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Mar 31, 2008 10:07 PM

What in the world is a "perfect" hard boiled egg?

Is the egg white supposed to be soft like gelatin? Or, more rubbery? Closer to the consistency of, say, boiled squid??

And the yolk? How should the yolk be in order for the egg to be "perfect"?

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  1. The white should be soft and tender - not rubbery which is a sign of overcooking. The yolk should be firm but not dry and should not have a green tint around the edge caused by sulphur trapped inside the shell.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JockY

      nasty nasty nasty....

      i hate soft eggs in any form. the white should always be rubbery, and should have a STRONG green tint around the edge of the yolk, which should be quite dry. If not, throw them out and start over.

      and yes, when i scramble eggs i cook them till they have just barely started to brown.

    2. And you make a perfect hard-boiled egg by following this method I learned from Julia Child's cookbooks: put cold eggs in a sauce pan, cover with cold water by an inch or two, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When boiling point has been reached, cover the pan tightly, remove from heat, and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drain eggs, vigorously shake the saucepan to crack the shells a bit, then run cold water over them until the pan is cold. Let the eggs sit in cold water till cool enough to peel, or cool them more quickly by adding ice.

      To peel, hold a teaspoon at the bottom end and tap the back of the spoon against the shell to crack the egg shells all over. Starting at the large end (where the air bubble usually is) and holding the egg under water or under running water, begin peeling the shell away. Usually the shell will come off in a spiral. Older eggs peel much easier than fresh eggs.

      Following Julia's method will give you tender whites and just cooked through yolks. Perfect!

      8 Replies
      1. re: janniecooks

        I've tried her method and, for me, the yolks are too cooked.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Maybe it's all in the timing; when I cook eggs this way I always get a bit of a soft center, almost but not quite soft - still a bit translucent. I don't use high heat to get it to a boil, and I watch closely to clamp on the lid and remove fro heat the moment I get to a boil. I've tried the simmering method and this one works best for me.

          1. re: janniecooks

            I should correct what I wrote - I use her method, I just cut the timing down from 15 minutes to 12. Now that I read what you wrote more carefully, I also think I've probably been bringing the water to the boil on high heat (not her method!), which may account for the difference.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Buy a circulating immersion heater for $800, cook them at 140deg for an hour.. of course, that's a bit hardcore..

              1. re: MMRuth

                it also depends on the size of the egg. we discussed this not too long ago...


                as for consistencty...gotta have tender white and creamy, just-barely-cooked-through yolk.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  I use Child's method and agree on 12 minutes, not 15. This gives you(depending on those irritating vagaries) perfect yolks to yolks slightly translucent.

            2. re: janniecooks

              I think 10 minutes is long enough for large eggs - aside from that, I agree completely. Also, older eggs are easier to peel than fresh ones.

              1. re: Patrincia

                patrinicia, don't you post on rose beranbaum's site? i recognize your name. it's cool! anyway, i follow the cooks illustrated recipe which essentially the same as julia childs except you leave the eggs in for 10 minutes. i have never had an over or undercooked egg this way.

            3. Sigh. For me, one does not exist. You see, I grew up eating over-cooked ones, so I hated the dry yellow and would eat the whites because I was hungry and they were still edible. Over time, I grew to like the whites like that. Now that I cook them myself, I don't overcook them, so I have found that the yellow is quite delicious. But when I cook the yellow how I like, well, then the white is nice and tender, without a trace of the beloved rubbery-ness I grew to like in my youth.

              So tell me, how do I make a hard boiled egg with rubbery, over-cooked whites, while keeping the yellow nice and creamy?

              3 Replies
              1. re: saltwater

                You make one set the way you like the whites and one set the way you like the yolks, then make a franken-hard-boiled-egg and slice them open, swap yolks and....well, make egg salad out of the bits you don't want to eat as hard cooked eggs.

                I use Michael Roux's method....cover eggs in cold water, place over medium heat and bring to a boil...boil at a full boil for 6 minutes then immediately drain and run under cold water. My wife likes to kill the heat at 6 minutes and let them sit in the hot water for another 3 minutes, then run under cold water. I'm fortunate to enjoy both the white and yolk from this technique.

                1. re: ccbweb

                  A franken-egg. The child in me loves that idea. :) I could even stick in two toothpicks at a crazy angle to signify how it is sewn together haphazardly.

                2. re: saltwater

                  Honestly, I know everyone seems to want to try & research & experiment to find the best way to get a perfectly cooked hard boiled egg, but I make them 99% of the time with almost no effort whatsoever. I bought a salton egg cooker.
                  Apparently this link shows it's currently unavailable, but perhaps you could find one elsewhere. I am on my second one, it's the best.


                3. I didn't know it was so difficult to boil an egg. Mine are usually in the fridge, so I start them in cold water so they don't crack. Then I put it on to boil and read the newspaper. About 3 or 4 minutes later (or maybe more) I take the egg out of the water and spin it on the counter top. If it spins fast, it's a hard boiled egg. If it spins slow, it's a soft boiled egg. If it is soft boiled and I want it harder cooked, I just let it sit for a minute out of the water. They are almost always perfect. Occassionally a bit on the soft side but I like that better than on the too hard side.

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: sarah galvin

                      What an interesting idea! I have never heard that method before. I will have to try it for my husband. Thanks for the great tip!

                      1. re: Smileelisa

                        Actually the spinning method does not work that well when one is spinning two cooked eggs.

                        Leaving aside the difficulty in applying the same amount of force to each spin, there is a relatively easily discerned difference between a raw egg and a hardboiled egg.

                        However, with a soft-cooked egg, the yolk is already in a much firmer 'suspension' and will not serve to change inertial force as it does in a raw egg.

                        The test is really unnecessary - when one takes an egg out after 3 or 4 minutes, one has a soft boiled egg. It's only when one gets to the "maybe more" time frame that things are less well-known.

                    2. As you can see from the comments, "perfect" varies from person to person. Try this: Bring large eggs to a boil in cold water, and simmer (don't boil) for 12 minutes. Then put in a container of cold tap water several times. If that doesn't suit you, just vary the time.