in perfect yolks. The real bonus is I get that with this method AND end up with the shells slipping off.

YMMV. I've had enough shell-with-egg tossed into the trash while looking at yolks with green halos. This one works for me.
 
your HDL/LDL will most likely be quite fine - it seems the OMG!@@!@! it's the egg thing has been debunked. as in most/all/?% of ingested cholesterol does not affect serum cholesterol - but heh, who am I to put the diet floggers out of their misery.....

green around the yolk has one single cause: overcooking.

the green is a chemical reaction between the iron and sulfur in the egg white/yolk.
you may recall from pre-school chemistry classes that heat accelerates most chemical reactions.... hard boil yerself the perfect egg; put it in the fridge; cut it open after 48 hours. OMG!@!@!@! it's got green! same chemical reaction; just takes longer at fridge temps.

<<cracking>> take two eggs with holes poked in their big ends prior to cooking and call me in the morning.... the lid had _nothing_ to do with it. ehhh, with the possible except that with lid the atmospheric pressure inside the pot would be very very very slightly higher than without the lid....

the cold-water-easy-peel effect is insanely simple to understand.
you cook the egg and remove it from <whatever>
water vapor / steam from the cooked white continues to be generated until the egg cools down.

it's not the ice, it's the temperature. if tap water is cold enough to induce the 'instant condensation' - tap water works. the temp of tap water works most places in Alaska, may not work so good everywhere in Florida.

steaming eggs - at normal pressure, eg in a bamboo steamer - is reported to result in easy peel. okay, but I've not heard of any cause to explain that.

steaming the eggs in an autoclave under pressure does offer the possibility that the eggs become internally pressurized, and on exit from the pressurized environment experience the same kind of "separate and lubricate" provided by the ice water plunge.

if _prior_ to the egg cooling it is plunked into cold water - I use ice water - real water with real ice cubes floating around in it.... - that water vapor "condenses" on the inside of the membrane and "lubricates" the parting of the white and the shell.
(it's shell / membrane / membrane / white / membrane / yolk at the detailed chicken level.....but who's counting . . .)
 
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Thanks CG. I'm going to give this a try. I've been using the method of putting eggs in cold water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, put the lid on, wait for ~20 minutes, then cool the eggs in cold water. It works fairly well. We have worked out that the ~20 minutes on our large burner with the large pot is 18 minutes.

From comments in this thread, it has occurred to me that my cold water is a lot colder in winter than it is in summer. That would explain why I get perfect results for several months and then I start having less than perfect for months.

Putting the eggs into boiling water will assure that the temperature is the same every time.
 
It can be difficult to determine just what is a " low simmer." The problem is, people have varying ideas of simmer.

They shouldn't ;) To simmer means to cook at just below a boil, when you see gentle bubbling. Boiling happens at 212°F, so a simmer is below that - around 190 to 205. It's not exact and a few degrees won't make enough difference to matter.
 
Ok, again I will weigh in. I agree with DCSaute but use a little different technique, which I will explain. My water comes from a well 90 foot below ground. The temperature is a constant 43 degrees year round, from the tap. I place enough cold tap water into a pot to cover the eggs, and it doesn't matter whether I'm cooking 1 egg, or two dozen in a large pot. I place the pot over my largest burner, uncovered, and cook over medium-high flame on my gas stove top. I bring the water up to the temperature where it just starts to boil, them turn the heat down until the water is kept at about 200 degrees. It's still hot, but does not jostle the eggs around. I start timing from when the water started boiling, 2 minutes, 40 seconds for perfect soft boiled eggs, that's with solid egg white, and soft yolks, or for seven minutes for hard-boiled eggs. There is never a cracked egg in the pot.

If I'm going to use the eggs immediately, I pour of the hot water, and bounce the eggs around in the pot to craze the shell, then immerse them in the running, cold tap water for about a minute. This cools them enough to handle, but still remain fairly warm inside. The shell comes away very easily, so long as you break that first membrane between the shell and the egg white. I get whole, perfect eggs nearly every time.

Water boils at around 212 degrees F. The egg white starts solidifying at around 180 degrees F. So I bring the water up to 212', but just barely, and then reduce the flame to keep them around 200', plenty hot enough to cook the eggs, but not hot enough to bounce them around in the pot, so there are no cracked shells.

Now I admit that I would have to use another stove for a while to get the burner settings right for the method I use. But by watching the water behaviour, it should be a simple thing to learn.

I do the same thing with poached eggs, and they come out perfect as well, except that I season the water with salt and pepper before gently putting the egg into the hot, but still water. I occasionally jiggle them with a spoon to see how done the egg whites are. When the egg white is firm, and the yolk still soft, I use a slotted spoon to remove the perfectly poached egg.

There you go, yet another technique for making perfect boiled, and poached eggs.

My way isn't the only way. Other methods are equally effective. What determines whether an egg is perfectly cooked is how much heat is applied, and for how long. You can even bake the darned things in the oven and get the same results. Heat does the work. Master the heat, and you've mastered the egg.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 
I put the eggs in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, then take it off the burner and cover for 10 minutes. Empty the pot and refill with cold water, then put the eggs back in to cool.

I do mine exactly the same way, and it's worked perfectly for years.

Carry on and let the debate go on, I'm done and happy. :mrgreen:
 
I put the eggs in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, then take it off the burner and cover for 10 minutes. Empty the pot and refill with cold water, then put the eggs back in to cool.


I do mine this way too, though I drag it out to 12 minutes...
 
:ROFLMAO: I even add a few ice cubes!

CG, glad you found your perfect method!
 
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Which of the methods mentioned works best if you don't let your eggs age before boiling, I wonder :ohmy:

If eggs are hard to peel and you're making the eggs for something like egg salad, there's no need to peel the eggs. Just cut them in half, scoop them out of the shell with a spoon and chop.
 
I put the eggs in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, then take it off the burner and cover for 10 minutes. Empty the pot and refill with cold water, then put the eggs back in to cool.
That was my old, trusty way, except the whites stuck to the shells frequently. Hence, trying yet another way.

I do mine this way too, though I drag it out to 12 minutes...
I'm a 12-minuter too. Or was. I'm learning to like a less-cooked yolk center.

If eggs are hard to peel and you're making the eggs for something like egg salad, there's no need to peel the eggs. Just cut them in half, scoop them out of the shell with a spoon and chop.
Good idea, but I rarely make "egg salad". I usually want them to look pretty when they are hard-cooked.

Which of the methods mentioned works best if you don't let your eggs age before boiling, I wonder :ohmy:
And yet another reason I love this new-to-me method. When/if we get to the Farmers' Market, I like buying a dozen or two fresh eggs from the farmer. Those eggs are only a day or two away from Mrs. Cluck, so they're pretty fresh. Guess what? THEY peel clean and smooth, too.
 
That was my old, trusty way, except the whites stuck to the shells frequently. Hence, trying yet another way.


I'm a 12-minuter too. Or was. I'm learning to like a less-cooked yolk center.


Good idea, but I rarely make "egg salad". I usually want them to look pretty when they are hard-cooked.


And yet another reason I love this new-to-me method. When/if we get to the Farmers' Market, I like buying a dozen or two fresh eggs from the farmer. Those eggs are only a day or two away from Mrs. Cluck, so they're pretty fresh. Guess what? THEY peel clean and smooth, too.

He he he...non aged boiled eggs that peel nicely? Which method was your method? :LOL: Nevermind, I'll scroll back and use your method. ;)
 
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