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Reducing sulfur in hard boiled eggs?

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Bay Gelldawg Jan 8, 2008 07:52 AM

Any tips for reducing sulfur in hard boiled eggs?

Am I cooking them too long?

I was using organic eggs for the first time. Do they have a higher sulfur content?

Is there something I could add to egg salad that would neutralize the sulfur?

  1. b
    bnemes3343 Jan 8, 2008 07:55 AM

    Yes, if you get a dark green ring around the yolk, you are cooking too long and too hot. Put the eggs in cold water. Bring quickly to a boil over high heat. Immediately take off heat, cover and let sit for 11 minutes. Move to an ice water bowl to cool. These will be perfect hard boiled eggs...

    7 Replies
    1. re: bnemes3343
      a
      Ali Jan 8, 2008 08:43 AM

      You know, I've use this method a millions times, but every time I see a rec for it, the times are different. I believe both Julia Child & Martha Stewart use 15 min. I recall methods calling for 13 mins. I generally go for 14 mins - I used 11 mins once and ended up with eggs just the other side of cooked, which weren't bad but did not make for good deviled eggs.

      I'm guessing all the timing differences signify differing altitudes people live at? Anyone know? (Not to hijack the thread or anything, so in the spirit of that, I will state to the OP that he does try the "cold boil" method to see if there is a reduction of sulphur.)

      1. re: Ali
        b
        bnemes3343 Jan 8, 2008 08:57 AM

        I think the key is really to get them off the heat as soon as the water comes to a boil. Beyond that I have varied the times from 11 to 15 minutes, with the shorter times yielding a somewhat creamier/softer (but still cooked) yolk. My wife prefers the 13 - 15 min. eggs. I would imagine that altitute could make a difference though. I live on the East Coast. Not sure how this would work in Denver...

        1. re: Ali
          chowser Jan 8, 2008 06:39 PM

          I think part of it depends on the pot you use. I leave it for less time in an All Clad pot than a cheap, thin pot.

          1. re: Ali
            goodhealthgourmet Jan 8, 2008 10:27 PM

            actually, the time differences are guidelines for the various sizes of eggs. 11 min for medium, 13 for large, 15 for x-large, and 17 for jumbo.

            i always start mine in cold water, heat as quickly as possible, and as soon as it barely comes up to a rolling boil, remove from heat immediately. let stand covered for the appropriate time [11-17 ins], and plunge into ice water bath until cool enough to handle & peel.

            never had an overcooked egg, a green ring, or any issue with sulfur odor. works perfectly every time.

            btw, i think one of the biggest problems is that people still call them "hard-boiled" eggs, and therefore believe [erroneously] that you need to boil the eggs. they really should be hard-cooked, not hard-boiled.

            1. re: Ali
              OldDog Jan 8, 2008 10:27 PM

              I think initial temp of the eggs _and_ how many eggs you're cooking at a time has much to do with standing times using this method. We eat a lot of hard cooked eggs in preps as well as out of hand, so I'm generally doing a dozen at a time, right from the fridge.

              Cover with cold water, bring to boil, take off heat and cover, let stand 18 minutes.

              Pot of eggs goes under cold running water for about 5 minutes, shake pot to crack shells and peel, still under cold (gently) running water.

            2. re: bnemes3343
              rockandroller1 Jan 9, 2008 09:48 AM

              I would like to know how people who use this method peel their freaking eggs. Ever since I started doing eggs this way instead of boiling them the whole time, I have an AWFUL time peeling them. I have tried 3 different kinds of eggs - my local purveyor, eggland's best and regular grocery store eggs and each time they are IMPOSSIBLE to peel without pulling off huge bits of white.

              I never had this problem peeling them when I cooked them the old, unfancy way of boiling them the whole time.

