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Soft Boiled Eggs/Old School?

My 23 year old son recently asked me how to make a soft boiled egg and how do you eat them. It got me thinking that I haven't had a sb egg since I was a kid.

Picked up some cute little egg cups from Cost Plus for a buck each and had a proper English breakfast of soft boiled eggs and toast points and marmalade this morning. I have forgetten how good they taste with just s touch of S&P. A really good eggy taste that you can't get with fried, scrambled or HB eggs.

Does anyone eat eggs like this anymore???

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  1. Ha! Cute!!! My 27 year old son loves soft-boiled eggs...they really are great. I bring the eggs to a boil, turn off the heat, remove pan from heat and let them sit in the hot water covered for 3 or 4 minutes, that's it. (large eggs)...we don't have any egg cups...I like mine with the whites cooked and the yolks soft, somewhat runny...he likes them soft, whites and yolks, so he gets his at 3 minutes, I get mine at 4 minutes. Times may vary for anyone else out there...it works for us! We usually pair the eggs with a well-toasted English muffin and fresh fruit. Perfect weekend indulgence!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      This is the same method I use. If we forget about it, they're hard boiled, but still good. I have noticed that the farm fresh eggs seem to take slightly longer to become hard boiled, which has worked to our advantage when we're distracted.

    2. Poached eggs are similar, and are more common, i think. Bittman in fact recommends in one of his books making soft boiled eggs rather than poached, because they are easier to make, he says.

      17 Replies
      1. re: cocktailhour

        Marginally easier to make (if you do them properly in a pan instead of those cup doodads), a good bit more difficult to eat neatly, though we never had egg cups when I was a kid. Mom would just butter some toast, tear it up into a bowl, and scoop the egg out onto it. I didn't like hard-boiled eggs at all back then, but I sure loved those things

        1. re: Will Owen

          Buttered toast and thin sliced cheddar. Just a touch of S&P. Mix and eat.

          You all have me craving now.

        2. re: cocktailhour

          I agree, and then you don't have to worry about the shell, although they are lovely to eat with a timy spoon scooping out all that goodness....I prefer them nice and hot, such a fun thing to try to handle. And whomever said before me, they are truly decadent when they're done right.

          1. re: cocktailhour

            I am a self-described egg whore (sorry, but it's true). Poached eggs are my favorite but I admit, I've never had a soft-boiled egg (unless you count the eggs in my ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar). I'm going to try this. I hate making poached eggs. Mine never look as pretty as what Martha Stewart can do, or the ones I get in a restaurant, and I always end up frustrated. But this soft-boiled egg technique I think I can handle!

            1. re: lynnlato

              Lynn, I love poached eggs too, but my waistline tells me I don't need all that Hollandaise sauce. Yup. No willpower. If I have a poached egg, I can't resist turning it into eggs Benadict.

              But anyway.... You may already be using these tricks, but just in case, here are a few things that help me turn out better shaped poached eggs.

              First off, whether frying or poaching eggs, if you let the eggs come to room temperature, then soak them (uncracked or broken) in a bowl of hot tap water for about three or four minutes before craacking them into the pan helps the shite come back together like they were just laid. In other words, the whites won't wander off exploring the rest of the pan.

              Then I often have a problem with poachedx eggs sticking to the bottom of a pan, so I poach in a non=stick frying pan and butter the pan first, add cold water and bring it to a simmer before adding the eggs.

              Adding either vinegar or lemon juice to the water before intoducing the eggs will also make the white stay put. When I soak eggs in warm water, then cook them in acidulated water, I get pretty good looking eggs.

              It's now nearly quarter to ten and I haven't had breakfast yet, so I'm off to the kitchen. Well, as soon as I decide whether I want poached or soft boiled eggs. <sigh> Decisions, decisions!

              1. re: Caroline1

                Thank you so much, Caroline. You're always good for some good advice. :)

                Of all your advice, the only thing in that list that I do now is the vinegar. And my poached eggs still look sorry. I will heed your suggestions and try again!

                Enjoy your gooey egg breakfast. :)

                1. re: lynnlato

                  It was delicious. I ended up soft boiling them, then foregoing the egg cups in favor of a bowl with some toasted pumpernickel, buttered then broken into bite sized pieces and finally "baptized" with the soft boiled eggs. Oh, and with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Amazing how really simple preparations can be so good!

                  LOL! I wonder what the reactions would be if that was served at a dinner party? I guess it would fly if it was served in some exotically shaped white porcelain bowl with buttered toast "fingers" stacked in the middle like Lincoln Logs, then topped with a poached egg drizzled with melted butter and big fat flaky sea salt and a star shaped sprinkling of black pepper dropped on through a stencil.

                  Yeah, but would it taste as good as it does all smushed up for breakfast? '-)

                2. re: Caroline1

                  Some really good tips, thanks . You may also be able to help me with another egg question. I usually make about a dozen hard boil eggs several times a week. Trying to increase my protein thru-out the day. I've got the cooking part down but when I go to remove the shell, I sometime lose a good part of the white of the egg with it while other times, I'm able to easily peel all the shell off and have a perfect egg. Any suggestions or thoughts to why this is happening?

                  1. re: chocolate

                    For me, boiling them for a pretty long time, 20 min. maybe more, seems to make them very easy to peel. I believe the longer cooking time denature the proteing binding the white to the shell, thus making it easier to peel.

