He couldn’t even boil an egg!

05-07-2018 in Techniques
He couldn’t even boil an egg!

It’s one of the worst insults you can give to a chef: ‘he couldn’t even boil an egg,’ which refers to an extremely simple technique. We can hear you wondering: ‘Boiling an egg? Who can’t do that?’ And it’s not that hard. After all, you’ve done it right thousands of times. Yet, have you ever thought about what happens during the cooking process? Is boiling water actually the right temperature for cooking? The boiling of an egg involves an extensive scientific process that might very well be the most interesting process in the kitchen!

Each to their own temperature

We begin by busting the myth that eggs have to be cooked in boiling water. Boiling an egg at too high a temperature only spoils the end result. It’s not a revelation that an egg consists of a yolk and egg white, but did you know that they respond differently to heat? The main difference is the temperature at which coagulation takes place. The egg white is the first to solidify. From 55°C upwards the viscosity starts to change and the protein is fully solidified at 65°C. From 60°C upwards the egg yolk starts to change its viscosity and not immediately in the way you would expect it to. At this temperature, the egg yolk is initially more liquid than before heating. At 62°C the egg yolk also starts to thicken and is completely solidified at 75°C. This indicates that the temperature for boiling an egg is the most important thing. In the diagram below we show how the eggs come out of the shell at the different temperatures.

Temperaturen ei

Shock ‘em

Eggs should be cooled down as quickly as possible, the main reason for this being to stop the cooking process. There is, of course, nothing more annoying than to see your perfectly prepared egg go from cooked to overcooked. The other reason is that it ensures that it helps the egg to separate more easily from the shell when peeling. And what might also be an important factor is that it extends the shelf life of the egg. The shelf life of a boiled egg can also be extended a little by peeling it and storing it in a container with oil, as the oil prevents oxygen coming into contact with the egg. An interesting advantage of this storage method is that you can add flavour to the oil. 

No further eggsplanation needed

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