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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.

                  1. this is the method my husband uses and he never has to worry about 'aging' his eggs. The yokes are indeed velvetty. And annoyingly, they always peel beautifully, even fresh..

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: orangewasabi

                      I am concerned about leaving the eggs on the counter over night. Any thoughts on that?

                      1. re: Shunick

                        no thoughts, other than so far, we've been lucky. Farm people seem to be much more fine with it than we city folks.

                        1. re: Shunick

                          Many places in the world do not refrigerate eggs at all. Like anything else, if you know the source of your eggs, and feel pretty confident that they have not been mishandled before you got them, it will be fine.

                      2. Some more data points:

                        Eggs dated May 11th so not aged. Four into cold water, bring to boil, off heat for 15, into bowl of cold water.

                        4 out of 4 peeled perfectly, texture fantastic. Great egg salad for a lousy rainy day on some good sour dough.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: jfood

                          ohmigosh, jfood, just to be clear, when *I* say aged, I mean, brought home from the store and used in a day or four. NOT use sometime after the expiration date. Not sure if that's what you thought I meant, and perhaps it IS what others meant, but please. No one eat eggs post-expiration date on my advice.

                          my husband makes eggs as you do - he lets em sit for 10 minutes. my personal feeling is men who make eggs don't need to age em in order to get them to peel well. women who make boiled eggs need to age em for that lovely one-strip peel. dunno why, but guess who makes the boiled eggs in our house?

                          1. re: orangewasabi


                            I would never think you would use eggs after expiration, sorry if implied. I bought these eggs last weekend, in my fridge for a week and still weeks away from the expiration. Honestly i do not understand how long people think eggs need to be stored in the fridge before these cross into "aged." I was just giving a point of reference for the age. Likewise I would NEVER leave eggs on the counter overnight just to make the peeling process easier. Way to risky in the jfood book of safety.

                            BTW - Just finished some egg salad on a wonderful sour dough. Have to stop mrs jfood from laughing at the egg salad on the end of my nose. :-))

                            1. re: orangewasabi

                              I eat eggs after the expiration date all the time. Weeks after, even. Eggs last for a long time.

                              1. re: JasmineG

                                I've lived for 46 years and never even knew eggs had an expiration date. What exactly happens to them, and who decides on the date?

                                1. re: Linda513

                                  The only thing that can happen is that they go rotten, but it's very very easy to tell when that happens (and I've never had it happen to me).

                            2. re: jfood

                              Another data point: Eggs a couple weeks out of the chicken (usually a bear to peel--hate to think how old supermarket eggs are!). Perfect results with the ICE water.

                              (I'm in the "eggs last a long time" camp. Provided they're never washed, and they keep better in the carton.)

                            3. I have been using the same method but have found that I need to cook the eggs for a minute or two after the water reaches a rapid boil or the yolks are not done. Also I discovered today on a whim that if I peel the eggs under cold running water the shell comes off easier because the water gets in and separates it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Michael K

                                Yes, that running-water trick works every time except when it doesn't ;-)

                                The thing is that some eggs don't seem to have a well-developed membrane between the white and the shell, and no matter how scientific your method might be some eggs just flat are not gonna peel, usually (in my experience) one or two out of every dozen, even old ones. These eggs are officially known in the Owen household as Will's Treats. Please don't tell my doctor...