Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

I have to warn you.  I don't know how to make the perfect hard-boiled egg.  I feel like I've seen a million different ways to do it, each one claiming to be the best way.  

My husband works out with a friend in the mornings (the do cross-fit together), and I've been trying to have eggs waiting for him when he gets home - he needs the protein as soon as possible after exercising.  So far, I've hard-boiled the eggs twice, and I've tried two different (but similar) methods and the result has been the same.  Eggs, cooked well (and by well, I mean that the yolk is not overcooked, and there is no yucky green line separating the yolk from the white).

My hard boiled egg, cooked to perfection!

It's safe to say that I've mastered the method to get eggs cooked properly.  What I HAVEN'T mastered is the method to get the shells off easily without getting the egg white caught on the shell (see picture below).

Hard Boiled Eggs.  While the center may be cooked to perfection, I haven't mastered the art of peeling the shells off.
So what's the big deal?  I want to be able to peel the shells off, without pulling off half of the whites.  That's the deal.  Let's start at the beginning:

I put 4 hard boiled eggs in a small pan and filled the pan with water (can covered the eggs with about 1 inch of water).  I put them on the stove, and set the stove to high heat.  As soon as the eggs came to a boil (almost a boil - I didn't want the water to boil too much and crack the eggs), I lowered the heat to low, and set the kitchen timer to 12 minutes.

Now here's where the variation comes into place.  The first time I made the eggs, I put the pot in the sink, and let luke-warm water flow from the tap into the pot, and eventually all of the water cooled down.  Then, I just put the eggs on the counter for Scott to eat when he got home.  The result was that the peels came off in tiny little pieces, and a lot of the whites came off with it.  They basically looked just like the picture above.  This morning when I made the eggs, I did the same thing, but then actually peeled the eggs right away.  I thought that maybe by peeling the eggs while they were still wet it would help.  Not so much.  I got the same result.

So after much online research on how to boil eggs and get the shells off easily, I've found some tips:
  • Use old eggs.
    • This struck me as weird as first, but I think I understand what she's saying.  If the eggs were just put on the shelf in the supermarket, they're really fresh....And apparently fresh eggs don't peel easily.  hmm.  seems weird.  But then I remembered.  How many times did our parents buy white eggs for coloring at Easter time?  How often did they sit in the fridge for a week before we colored them?  And then after we boiled them it was another week before we ate them?  And then I thought.....All those eggs were easy to peel.  So ok.  Maybe I should boil a bunch of eggs on Sunday.  Then Scott can eat them gradually throughout the week (within 5 days of boiling them), and they'll be easier to peel after sitting in the fridge.....OK.  It's an idea.
  • Let the eggs sit in cold water (cold water filled with ice) for 10 minutes before peeling and then peel the eggs under running water.  
    • This sounded pretty decent.  While they're in the cold water, steam will form between the egg and the shell.  When going to crack the eggs, do it under running water and grab a whole of the membrane when pulling off the shell. This is something I'm probably going to try the next time I make eggs for Scott.
  • Add salt to the pot when boiling
    • There was no reason.  They just said it helps to not pull whites off with the shells.  I could try this.
So that's only 3 things.... But they all have valid points.  I think the main thing is not to try all of these suggestions at one time.  If I get eggs that are easy to peel, I won't know which method was the best method (oooo the Six-Sigma-Black-Belt-Certified-Engineer is coming out in me.  Maybe I should set up a DOE??? haha).  I also don't want to try to fix the problem of difficult-to-peel eggs and then have yucky yolks, since my eggs are so well cooked already.  In any case, I will definitely try some of these methods and report back!

Let's hope to some good results!!!

1 comment:

  1. I boil my water first before putting in the eggs. I carefully insert the eggs in the boiling water with a large-bowl spoon. 9-10 minutes tops (perhaps 1 minute more if you want the yolk "fully" cooked -- I prefer the taste of an almost-cooked yolk). Drain water immediately, run cold water into pan with eggs. Wait 30 seconds or so until the water has absorbed as much of the heat of the eggs as possible. Then, peel under running water as cold as you can stand. Don't wait to peel. BTW, do you crack the eggs against a flat surface on the side of the eggs? Good luck, sweetie!