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Poached Eggs


chappie
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I had posted this in the eGCI forum "Q&A: All About Eggs" back in March and never got a response, so I'm moving it here:

I have lately become adept at poaching eggs and do so for my wife most mornings before she leaves for work. But (ed: a March issue of the) Washington Post food section printed a blurb that confused me and countered my own intuition on the technique. It read:

"Another tip is to use eggs right out of the refrigerator; a chilled white will be thicker and less likely to 'feather' or become stringy when it hits the water."

To the contrary, I have been using either room-temperature eggs or even soaking them in water as hot as my tap will produce for at least 10 minutes before poaching, using the logic that they will set faster by beginning closer to the setting temperature when they hit the simmering poaching water. I have had good results this way. How do you explain the Post's logic?

Also, if you're adding cold eggs, won't it lower the temperature of the liquid and both slow down cooking and encourage "feathering?"

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I had posted this in the eGCI forum "Q&A: All About Eggs" back in March and never got a response, so I'm moving it here:

I have lately become adept at poaching eggs and do so for my wife most mornings before she leaves for work. But (ed: a March issue of the) Washington Post food section printed a blurb that confused me and countered my own intuition on the technique. It read:

"Another tip is to use eggs right out of the refrigerator; a chilled white will be thicker and less likely to 'feather' or become stringy when it hits the water."

To the contrary, I have been using either room-temperature eggs or even soaking them in water as hot as my tap will produce for at least 10 minutes before poaching, using the logic that they will set faster by beginning closer to the setting temperature when they hit the simmering poaching water. I have had good results this way. How do you explain the Post's logic?

Also, if you're adding cold eggs, won't it lower the temperature of the liquid and both slow down cooking and encourage "feathering?"

Because a chilled egg white is thicker and more viscous. Really, it depends on more factors than the temperature of your egg. My first point also goes to using the freshest egg possible-because the white is thicker. Of coure, vinegar helps a lot too.

If you are uncertain about the freshness of the egg, you can preboil it by dropping it into the simmering water for 8-10 seconds prior to breaking and poaching.

Edited by monavano (log)
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I had posted this in the eGCI forum "Q&A: All About Eggs" back in March and never got a response, so I'm moving it here:

I have lately become adept at poaching eggs and do so for my wife most mornings before she leaves for work. But (ed: a March issue of the) Washington Post food section printed a blurb that confused me and countered my own intuition on the technique. It read:

"Another tip is to use eggs right out of the refrigerator; a chilled white will be thicker and less likely to 'feather' or become stringy when it hits the water."

To the contrary, I have been using either room-temperature eggs or even soaking them in water as hot as my tap will produce for at least 10 minutes before poaching, using the logic that they will set faster by beginning closer to the setting temperature when they hit the simmering poaching water. I have had good results this way. How do you explain the Post's logic?

Also, if you're adding cold eggs, won't it lower the temperature of the liquid and both slow down cooking and encourage "feathering?"

I would add that water depth may also mitigate feathering. I recall a post from Fat Guy some time ago on Tavern on the Green (??? -- my memory's a bit sketchy) on their brunch service and noted that the eggs they poached for Benedict were added to a reasoably deep pot of water. As the egg descended, it essentially caused the white to pouch vertically as it coagulated -- thus yielding nice, tightly formed poached eggs. Any tails were snipped with scissors.

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I have not yet tried this but The French Laundry Cookbook advocates poaching eggs in water that is at least 6 inches deep. The deeper the water the more the egg will stay together. It also recommends removing the wider end of the shell and pouring the egg directly from the shell into the water.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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The part of the white that "feathers" is the watery, loose white. There are actually two parts to the white...a loose part, and a more firm, solid part. One thing that can help is to drain off this watery part from the egg before if even goes into the water. That REALLY reduces the feathering and helps create a beautiful, consistent poached egg.

I don't think temp. really matters that much (as long as it isn't too low or boiling or simmering). Somewhere around 180 should do it.

The whole bit about swirling the water, etc. I don't really find useful either. I find it helps to just gently lower the egg into the water, after a few secs maybe dip in your spoon to make sure it isn't sitting or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

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