Making perfect Soft-Boiled Eggs at home everytime (Part 1)Sunday, August 07, 2011
Are you crazy over soft-boiled eggs?
If not, you may find this post puzzling and will be wondering what the fuss is all about.
But for the rest of us, wouldn't it be great if we could this at home to look and taste better then those at our fave coffee-shops? Consistently, everytime?
When my daughters were kids, I remember bringing them out for kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs breakfast. My daughter quipped, "Why come all the way here when you can make this at home?" Hmm, why indeed. I found it difficult then to try and explain that places like these get them right - everytime. "What do you mean, dad? Eggs are eggs."
Oh well. They are too young to understand.
I have already mentioned the Momofuku cookbook by David Chang in this post. I was intrigued by a write up on slow poached eggs. This is a time tested "Onsen Tamago" (which means "hot spring eggs") way of cooking which the Japanese folks have mastered by lowering a basket of eggs in hot springs and keeping them there at a constant temperature of 62 C or 141 F. This technique produces creamier yolks and firm translucent whites.
(This scientific post on eggs has a great photo of the eggs in hot springs. Check it out. Sounds nerdy but some crunched scientific data given there.)
|Can you tell which egg is fresher?|
62C 45m eggs. That's it. This is the kind of eggs I want on my breakfast table.
And it has been that way since. It looks and tastes spectacular, great texture - everytime. You don't get the unevenness in the egg white - hardened in some parts, watery elsewhere - which you normally get when you make them the conventional way.
Recently, I had 7 guests for breakfast. It gave them an amazing slurpy start to the day.
Why 62-45? At 62°C, the egg white (denaturing of the protein ovotransferrin) starts to coagulate. You need a long enough time so that the egg is cooked right through. There is a good write up here describing how the eggs changes with the temperature when placed in a water bath for 45 mins.
The photo below should be self-explanatory.
- A pot
- Induction cooker (Easier to control temp, no fire to mess around with)
- A basin (to collect water from tap which keeps the temp constant)
- Put a plate or steam rack at the bottom of the pot so that the eggs stay at the center of the pot, where the temp is most constant. Insert the thermometer
- Heat up your pot of water. When nearing 60c, Set your induction cooker at the lowest "keep warm" setting.
- Using drips from the tap (hope yours can swivel) adjust the water drip to keep the temp constant at range 62-65 C
- ...45 minutes. Set the timer on the Induction Cooker.
|This is my "Manual Sous Vide" set-up|
|Whether u r making 2 or 20 eggs, the effort is the same|
It is a cooking technique which I am quite sure will be regularly used in households not too far into the future. There are many advantages to this way of cooking but I will leave it to some future post.
In a sense, these eggs are being sous vide. They do not need to be vacuum sealed as the egg yolk and white are naturally sealed by the shells. (Note: I have since gone for a more convenient but affordable Sous Vide set up. Read here for the details.)
Anyway don't worry too much about the science of this. Just remember the basics.
|Egged to Perfection using CP's fresh chilled eggs: With some dashes of black pepper, soy sauce and dashes of truffle flavored olive oil. Yum.|
|Great results from Seng Choon's farm fresh eggs too|
|CP's chilled fresh eggs. Fresh!|
Some may find this a bother. I will say, only a bother if you or some in your family adore these eggs. The 45 mins extra is worth it if you can think of a workable contraption with minimal fuss or attention.
I prefer to use CP Fresh Chilled Eggs (sold at NTUC Fairprice, fridge section), which are washed and chilled within the hour. They are fresh, taste and look better (yolk creamier, white is firm). Twice the price at 38cts per egg, but unless you are that broke, it will not hurt your wallet to get better eggs. Do the sums, you likely to spend a whole lot more on other food you eat throughout the day. (By the way, this is not a sponsored post! I am simply promoting a good product.)
For my family (which includes me!), I cook a batch, chill it in some ice (for safer food hygiene) and fridge it immediately. For the next 2-3 days, we will take them out, warmed it up in hot for about 5 minutes in an opened container and enjoy a glorious breakfast.
Easy and yum. If you are making a batch for the week, spending more time to get it perfected makes sense.
Try it. Your breakfast at home will not be the same again.
Note: I have since then experimented with other methods. Read here
|Steamer rack to hold the eggs|
|The freshest of the lot|