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Sous Vide for Soft-Boiled Eggs


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I think that an important variable is the quality of the eggs, especially if you are in the United States.  Eggs in the USA are generally of very low quality compared to most of the rest of the world.  In general in the US, eggs are sold mostly based upon the conditions under which the chickens are kept (i.e., free range, cage-free, commodity, etc.), but in reality all of these are of materially identical quality -- so called "USDA Grade A."  The problem is that although A is the first letter of the alphabet, it is a scale borne out of marketing concerns of the agricultural product industry, and Grade A eggs are actually second rate, with the truly premium eggs being classified as "USDA Grade AA".  Quite tricky.  The US egg industry and their government promotors in the US Dept. of Agriculture try to maintain the fiction that there is little difference between the A and AA grades, but I think that the difference is very obvious.

 

It is a challenge to find Grade AA eggs, especially from large chains (i.e., Whole Foods sells a variety of eggs, including some at very high prices, but they are all second rate Grade A), and in certain parts of the country, but it is well worth the effort, particularly for applications like SV.  A commodity Grade AA egg is always of better quality than the most expensive free range Grade A egg.  In comparing the two grades, you can easily see that Grade AA eggs have much more cohesiveness between the different parts of the egg white, so that you get almost none of the loose white junk that causes so many problems in poached and SV eggs.  I think you will like your results much more with the Grade AA eggs, and unless you have access to non-commercial fresh eggs, these are the best you will find in the USA.

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Not withstanding sous vide* will never cook the white properly relative to the yolk.  Eggs just don't work that way.

 

*and I fear anyone who tries to vacuum seal their eggs is pretty much a fool.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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9 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Not withstanding sous vide* will never cook the white properly relative to the yolk.  Eggs just don't work that way.

 

*and I fear anyone who tries to vacuum seal their eggs is pretty much a fool.

 

 

But this is no less a problem with conventionally cooked eggs.  The unfortunate reality is that egg white, and egg yolk, each denature at different temperatures.  Conventional cooking's solution to this (and to cooking many other ingredients made up of different components) is to simply overcook everything -- but that approach has its own problems, even if the textures it produces are more familiar to us.  In the end, we are left with compromises and need to make the best choice for our application, preferences, and logistics.  Personally, I love sous vide eggs, and think that the compromises that method offers are often worth the trade-offs . . . but not always, which is why we all still have stoves to cook them conventionally too.

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When I want a soft boiled egg -- which I confess is seldom -- I use the pressure cooker method of @pazzaglia but I'd like to try the SV and boil briefly approach @lesliec mentioned earlier.

 

I predict the modernist soft boiled egg solution will be a GMO hen.

 

Cooking is cool.  And kitchen gear is even cooler.  -- Chad Ward

 

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  • 1 month later...

I've been playing with the 75 degrees/15 minutes technique this weekend.  Yesterday's 15 minute eggs still had the tiniest bit of slop to their whites, although the yolks were great, so this morning I went with 16 minutes.  Well, sort of 16 minutes - I forgot to immediately set the timer, then dawdled a little over taking them out at the end.  But it wouldn't have been much over 16, honest!

 

Eggs in.  I find the seive very useful to stop them wandering around the pot:

 

Eggs1.png

 

And eggs out.  A quick rinse under the cold tap helps make it possible to break the shells without burned fingers:

 

Eggs2.png

 

Both whites and yolks were pretty close to perfect.  An observation, for what it's worth: I've always liked my poached or fried eggs to be nice and runny, so as to soak into my underlying toast.  Wifey, on the other hand, has always liked hers solid.  This method makes both of us happy!

 

As has been pointed out above, don't think of these as poached or soft boiled.  They're sous vide, and proud of it.

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Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

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1 hour ago, lesliec said:

As has been pointed out above, don't think of these as poached or soft boiled.  They're sous vide, and proud of it.

I have become quite enamoured of the 90°C/8 minute egg. But I’m willing to give your 75°C/16 minute egg a chance. 

 

Definitely they are not poached nor soft boiled!   They are uniquely themselves. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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1408B4B0-AE24-4D00-92DF-0868E35CE814.thumb.jpeg.0c2ccabbfcc82133def1f232439a2628.jpeg

 

I think I will stick with my 90°C/8 minute eggs.  These 75°C/16 minute eggs are a little too firm for my liking. But I’m glad I tried them. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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14 minutes ago, rotuts said:

@Anna N

 

do you have a pic of the 90/8 eggs so I can see the difference ?

 

I know there are probably several somewhere   

 

many thanks

Here.

 

 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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6 hours ago, lesliec said:

I've been playing with the 75 degrees/15 minutes technique this weekend.  Yesterday's 15 minute eggs still had the tiniest bit of slop to their whites, although the yolks were great, so this morning I went with 16 minutes.  Well, sort of 16 minutes - I forgot to immediately set the timer, then dawdled a little over taking them out at the end.  But it wouldn't have been much over 16, honest!

