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Sous Vide Hard Cooked Eggs


Rob Babcock
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Hi, guys. I am going to mess around with hard cooking eggs sous vide. My goal is getting an egg that's idea for deviled eggs. At a certain point the yolk gets very chalky and dry; my thinking is that by cooking them sv I can get the whites fully set without seriously overcooking the yolk into a sulfery, crumbly mess. Can anyone here suggest a temp to start with? I'm thinking of 176. Given that the whites and yolks have different properties I might have to try sv'ing them for an hour at 160-ish to set the yolks, then a minute or two in simmering water to fix the whites. I'm willling to experiment but I could use a starting point.

I realize most of the attention on eggs is focused on soft boiled ones. Those come out pretty well for me. Just looking for a better way to cook eggs hard "boiled."

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I'll be interested to hear your results. I was going to do sous-vide hard boiled eggs a few months ago, but after doing some research, decided against it. I read a lot of blogs/posts that said the consistency of the whites wasn't very good. Unfortunately i don't recall why, nor did I keep links to the posts.

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Sous vide hard boiled eggs don't make much sense to me. A vacuum makes no sense for hard boiled eggs. If we broaden the term to mean fine temperature control, then that's already been there for at least 50 years.

Bring some water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add eggs and keep it at a barely simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and plunge into an ice bath. If you want a little more moisture in the yolk, remove at 9 minutes.

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Yeah, I just thought it was worth a try. Eggs are cheap and if I ruin 'em I'll chalk it up to experience. :laugh: I have four in the SVS @ 176 right now, and I'll pull 'em in about five minutes. I like the way the yolks come out at 158 but the whites are a little under done for my tastes.

BTW, I think I might try a different technique on my next batch of soft cooked eggs. I plan to preheat my SVS to 158. Then I'll bring a pan of water to a high simmer and drop the eggs in for 1-2 minutes of high heat, then transfer to the SVS. Hopefully this will set the whites a bit and let the heat migrate thru the whites, while keeping the yolks that perfect custardy texture.

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Sous vide hard boiled eggs don't make much sense to me. A vacuum makes no sense for hard boiled eggs. If we broaden the term to mean fine temperature control, then that's already been there for at least 50 years.

Bring some water to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Add eggs and keep it at a barely simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and plunge into an ice bath. If you want a little more moisture in the yolk, remove at 9 minutes.

Obviously I wouldn't vacuum an egg- Mother Nature created the perfect container! :wink: I realize I should have a hot-key that will insert "controlled low temperature cook a product" when I type "sous vide" but that's a lot of work. The point, though, is that in my mind the egg should never be exposed to a temperature higher than is needed to coagulate the proteins and set up both parts. And if by chance there was a good temp to do it in my SVS it would obviate the need to time everything and shock in ice water. Maybe it won't work but a carton of eggs is just over a buck. And I doubt the results will be entirely inedible.

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Well, the first shot at 176 came out pretty good. That's obviously high enough to completely set the whites, with very little dark on the yolks.

svegg175pic1.jpg

svegg175pic2.jpg

Of course, I want to get to like 1 degree above the point the white is completely set to keep the yolk as moist as I can. So I cooled the bath down with some cold water and plopped in a couple more at 169. We'll see how that works. :biggrin:

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I'm an svs owner, so, hopefully this statement will have some foundation; I wouldn't ever use sous vide to "hard boil" an egg. I'm sorry to say this but the picture you posted is one sorry looking egg. That amount of grey around the yolk is .... less than ideal. IMO any grey around the yolk is unacceptable. (I realize this might have sounded insulting,I really don't mean any insult.)

Fortunately, there is an extremely simple way to perfectly hard boil eggs. Alton Brown on his show employed an electric kettle to boil eggs, and quite frankly I'll never do them another way. There's no reason why you can't use exactly the same cooking schedule in a pot, but the kettle allows you to walk away.

Put the eggs and water in your electric kettle.

Set it to fire.

Returns at least 10 minutes after it has automatically turned off (I've returned about 30 minutes later with excellent results)

Cool the eggs

ABSOLUTELY NO GREY ON THE YOLKS AT ALL

You could put the eggs in a pot in cold water, fire the pot, and turn it off when it reaches a boil, but the kettle does that part for you. To reiterate the time after it shuts off (in my experience) is not critical.

Side note: I love my svs for eggs at 63 C for an hour. I think the whites are beautiful.

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No offense is taken. Those were the first attempt; I agree there should be no dark on the yolks. I reduced the temp and am trying another couple eggs. While I agree that Alton is a whiz I'm trying to figure out if it can be done properly SV. Perhaps it can't. All the content I can find about cooking eggs in at controlled/low temp seems to focus on poaching or soft boiling.

BTW, the heck is an "electric kettle"? I'm a pro cook and I've never heard of that, unless you're referring to a steam jacketed kettle?

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Okay, I was too lazy for a pic this time but the eggs done at 169 were much better. I could detect no trace of green or graying around the yolk at all. Since it was completely set I'm going to do one more run tonite, this one at 166 F. The stupid thing is that I'm sure someone (or a hundred someones...) has already done this, I just can find it anywhere. It's probably a waste of time to reinvent the wheel! :laugh::wacko:

BTW, I appreciate the posting of the chart. I already had a copy of it though, and my results don't seem to match up perfectly with it. Or at least, in the small picture I'm not sure that we're using the same terminology.

Edited by Rob Babcock (log)
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Nordic Ware makes a microwave egg cooker that works very well for hard cooking eggs with a nice beautiful all yellow yolk. It basically cooks the eggs with steam in about 8 minutes. What I wonder is if you are going to devil the yolks, why do you care what they look like? You are going to mash them up and add moisturizing mayonnaise. Sous vide seems like a lot of effort for the results.

edit to add that the eggs almost always peel easier when steamed in this little gadget. The only drawback is that they only do 4 eggs at a time.

Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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BTW, I appreciate the posting of the chart. I already had a copy of it though, and my results don't seem to match up perfectly with it. Or at least, in the small picture I'm not sure that we're using the same terminology.

What chart? Did I miss it?

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