how to - hard scrambled eggs that aren't watery
- fldhkybnva Sep 19, 2012 05:25 PM
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.