 

Eggs in.  I find the seive very useful to stop them wandering around the pot:

 

Eggs1.png

 

And eggs out.  A quick rinse under the cold tap helps make it possible to break the shells without burned fingers:

 

Eggs2.png

 

Both whites and yolks were pretty close to perfect.  An observation, for what it's worth: I've always liked my poached or fried eggs to be nice and runny, so as to soak into my underlying toast.  Wifey, on the other hand, has always liked hers solid.  This method makes both of us happy!

 

As has been pointed out above, don't think of these as poached or soft boiled.  They're sous vide, and proud of it.

The color of those yolks....!!!!

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21 minutes ago, rotuts said:

@Anna N 

 

thanks

 

did you notice any difference in ' ease-of-peeling ? "

 

they look different , but that might be Operator Error ?

 The 75°C eggs were impossible to peel. I simply broke them in half and let the egg fall out. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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  • 3 months later...

Goldilocks and the three sous vide eggs ;)
 

Sous vide 75 degrees 13 minutes. Egg yolk is  runny. White is snotty and puddles like mad.
 
Second egg 
Sous vide 75 degrees 16 minutes. Egg Yolk is super creamy, not runny. White is cooked but very hard to remove from shell.
 
Next 90 degrees for 8 minutes!
 
Next 90 degrees for 8 minutes!

30411826_10155364259432703_6062795518868717568_n.jpg

30412397_10155364335112703_4252803537630658560_n.jpg

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90 degrees for 8 minutes ...most excellent soft boiled egg but hard to peel. Would be perfect in an egg cup! PS The Man peeled it not me so I don't know if he is just getting sick of peeling eggs ;)

Now hes trying 62 degrees for 45 minutes.

30441427_10155364377147703_3826353713665015808_n.jpg

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@Mmmpomps

 

there is a huge amount of stuff here on SV eggs

 

its very easy to get   a doz or more to your liking

 

you will have to look that up yoursef

 

as its TaxSeason here.

 

hydration a Must.

 

there is also a lot of info in iP's egs.

 

cheers !

 

Unknown-1.jpeg.b4363dfe6b2042205216a8749bd2040c.jpeg

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33 minutes ago, rotuts said:

@Mmmpomps

 

there is a huge amount of stuff here on SV eggs

 

its very easy to get   a doz or more to your liking

 

you will have to look that up yoursef

 

as its TaxSeason here.

 

hydration a Must.

 

there is also a lot of info in iP's egs.

 

cheers !

 

Unknown-1.jpeg.b4363dfe6b2042205216a8749bd2040c.jpeg

 

Yep after we started is when I came here for info :)  I have the IP eggs down pat...but sous vide we are still...eggperimenting ;)

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  • 2 years later...

Asking for help, please, with soft-boiled eggs.

 

My goal is runny yolks with the whites fully set. I’m not super interested in a two-step process, but would consider a really easy 2nd step. After a lot of experimentation (stovetop cook in water), I’ve been unable to achieve the runny yolk and fully set white(s). My compromise is to cook the eggs long enough to set up the whites and accept that the yolk is also set-up as well.

 

According to my research, the yolks and whites set up at different temperatures (the yolk sets up at a lower temperature). Further, there are two parts to the egg white and, I think, those two different parts set up at different temperatures as well.

 

I don’t have a sous vide machine. I would use sous vide mainly for eggs, so won’t get one unless I can achieve the soft yolk / set egg white. Even though the sous vide results posted above look great, I can still see that the whites are not set up. IMO, the sous vide yolk looks good even though it’s not runny.

 

Does anybody have a one-step method (with maybe an easy 2nd step) to achieve the runny yolk and set-up white (stovetop and/or sous vide)?

 

Thank you!

Edited by MokaPot
add spaces betw. paragraphs (log)
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Thank you, @mgaretz. So, he's saying that the 148-F / 64.4-C egg is the "perfect" egg. In the photo, I do see some runny-looking stuff on the perimeter, which you can just discard. But, surrounding the yolk, looks like the white is set up.

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freeze the egg. SV at 65C till the whites are cooked.

The theory is that the white will thaw and cook while the yolk is still thawing. The residual heat will warm (cook) the yolk

I haven't done it. You need to freeze a couple of dozen eggs then vary the time. When you find the right time you can tell us.

I have no idea what happens to eggs when you freeze them.

 

Seriously (I was kidding) Heston has a video on cooking the perfect boiled egg. I think it uses some of the same principle.

Do a search but its something like get a pot of water just boiling, add the egg, turn off the heat and wait 6 minutes.

The idea is the egg slowly heats through as the water loses heat and the white will reach 71C ? (white coagulates at 70C?) but the yolk wont reach this temperature because the water is cooling and as the egg is heating

You probably need to find the video. My memory is fading with the isolation (that's my excuse it has nothing to do with age...)

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I've tried the CSO and the IP, but not SV for soft cooked eggs.  Like, @MokaPot I want my whites to be completely cooked (but not hard) and my yolks flowing.  My mom, an average cook, was able to do this in a pot on the stove with enviable ease.  I never have.  The IP works the best for me.  The methods for trying to get them done SV just seem too fiddly to me.  But then, I'm not the kind of cook who likes to experiment and compare.  I want to know the right way to do something and to do it!  LOL

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