Culinary Sense

Adventures with Food and Life

Eggs – fried, boiled, scrambled.

Hey Peeps –

I’m enjoying my weekend here in beautiful Montpelier. The world around me is finally turning green, and it’s gradually feeling warmer. Although not too warm yet. Plus, I spend most of my time inside, so it doesn’t really matter…. But I do enjoy non-freezing temperatures for a change.

I have a couple more things from my Cooking Theory class, which is now over. 😦 I really enjoyed learning all the things I did about soups, stocks, sauces, vegetables, proteins, grains, starches…. So much fun!

Today I’d like to show you a bit about eggs. We had an entire lab and discussion in class on eggs, and what happens to eggs when you cook them in different ways.

Boiled eggs.

Starting with boiled eggs: we put eggs into boiling water and left three in for 10 minutes, and the other three for 20 minutes. We shocked the eggs we boiled for 10 minutes, but not the ones we boiled for 20 minutes. Some of the differences we noticed were that the eggs we cooked for 10 minutes and then shocked were fully cooked, with the egg yolk coming out a bright yellow. The others had a green tinge around the egg yolks. The green tinge happens when the eggs are cooked too long and the sulfur in the egg whites reacts to the iron in the egg yolks.

Other things I learned about hard-boiling eggs is that the water should not boil (over 210 F), but rather simmer (slight bubbles at 185-210 F). Also, shocking the eggs is necessary to stop the cooking process when they are done, and has nothing to do with being able to peel them more easily. If you want to peel eggs easily, do it when they are at room temperature. Older eggs are easier to peel.

Scrambled eggs.

Next up: scrambled eggs. In my group’s experiment, the scrambled eggs didn’t come out right because I was whipping the eggs much faster then the other person. I scrambled eggs with cream, and the other eggs were scrambled without anything added. What was supposed to happen was that the eggs scrambled without cream were supposed to cook faster. However, the eggs with cream are fluffier and lighter in color. This is because the fat in the cream inhibits the proteins from coagulating, and makes them coagulate at higher temperatures (see also my post on making hollandaise). If you don’t want to use cream to make your scrambled eggs fluffy, you can also add water, which will evaporate during the cooking process, but keep the eggs fluffy. We made the scrambled eggs over a double-boiler, and not over direct heat, which Chef Emma swears makes a difference.

From the top in clockwise order: an egg fried over low heat, medium heat, and high heat, until the egg white was cooked.

Frying eggs: we fried eggs over different temperatures until the egg whites were done. What we learned in this experiment was that over medium and high heat, the sugars coating the protein molecules in the eggs start to caramelize before the whites are fully cooked, making the eggs brown on the bottom. However, the egg cooked over low heat showed no browning. Egg whites cook faster than egg yolks because the of the fat in the egg yolks.

Egg frying on low heat.

So, if you want to make an egg that is sunny-side up without browning it, you should use low heat. Personally, I like my eggs cooked until the yolks are firm (hard).

That’s all for eggs!

~Carolynn

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