I’ve been getting tons of messages asking about how to achieve the perfect boiled egg…
Just kidding. Literally no one has asked me that. But here it is anyway! The guide you never asked for but you need in your life. In this blog post I am going to address a couple of FAQ’s.
Ok, let’s begin. I believe there is an application for all varieties of boiled eggs and their degree of “doneness.” Whether you want a super runny egg for dipping toast, a jammy egg for ramen, a soft boiled egg for egg salad, or a hard-boiled egg for deviled delights (I prefer soft boiled eggs for this actually!) this method of boiling eggs will help you to achieve exactly what your aiming for.
Question 1: How do I prevent the shell from cracking and egg white seeping out during cooking?
There are two things you can do to prevent the shell from cracking. The first is to allow your eggs to come to room temperature before cooking. This will prevent temperature shock which often results in cracking.
The second thing you can do is introduce a small amount of vinegar to your water. Don’t worry, the eggs will not take on a vinegary flavor.
Question 2: What is the best way to peel the egg easily?
There are a few factors that come into play that can determine the difficulty of peeling your cooked egg. First of all, fresh eggs are the enemy of peeling. Without getting too scientific, I will say that the egg shell is made of calcium carbonate; eggs that are fresh have a lower PH making it more difficult to break down the shell so the membrane tends to stick to the white. Eggs that are around a week old have a higher PH which breaks down the shell, making is easier to cook. Harold McGee’s “On Food & Cooking” is an incredible food science book that explains this in great detail.
Alternatively, you can control the PH yourself by adding a bit of salt to the cooking water. This too, will help with peeling. Some recipes call for baking soda but I don’t think it’s necessary, plus it leaves behind a sulfur taste if you use too much.
Lastly, and in my opinion, the most important, start your eggs in boiling water! I know, this is contrary to popular belief, but trust me. This works! Which brings me to my next point.
Question 3: Hot water or cold water?
We’ve already taken our eggs out to come to room temperature. Now I want to address the hot water method. Starting your eggs in hot water does a few things. First of all, it sets the white of the egg much quicker which will ultimately help you when peeling, as opposed to starting in cold water which will result in a much slower set and cause the membrane and white to stick together. Additionally, starting your eggs in boiling water eliminates heating variables over which you have no control, (e.g. how long it takes for the water to boil, heating conduction, type of pot being used, etc.) Starting the eggs in boiling water allows for a consistent result that is measurable.
Question 4: How long do I cook the egg?
Using the method and tips that I have outlined will allow you to achieve the exact egg that you are looking for. Because you are starting the eggs in boiling water, the white will be set and all you have to do is set your timer to control how runny or set you want the yolk to be. Follow the method below to find out how long to cook your eggs.
The Perfect Boiled Egg
Eggs (However many you’d like!)
Water (Enough to cover your eggs by an inch)
1T Vinegar (Any vinegar will do but red may leave a tint)