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egg cracking

I often hear various chefs on TV advise me to crack eggs on a blunt surface (e.g., a table top) so that you don't push shell fragments inside the egg. I used that advice on a few occasions with awful results - - a shell that won't open unless you pry/pull it open and shell fragments all over. I prefer to crack eggs on the rim of a drinking glass, the narrower the better. They open like an oval pacman if you know what i mean. No issues with shell fragments in the mix. Further, i just dump the cracked egg into the glass until needed. Any opinions? Feel like I'm missing something.

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  1. You can get shell in your egg either way. The inner membrane does a good job of adhering to the shell, even when you crack on the lip of a bowl or glass. It's just a personal preference, I think.

    1. Mark Bittman says you gotta hit it flat. My mama said to crack it on the edge. Since this was a long time before Mr. Bittman was probably even toilet trained, I listened to my mama and did it her way, and have continued to do so with great success for well over sixty years. Nor am I likely to change.

      Bits of eggshell INSIDE the egg? Seems a good deal less likely if it's broken on a sharp edge. I get a piece in the bowl now and then, which I usually manage to remove with my finger. Wonder what Bittman has to say about that …

      1. I was with you. I tried the flat thing a couple times and it never worked. I thought it was the stupidest idea ever. Then I tried it again a few weeks ago and since then it has worked really well for me. I have now switched to the flat surface camp. I think the key is to be pretty aggressive with it. One disadvantage seems to be that a drop of egg always gets left on my counter, which used to be left on the edge of a bowl, but for the most part there are less pieces of shell in my eggs than there used to be.

        3 Replies
        1. re: la2tokyo

          I'm also a convert to the flat surface camp. I give the egg one good hit on the counter and I've never had any issues since I got used to the technique.

          1. re: la2tokyo

            I crack eggs on the vertical surface of my sink. That way I don't leave egg on the counter.

          2. No one is created equal, nor no item, food product, chef. All anyone can offer, is a "this works best for me! Yeah try it!
            There is no only Right! way to do anything, nor any Saint approved method that I know of. What does work is knowing that things vary, especially if you move from a local area to another. I grew up in NJ in a restaurant family. Our eggs pretty much behaved the same all the time. no issues that, I moved. I moved where folks had brown eggs, pretty much something I knew existed but never touched. Lordy! I had trouble breaking these eggs! A few more moves as well mas using different eggs let me figure out that eggs have a shell. All shells are not equal, so And I like it!!

            I do find that if I must do many (but this is worth it for a just few as well) I crack into a strainer. I lock up egg shell escapee as well as easily allowing a white blob get special attention.

            De Nada

            1. Years of experienced have taught me that there is no one-way-is-always-perfect method of cracking an egg. No matter what you do, there will be times you get shell in the egg, there will be times when the yolk breaks, there will be times when everything goes well. You just have to roll with the punches! And always have some extra eggs on hand. '-)

              1. I crack mine on the edge of the sink (farmhouse sink) because I heard somewhere that you shouldn't crack them over anything you're going to put the egg in so that you don't get any shell fragments / dust into the egg.

                Another tip - if you do get a piece of shell in the bowl, use the rest of the egg shell to scoop it out instead of your finger. For some reason, it's much easier to "grab" the shell piece that way. Don't know why, but it works!

                1 Reply
                1. re: jbsiegel

                  Yes, the use of the shell to capture shell fragments is a tried and true truc.

                  The one practical benefit to the common use of brown eggs here in New England is that the egg fragments have a brown side and a white side, so you're more likely to discern the fragment in more things.....

                2. I was always impressed with the showoffs who cracked the eggs in their hands (sometimes two at once!). But a check on YouTube shows at least one (search for Mark Peel on Julia Child) unobtrusively knocking the eggs against a smooth surface first.

                  1. I concede to the range of the arguments
                    about cracking on flat versus rounded.

                    So I use the sharp, but yet barely rounded,
                    front edge of my porcelain stove.

