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how to - hard scrambled eggs that aren't watery

I have read most of the threads on Chow discussing scrambled egg technique, but havet yet to come across an answer to this question as most seem to describe the best way to make soft or medium eggs. Any tips to make hard scrambled eggs without the 2 tbsps pool of liquid that always ends up in the bottom of my pan? Details on my technique if helpful: whisk eggs, add to pan preheated on low-very medium, let them settle for 45 seconds to 1 minute, stir the cooked eggs to top, and repeat until just done, then toss with cheese and remove. They are never cooked to the browned stage and are always just to the point of hard but I always end up with that annoying puddle of liquid. It's easy enough to pour it off the plate (yes, acceptable as it's just me), but I'd like to work on the technique to avoid this in case I ever need to make eggs for someone else and not have to explain why I am holding the plate or pan over the sink to drain the eggs :)

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  1. I just yank the heat up to high before they're completely done to evaporate the water. I start them off on med-low, too.

    5 Replies
    1. re: kubasd

      ahh, that occurred to me but given that it seems that watery is most often associated with overcooking I thought it might make the problem worse. I will definitely try that.

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        Just something I've learned through trial and error. If someone suggests a better method, I'll definitely give it a try!

        1. re: kubasd

          So crank it up for a minute or so?

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Alton Brown would probably say that's too long.
            In this video he starts doing scrambled eggs at approx. the 1:10 mark, and while he does turn the heat up at the end, he explains the "eggs sitting in water" problem at approx the 3:32 mark.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsgx6N...

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              I haven't timed it, but I do it for about 30 seconds, I'd say.

      2. Egg is some proteins floating around in water. When cooked these proteins 'denature' - unwind and then reconnect to form a mesh that traps the water. This happens around 160 deg F. If they get much hotter, the mesh tightens, and squeezes out some of that water.

        I don't use the terms 'soft' or 'hard' when talking about scrambled eggs, but rather wet, moist or dry. I'd suggest stopping the cooking while the eggs are still moist, and let the residual heat finish the cooking. If timing is right, they should be dry, but not exuding water, by the time you eat.

        1. A good many years ago--like maybe thirty--Sunset magazine ran an article on making scrambled eggs in a large batch for brunches and gave a tip on how to prevent water from seeping out. I don't have the article, but as I recall it was a simple trick making roux with cornstarch and a bit of chicken broth. Adding the roux to the eggs bound the water in a colloid. I don't have the article. Maybe one of our readers has seen it or Uncle Phaedrus could find it. I should think it would work with hard scrambled eggs, too. Although it would introduce a flavor change that might or might not be liked. You would not use very much, in any case.

          2 Replies
          1. I, too, am unsure about hard vs dry. When I want firm scrambled eggs I do it like this: heat a wok (yes, a wok) and when it is warm add a drizzle of oil (I use peanut or canola) around the edges so only a tiny amount puddles in the bottom.. When the oil just starts to smoke, pour in the beaten egg and let it make a small pool on the bottom. Begin turning the wok so the egg spreads out a bit but is still wet on top. After 10 or 15 seconds use the paddle to flip and break up the little omeltte and push it up the sides for cooking. Serve quickly.

            Here is a video demonstrating a method very close to what I do. Notice that they are firm an no puddle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhe-R7... I use these in fried rice.

            1. The only time I've had liquid puddle from scrambled eggs is when I've added liquid to the beaten eggs. My suggestion is not to add liquid to your beaten eggs.

              If you're not adding liquid, the eggs are overcooking to the point the moisture is being squeezed out. You can try using higher heat and lifting the pan to control temperature.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dave_c

                I don't add any extra liquid. I assume the problem is that I prefer my eggs on the very hard/very dry side of hard/dry so perhaps it might be impossible to avoid the pool of liquid as they are probably technically considered overcooked

              2. Add a little salt to your eggs before whisking and don't overwhisk. Cook's Illustrated did some type of test and they concluded that beating them too much unravels the proteins too much and allows water to escape (and that salting before cooking had the opposite effect, or something like that). I never use a whisk on scrambled eggs, in fact - I just give them a slight turn with a fork and let the scrambling action in the pan do the rest of the work. I have never had the puddle of liquid issue and I always cook my scrambled eggs until they're hard/firm/dry.

                1. If you have a puddle of water, you have overcooked them. Try cooking them to a lesser point than you do and turn off the heat and keep stirring gently perhaps you will have a better result. Are you adding too much milk or water to the raw eggs before cooking.

                  1. See i like my eggs moist, but my girlfriend prefers them dry as the sahara, so after i cook them on med-high heat, i drop the heat to low, and let them sit there for a bit, occasionally stirring them so they have time to dry out while the temp isn't high enough to cook them any further or burn them at all.

                    1. I used to do the Julia Child very slow, very low heat style of scrambled eggs as I like them moist. Once married, my husband likes them on the dry side. My compromise is to use a non stick skillet, start with low heat, add a little butter, and crack the eggs straight into the pan (before the butter has completely melted). Once they have all been cracked, and I have washed my hands, I sprinkle them with salt and gently stir to break them up, and raise the heat to medium. Only stir occasionally. When they are almost "dry" I turn the burner off and add a little grated cheese and let it melt and finish the egg cooking with the residual heat. Voila, dry scrambled, no exuded water, and the cheese makes it seem moist enough for me to enjoy.

                      Also, no bowl or whisk to clean.

                      1. Mine seem to work out OK without the puddle. I whisk up the eggs and some salt (nothing else), add them to a cold non-stick pan (sprayed). Turn on the flame to relatively low and stir pretty constantly. I don't ever have any puddle to deal with.