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David Rosengarten on How To Boil An Egg...

Recently we've had a few threads on this subject. Here's David's method (from his newsletter):

Well, I've always been a casual boiler, just intuiting my way through one of the most proverbially simple tasks in all of cookery. But you know, believe it or not, you can screw it up! Recently, I came across a recipe that is obsessive about the details for hard-boiled eggs, even makes you feel a little foolish. But the pay-off is twofold: 1) the results are always perfect, with no undercooking ever; and 2) hard-boiled eggs cooked this way (and I tested this last week) have a different texture--not at all spongy, bouncy, hard, but softer, more velvety. Eggs boiled this way make egg salad even sexier.

Simply place 8 eggs (I used jumbo) directly from the refrigerator in a two-quart saucepan, and cover them by 1 inch with cold water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, partially covered. Reduce heat to low, cover fully, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove saucepan from heat, cover saucepan, and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 15 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a bowl of iced water, and let eggs stand for 5 minutes. Peel immediately.

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  1. Does it matter if you use eggs that you JUST bought or should you use ones that have been in the refrig for a week or so. I always have problems using just bought eggs in the peeling process.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Shunick

      I think it is generally thought to be better to use older eggs. One trick I learned on this board suggests, if you have fresher eggs, leaving the carton of eggs out on the counter overnight, upside down.

      1. re: MMRuth

        I totally agree with you, MMRuth. I've been cooking since the Ark landed and I definitely have seen the difference time and again between fresh eggs and those that are a little older. I always buy my eggs a week before Easter. My method of boiling is similar to David's, but I bring to a hard boil, uncovered, for three minutes, off heat and covered for 15, into an ice bath for 5 and then peeled. Works every time!

        1. re: MMRuth

          I am going to try the overnight trick this weekend! I forgot to buy enough eggs last week for deviled eggs for Easter, and was worried about how they would work, so this is perfect timing, thanks!

          1. re: MMRuth

            I used this trick today, and it worked perfectly! After an overnight on the counter (sort of sideways and upside down) I boiled them as above, and brand new eggs peeled up perfectly for deviled eggs. The peeling has been a trouble for the past two years at Easter, thanks for posting this trick.

          2. re: Shunick

            I have found no difference in the peeling process in new versus old eggs. Call me the contrarian but I normally have 10 easies and 2 difficults in a dozen plus/minus 1.

          3. I have seen the threads on boiling an egg as well. I never realized folks struggled with this task.

            1. Doesn't address issues like the size of the pan, the size of the eggs, ratio of eggs to water, the burner BTUs, GAS vs Electric burners.

              An electric burner will bring the water to a boil generally much faster than a typical gas burner giving very different results.

              A larger pan or heavier pan holds more heat.

              More water vs Eggs means the temperature will decline at a slower rate.

              Larger Eggs means it will take longer for them to come up to temperature in the center.

              We need a article done by Heston Blumenthal or Jeffry Steingarten that eliminates these issues.

              Something that:

              Weighs a bunch of eggs in grams, giving different recipes for different size eggs.

              Considers egg age.

              Gives the ratio of eggs to water (# of ml of water per egg), using enough water per egg so that it doesn't take a long time to come up to boil again.

              Works with already boiling water to eliminate the rise to temperature issue with different heat sources.

              Specifies the exact size pot to use, and any adjustments for heavy (cast iron) vs light (cheap stainless or aluminum).

              1. The method I use these days is almost exactly like David's. I got it from the new(ish) NY Times Cookbook, the yellow one. So much less detailed and fussy than St. Julia's method, and if the eggs are sufficiently old (as is usually the case) it works perfectly. My usual pan is either enamelled iron or a cast alloy, Magnalite or similar, depending on how many eggs I'm doing. I do NOT start with eggs right out of the fridge because I don't keep them there except in hot weather. They're almost always Extra Large, because Trader Joe has those for 99ยข/dozen. Bring to rolling boil partially covered, cover and reduce heat (so it won't boil over) for thirty seconds, take off heat and let'em sit, covered, for fifteen minutes, plunge into ice water. Like a charm, every time. Even when they're too fresh, I can usually manage not to tear the white up too much.

                1. I don't get too fussy (I don't think). I usually do about 6 at a time, though occassionally I do just one for a treat. I cover with cold water, bring to a boil, let boil for 1 minute, cover, let stand in water for 6 to 7 minutes, then just replace hot water with cold. I usually am shelling one within a minute of replacing the water. I guess that's much less time than most of you. I typically have what I consider a wonderfully creamy yolk.