              1. re: rockandroller1
                r
                Rachel_at_Egglands Best Jan 14, 2008 10:39 AM

                I'm Really sorry you had problems peeling our eggs!
                We often find that if an Eggland's Best egg isn't peeling easily it just needs an extra couple of minutes on the boil. For large eggs try putting them in a pan of water and bring them to a rapid boil. Then turn down the heat to a slow boil and boil for 12 minutes. Take one out and run it under cold water and check if it peels easily. If not pop it back in and boil the eggs for an extra couple of minutes. Very fresh eggs ( and we pride ourselves on our freshness) do not peel quite as easily as eggs that have been in the refrigerator for a few days but boiling them for an extra couple of minutes should solve that too.
                Thanks for using Eggland's Best!
                Rachel at Eggland's Best

            3. heatherkay Jan 8, 2008 12:52 PM

              I usually use the organic, free-range eggs, and I haven't noticed that they are unusually sulfur-y. Of course, I think eggs should taste a little of sulfur because they're eggs, you know?

              I typically bring water to the boil, lower eggs gently into water, boil for 11 minutes, then remove and put IMMEDIATELY into an ice bath.

              1 Reply
              1. re: heatherkay
                maria lorraine Jan 8, 2008 10:14 PM

                Yep, while the eggs are steeping (I use 17 minutes for flaky, bright yellow yolks), I get the bowl of ice and ice water immediately. Let the eggs sit 10 minutes in the cold water. The skins come off as easy as a tangerine then.

              2. Will Owen Jan 8, 2008 01:04 PM

                I think there are as many "right" ways to boil eggs as there are people doing it! I've followed at least six different procedures, each touted as THE perfect way to achieve THE perfect egg, some dirt simple and some really complicated (see Julia Child's "The Way To Cook"!), and they all do in fact make a perfect egg if you follow directions...and, in every case, no matter which method you follow, if the eggs are really fresh they won't peel worth a damn, and if they're a little old they will. Period.

                I'm currently following the method in the new(ish) Gourmet cookbook: cover eggs with water, partially cover pan. Bring water just barely to a rolling boil, cover the pan for 30 seconds, then take the pan off the heat and let sit fifteen minutes. Then do the ice-water plunge. No green rings, no sulfur stink, and if the egg's peelable it'll peel.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Will Owen
                  b
                  bnemes3343 Jan 9, 2008 03:54 AM

                  Despite all of the variations, these all sound very, very similiar. Bring to temp and then let them sit off heat for various times depending on the size of the eggs and other things. Not really that much variation. I know one additional thing Jacque Pepin does is to shake the eggs back and forth in the pan after draining. This cracks the shells some and apparenly makes them easier to peel after the ice bath

                  1. re: bnemes3343
                    chowser Jan 9, 2008 06:26 AM

                    This is a great idea--I'll have to try it next time.

                2. soypower Jan 8, 2008 07:26 PM

                  i believe some people prick the large end of the egg with a pin before cooking to allow sulfur to escape and keep the egg from exploding during cooking. that said, i start my eggs in cold water and boil them for 10 minutes and then throw them in a colander and run under cold water until the they don't feel warm anymore. i've tried the method where you bring it to a boil and take it off the heat, cover and leave alone for X minutes and always seem to overcook them that way.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: soypower
                    maria lorraine Jan 8, 2008 10:17 PM

                    The pin prick is used for immersing an egg into hot water -- it's for soft boiled eggs.
                    The purpose of the little hole at the wide end of the air (there's an air pocket there) is
                    to relieve the change in pressure inside the egg when it's placed into the boiling water.

                    Because HARD-boiled eggs are started in cold water, the pin prick isn't necessary.

                    Soypower, adding the ice bath at the end of the X minutes method is key. See above.

                    1. re: maria lorraine
                      n
                      Neer May 8, 2009 08:37 AM

                      I learned the method of pricking the egg for hard cooking from Jacques Pepin, and it is done to reduce the sulfur. Keeps the yolk yellow. Also, 10 minutes is sufficient to cook the egg starting with cold water.

                      1. re: Neer
                        maria lorraine May 8, 2009 12:29 PM

                        Are you saying -- is Jacques saying? -- that the hole allows the sulfur to dissipate and not build up to form the green ring on the yolk? Does that pass the food chemistry/science test?