                    1. re: chocolate

                      A common problem and a popular question! If you'll enter "peeling hard boiled eggs" in the search engine at the top of this page, it will give you a whole bunch of threads discussing it. Some great tips, some not so great.

                      As for me, I usually bring the water to a full boil, add my eggs, when the water returns to a boil reduce the heat, then simmer for 16 to 20 minutes. Plunge eggs into ice water. When cold enough to handle, then I hit the fat end against the countertop first, the skinny end next, then with my thumbs crack the shell all over, then roll the egg between the palms of my hands and for me the shell "rolls itself off the egg." But I've had people tell me this doesn't work for them. From all the discussions on these boards, I've about concluded success in peeling a hard boiled egg depends entirely on the mood of the egg and whether it likes the person trying to peel it! '-)

                      Good luck.

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Wow.....thanks. Maybe thats my problem..I'm just not boiling my eggs long enough. . I 've been putting my eggs in cold water and then when the water begins to boil I turn off the heat and cover the pot and leave for 10 min. After the 10 min., I run under the cold water to halt the heating process. Up until recently, I had only left for 8 min before rinsing. A big difference from Rick and yours 16-20 min. I'll try increasing my time, and hopefully that will do the trick. I'm also gonna take a look at some of the other threads on this. Thanks so much...

                        1. re: chocolate

                          To give you a 180° different answer, here's what works for me. Bring water to a boil. In the meantime, poke a hole in one end of the egg using a tack (if you're German you have a special tool for this, but a tack works just fine). Put the eggs in the water and simmer/boil for 8-10 minutes. Take them out of the water and put them in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes.

                          For the eggs you're going to eat now, crack their shells in several places and put them back in the ice water for a minute, then peel. For the others, keep them cold until you eat them, and it's easier to peel if you use the crack-then-soak method.

                          For the time to cook them, I use 8-9 minutes if they started at room temperature, or 9-10 if they started cold.

                          1. re: chocolate

                            Never ever boil an egg! If you do you will end up with rubber in a shell. I wish we could make the word boil go away when referring to cooking eggs. Soft or hard cooked is more accurate. Put ther eggs in a pan and cover with cold water add a few drops of white vinegar, if there is a crack in the egg the vinegar will coagulate the white and it won't form ribbons all over the pan.

                            When the water just begins to break into bubbles on the surface, lower the heat to the lowest setting, or remove from the heat, cover and let stand the desired time. 3-4 mins for soft cooked and 15 mins. for hardcooked. If you are hard cooking to peel you need older eggs. If they are fresh that shell will stick like glue. If you can only get really fresh eggs you can age them quickly by allowing them to sit out at room temperature for about 24 hours. That will equal about a week at cold storage.

                            1. re: Candy

                              And if you poke a tiny hole in each end of the egg, you don't get any cracks at all.

                            2. re: chocolate

                              I should clarify by adding that my "simmer"means the water is just barely shimmering on top. No active bubbles rising from the bottom of the pot!

                              I have no idea how accurate my "home workshop testing" methods are, but by trial and error I seem to have discovered that plunging the eggs into boiling water then grealy reducing the heat seems to center the yolks much the way that steeping a whole egg in warm water before poaching or frying does. When I have put the eggs in cold water and brought them to a boil, its was really easy to figure out whih were the oldest eggs because some of them had the yolks resting against the shell! That's an OLD egg! But I guess it's also possible that the eggs I've plunged into b oiling water and then reduced the heat have been fresher, but I kind of doubt that.

                              The best and most accurate way to cook eggs I've ever had was an old Sunbeam egg cooker from my grandfather. I think it was from the 30s or 50s. You measured the water in the bakalight lid which had markers for soft, medium and hard boiled. Then you poured the water into the cooker, put the lid on, pushed a lever down and when the lever popped up (the cooker boiled dry) my eggs were cooked perfectly. My lever stopped popping back up. <sigh> I think I'm going to have to break down and buy a new one.

                          2. re: chocolate

                            First, I have read on CH and elsewhere that hard-boiling ties up much of the nutritional value and makes it non-digestible. Soft-cooked eggs have more bio-available nutrition - so you might want to research and re-think that.

                            The most important factor in "peelability" is not to use very fresh eggs. Shells are porous and the contents will shrink a bit as the egg ages, so that the membrane separates, making peeling easier. A very fresh egg will sink and a too-old one will float. You want your pre-hardboiled egg to stand upright in water, large end up (that's where the air pocket forms and that's the end to start peeling).

                            1. re: greygarious

                              But have you ever tried to make egg salad with soft boiled eggs? '-)

                    2. I always forget about soft boiled eggs, but I love them. We have a couple of styles of egg cups we got in cheapy variety stores in Paris - along with tiny spoons - and the combo just seem to make the oeuf taste better. Another bonus is cutting toasted white bread into strips for dipping in to the yolk.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: the dog ate my homework

                        When I was little it was a piece of buttered toast cut into strips and they were "Soldiers" I still make them for myself when I have a cold (like yesterday). It's very British, I think, the soldiers I mean...

                        And (being half a brit) SB eggs on toast. Too tired to cook? Eggs on toast is perfect!

                      2. love them, but never make them. they are better than poached for eating on toast! i remember a german hotel buffet that had these, with all sorts of german cold-cuts and great bread and butter. oh, that was fine eatin'.