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Jan 1, 2009 07:00 AM

Cracking eggs-proper technique?

Happened to see a TV commercial for a well-known brand of eggs showing "my son the chef" cracking eggs on the rim of a bowl. Have seen Jacques Pepin expounding on cracking eggs, saying that this method might introduce bacteria on the outside of the shell into the egg, that it might increase the possibility of shell fragments into the egg and that you don't actually get as much egg white by using this technique. He shows the method of cracking the egg on a flat surface, such as the counter or cutting board. Any comments?

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  1. Use a knife. Every other method leaves slime or shells in undesired places, like on the counter top or in the bowl.

    1. The objective is to crack the egg and empty its contents. The method you choose is, of course, a personal choice. I don't like cracking eggs on the side of a bowl or with a knife edge because I don't want to be delayed in my food preparation by having to fish out a piece of egg shell that will inevitably be found floating in the egg "pool" or, heaven forbid, to miss one and have it turn up in the finished product. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does it's aggravating. Because the eggs I purchase are washed in the packaging process I don't worry that much about bacterial contamination from the outside of the egg that is sometimes feared to be a factor when cracking eggs with the bowl edge or knife blade. But it that's a concern, it's just another reason not to use that method. Cracking the eggs on a flat surface (counter top, cutting board, plate, etc.) can admittedly leave minor deposits of egg white residue on the cracking surface but when I use a plate to do the job it isn't that much trouble to simply rinse the plate and drop it into the dishwasher.

      1 Reply
      1. re: todao

        I've been using a rounded edge, such as the rim of the stove top,or the sink.

        I've heard these comments about reducing the risk of contamination by bacteria on the shell, but it isn't obvious how one edge or surface makes this more or less likely. I still have to use my finger tips to pry the shell halves apart. So I favor which ever method reduces the chance of getting stray bits of shell in the egg.

      2. For a zillion years I used the side of a bowl, or the blunt edge of a knife. Then, last year, I went to a cooking event at a culinary school, where we cooked with chefs. My job was cracking eggs. I barely got through the first egg when I was shown how to crack an egg. The chefs insisted I crack them on the counter. I've been doing that since, and must admit, there is far less chance of getting shell in the bowl that way.

        Easy enough to wipe the counter down.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Felixnot

          I have read that, and tried it a few times: That is, cracking the eggs on the surface of the counter. Inevitably, I get a mass of cracks, not just a nice one like I do on the rim of a bowl. I have gone back to the old fashioned way, on the rim of the pan or bowl. Maybe if I was gentler with my egg? I never seem to have a problem with shells in my eggs, and don't go along with all the scare stuff about what we eat. In fact, where I live in México, eggs are never refrigerated unless you do that when you take them home. No problema.

        2. I wash my eggs (just before using) and rap them on a flat surface to break them. The flat surface is either the counter or a heavy earthenware dessert plate. I don't notice any more fragments of egg shells than I did back when I used other methods. Plus, I always crack one egg at a time into a ramekin, so if there is a stray shell, I get it out of the ramekin before adding the egg to whatever I'm mixing.

          When I used to crack the shell against the edge of a bowl, I always found, no matter how quick and sharp my movement was, that raw egg ran down the side of the bowl, underneath it, and spread around the work area. Yuck. I tried the knife method briefly; however, often enough I'm doing something with my left hand while using my right hand to break the egg. I don't like having to stop to use both hands to execute the knife method.