                    Methinks that the secret is not just in the cracking
                    but the way that you open that ovum with thumbnails.

                    1. I'm in the sharp edge camp. I never have problems with fragments and I crack on the edge of a thin metal bowl, usually. However, I think the real issue is the amount of force you use. It's like the goldilocks story: Too much, bad result; too little, also bad result. I spent Sunday making sugar cookies with middle schoolers so I know what I'm talking about.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: tcamp

                        I'm with you that the right amount of force is the real factor to consider. Cracking an egg should be quick and sharp.

                        This Chow video shows the flat surface method, but I think the thing to watch is really the movement.

                        I usually break it on the side of the bowl or glass. Can't do it on the edge of a plastic bowl very well because plastic just isn't hard enough.

                        Then there's always the scinetific approach ...

                        "Enter Glasgow University's Poultry Research Unit. Researchers found a palette knife is ideal, combined with a fly-fishing action and 30 Newtons of force."

                        Um ... is that Fig Newtons?

                        For a mere $40 you can buy the Punch-Bell Egg Cracker... just put " on top of the egg and then release the stainless steel ball on it twice for that fine crack to happen. No more mess or harrowing moments; you have just the perfect and neat egg splits. An outcome of German technology, it is priced at $40.00"

                        1. re: rworange

                          The Punch Bell is intended for opening soft-cooked eggs and is ideal for that tricky task.
                          Martha Stewart demonstrated a similar device on her originat show (pre-audience format).
                          At the time, they cost $100 - something she did not mention.

                      2. I'm a flat surface convert as well. The eggs I buy left shell behind EVERY time I cracked them on a narrow edge. At first, cracking on the flat surface brought on a string of expletives every time I tried it, but, bit by bit, I've developed feel for it, and almost never have shell fragments any more.
                        It matters how you pull it apart- try not to dip your thumbs too far in, use the greater part of the energy required to pull. Hope this makes sense- good luck!

                        1. I crack it on the rim of whatever bowl/pan I'm baking/cooking in. Growing up in 4-H cooking classes, I learned you are supposed to crack the egg into a little bowl first.

                          I think this was done to make sure the egg hasn't gone bad. But I've NEVER had an egg go bad before, so I skipped down that long ago.

                          Besides, no matter how you do it, you can always pick the egg shell bit out.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: natewrites

                            Word to the wise: if ever you do get a bad one, you can bet your boots it'll be the last one (probably of many) you crack into the bowl! Last time that happened to me was right after reading an admonishment to use that extra bowl, which I ignored. Karma, I think it's called … Luckily I've got a whole bunch of little sharp-edged bowls.

                          2. So many renditions of to best crack the egg.

                            We've explored just the raw ones, but not the hard boiled.

                            So, how best to crack an egg that has tumbled
                            through the toil of the boil
                            and all of its tumbling?

                            Best surface methinks is a hairy round cranium
                            which with practice will not give much shock to the brainium.

                            Career has included multiple deviled eggs
                            each of which gleefullly crackendon my head.

                            I can only hope all of us feel of the peel
                            that results from the tap
                            to the globe of the cranium.

                            1. I crack on an edge. Been doing it that way for 30 years and never had a problem. I don't think eggs have changed that much, really. :-)

                              1. All of the previous posts to this date
                                have been about cracking the raw ones.

                                I like to boil up a six or a dozen
                                re-encase them then slide them back in the fridge,
                                Labeled with streak of a simple sharp Sharpie
                                to distinguish the boiled from the raw.

                                The time of the peel is a magical moment
                                with single hard shell encasing the ovum.

                                As to dilemma of flat versus sharp
                                I crack all those boiled ones right on my head.

                                The tuft of the mane affords a good cushion
                                and softens the blow to the cranium.

                                The result is an easily peelable pattern
                                But not recommended for eggs that are raw.

                                1. I've had this puzzlement for the longest time. Best authority on this subject? Watch a short-order cook. It's magic.