                        If so, brava! But I'd like to know if that theory is credible and has been proven.

                        To my knowledge, and I am willing to edified further, the pin prick and resulting hole regulate air pressure. The hole equalizes the pressure between the interior and exterior of the egg and thus keeps the egg from cracking and little white streamers from forming (which then coagulate).

                        That's why the pin prick becomes critical for soft-boiled eggs, when the change in air pressure (and temperature) is extreme -- going from refrigerator-temp eggs to boiling water. For the same reason, the pin prick is not (as) necessary when refrigerator-temp eggs are placed in cold water and the temperature difference is minor.

                  2. Karl S Jan 9, 2008 01:38 AM

                    Hard boiled eggs should not, name notwithstanding, be boiled.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Karl S
                      heatherkay Jan 9, 2008 06:11 AM

                      Why not, if you can get the same result? I've always boiled them, and I get the flaky yolk, I don't get any more than a egg-y whiff of sulfur, and no green ring. They peel easily. Is there some additional benefit that I'm missing?

                      1. re: heatherkay
                        Karl S Jan 9, 2008 08:05 AM

                        Boiling increases the risks of those things, as well as the breaking of the shell before the white has set. There's no need to boil, except if one can't spare an extra few minutes.

                        This is the reason hard-boiled eggs are more commonly referred to as hard-cooked eggs outside the US - because they aren't actually boiled.

                    2. k
                      KrazyB Jan 9, 2008 08:17 AM

                      This might be a topic worthy of a new thread, but it seems related enough to post here.

                      Does anyone have any tips for ensuring an easy peel for a medium-boiled (or hard boiled, even) egg? At least with hard boiled eggs, if you nick off a piece of the white the whole things doesn't slide to pieces like with soft and medium boiled, so it's less pressing I suppose.

                      I've heard about putting vinegar in the water but that doesn't seem to make much difference when I do it. Any thoughts? Is the key to let the egg cool completely?

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: KrazyB
                        Karl S Jan 9, 2008 08:29 AM

                        There are tons of threads with tons of advice on this one. The most important rule: use old eggs (or, if they are fresh, leave them out overnight on the counter to age them up a bit).

                        1. re: KrazyB
                          hannaone Jan 9, 2008 08:31 AM

                          Really fresh eggs will not peel well no matter what you do to them.
                          Use fresh eggs for frying, scramble, omelet, etc
                          Use older eggs for "boiling"

                          1. re: KrazyB
                            goodhealthgourmet Jan 9, 2008 09:40 AM

                            karl and hannah are right...older eggs peel more easily. the reason: as the eggs age, the inner membranes weaken, and begin to pull away from the shell.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                              k
                              KrazyB Jan 9, 2008 01:03 PM

                              Brilliant. Odd, but brilliant. So funny, because I have two containers of eggs and the past week I've been making a point to grab the newer ones for boiling! Ya learn something new every day! Thanks all.

                          2. chef chicklet Jan 9, 2008 11:02 AM

                            For perfect eggs. Bring the pot of water to a rolling boil, then gently place the eggs in one at a time. I usually do 6-8 eggs, you don't want to cool the water down to much.
                            Then when the water comes to another boil, set the timer for 10 minutes. After that shut the heat off, and take off the burner if you have electric ( I use gas but still remove it) and then let them cook for another 2 minutes. They will be perfect. you can either immerse in ice water, or peel them now under cool water faucet.
                            I use large eggs. and 4 QT pot. I have never had a problem with sticking, but then I don't purchase eggs at a farm, just the market.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chef chicklet
                              oakjoan May 8, 2009 11:20 AM

                              I use the bringtoboilturnoffheatandletthemsit method and it works perfectly every time. I usually let them set for about 12-13 minutes and they are cooked through but still have a bit of the gooey center that I like.

                              It's funny, after I started using this method, I took some deviled eggs to work. As I was unwrapping them, a co-worker said in a loud voice "HEY! These don't stink!!" One of the greatest culinary achievements of my long and checkered career.

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