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poached eggs

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Anybody have instructions on how to make good poached eggs? I've tried a few times lately, but they never come out right. I've put the vinegar in, boiled the water, then take down to simmer, slide the eggs in on a tea saucer, but no luck.

It is basically a childhood comfort food for me. I like a runny yolk that soaks into the toast. I cut away the egg whites.

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  1. I love poached eggs and, like you, have tried many times; swirl the water just before sliding the egg in gently (the centrifugal force is supposed to keep the egg white from spreading) and of course add a bit of vinegar to your simmering water. It never seemed to really work well though; the yolk would come out nice, but the whites, well, didn't make it...

    Recently (and most successfully) I used my 6 oz. pyrex ramekins as "molds" in the simmering water, basically achieving a water bath. I found that this kept the white intact and seemed to prevent the yolk from becoming cooked too quickly.

    btw, you can buy pyrex ramekins in most major grocery stores in the baking aisle.

    Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: echo eater

      Those little Corningware guys is what I use - I can get six of them on the floor of my biggest saucepan, then just put water in to about halfway up their sides. It's not really POACHED eggs that result, but they're pretty darn good, especially if you have'em swimming in a good bit of butter in each ramekin...bring on the hollandaise!

    2. I've never been able to poach eggs nicely at home without an egg poacher -- the little 3 cup insert that comes with most pot and pan sets. When using the poacher, bring water to a low boil, put a tad of butter in each cup, break in eggs and cover -- 2 to 1/2 minutes leave me with whites that are just cooked through and a runny yolk.

      It's my understanding that for "free form" poaching, you need very fresh eggs, almost an impossible requirement if you are getting your eggs anywhere but a farm. As time goes by, the white part of the egg gets "looser" and doesn't hold together well for poaching purposes.

      1. The key to getting a white that hugs the yolk and does not become "whispy" to to use only the freshest of eggs. Your technique is the same as mine but with stale eggs they're always a failure but never with very, very fresh ones.

        2 Replies
        1. re: TomSwift
          JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

          Quite correct. As eggs age, they do get better for use as hard-boiled eggs, so all is certainly not lost.

          What I do is bring a skillet almost full of water with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and about a teaspoon of salt to a boil, then crack the eggs into teacups (or something else with a handle) and slide them into the water all at the same time. I then cover, take completely off the heat, and take them out of the water after 4 minutes. If you like your eggs looser, go for 3 1/2 minutes, for firmer yolks do 4 1/2 minutes.

          Link: http://thecosmicjester.blogspot.com

          1. re: JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

            That's interesting abourt the salt. I'll try it this weekend. Also will try the taking the pan off the heat. I prefer my poached eggs VERY easy, so this might be a great way to do them. Thanks.

        2. I use the lids of canning jars (just the ring part). Works find for me.

          What we really need here is one of those great egg poaching machines they have at Caffe 817. Always perfect, never watery as they are at Bette's Diner...I mean sitting in a small pool of water. You'd think they could mop it up with paper towels before serving, but I've rarely had their Scrapple breakfast without the eggs sitting in water.

          1. Try cracking the egg in a soup ladle and put the ladle with egg in the water. after a few seconds you should be able to drop the egg out of the ladle but it should keep its shape. Then cook until it is done to your liking.

            1. This is what I do and they come out perfect everytime. Take a saucepan, fill about 2/3 w/water, a large pinch of kosher salt (maybe a tbsp or so), glug of white vinegar (about 4 tbsp or so), cover and bring to a boil. In the meantime, take 4 very fresh eggs, break each one into a measuring cup (i use my set of 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup cups -- ideally they'd all be the same size so the handle would be the same length but it works out ok). when the water comes to a boil, take two measuring cups in each hand, slip all the eggs into the water at the same time (I keep the lip of the cup in the water so they don't drop and break). turn off heat, cover, wait 2 minutes and 30 - 40 seconds. remove cover, remove each egg w/slotted spoon onto paper towel-lined plate to drain for a few seconds. Voila. I hope this helps! I love to eat with toasted challah or brioche, the egginess of the bread makes the poached eggs doubly delicious.

              1. I cheat. Before I poach the egg I place it in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Then I just crack the egg into simmering water with a little salt, cover and cook about 2 1/2 minutes more. They always hold together this way.

                1. Like the other posters said, you got to use really fresh eggs, so the whites sill have integrity.

                  Another method that I have seen on tv, though never tried myself, is to have a deep pot with lots of water. The idea is that when you put the egg in, the gravity will pull the egg down taking the whites with it and set as it goes down. Thus, make less spread.

                  1. Frresher the eggs the easier the poaching. I have access to very fresh eggs from my mother's chickens. Here are some tips from us:

                    Bring the salted water to a simmer. Add the vinegar--it does help coagulate, but it will slightly affect the taste. Bring the water DOWN to just below simmer. You don't want the water to be agitated at all for maximum cohesion of the whites. Break the egg into a custard cup. Tilt the cup very close to the edge of the water and let the egg slide on in. LEAVE IT ALONE for a few seconds as the white starts to coagulate. You can give the water around the egg a very gentle stir to make sure the egg doesn't stick to the pan and to help it roll on itself. Add the other eggs ( i usually only do two or three at a time) and let em sit in the warm bath until cooked how you like them. Use a slotted spoon to pull them up and drain on apaper towel. There will always be an irregularity to the shape when you poach free form. In restaurants, they often trim the flaps to get a nicer presentation. Since I love poached whites, I never trim.

                    Restaurants frequently poach ahead of time and chill the eggs. For service, you pop em back in hot water until heated through.