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Eggs


corinnesweeney
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To a recent posting someone mentioned":

In terms of eggs, the wives' tale says use the older (stale, perhaps, but not expired) ones in your fridge. Eggs that lay down, veddy fresh. Eggs that list to one side or stand on end, older. Eggs that float--treat 'em like fish.

I have always been so pleased to use VERY fresh eggs for baking and cooking. So fresh that I sit at the local dairy farmer's kitchen table as their son goes out to the old chicken coop to get my eggs.... $1.00/doz for these very large beautiful brown eggs.

Am I wrong using such fresh eggs? Would I be better to bake or cook with less fresh eggs?

Yes, I do use old ones if I am going to hard boil them.

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Quite a few years ago we had a few chickens. There was nothing better than gathering the fresh laid eggs, and making scrambled eggs, pancakes, whatever for breakfast!

I would think the only reason someone might say older eggs were better for baking was that that's a way to use them up, and not really notice they aren't so fresh. I used to bake a lot back then - cookies, muffins, breads. I would use store bought eggs in my baking only when I was short on the fresh laid ones.

And, everyone lways loved my baked goods! (Yeah, I'm bragging!) :cool:

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I seem to remember that I read that fresh eggs were best for poaching, frying, and such... and that a hard-boiled egg was easier to peel if it was a few days older...

Does this ring a bell for anyone? McGee isn't close by

All of this is kind of academic for most of us because we only get supermarket eggs and God knows how old they are.

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I've raised chickens for many years, the freshest eggs are best for most purposes, although...

Hard-cooked eggs are easier to peel with eggs that have been stored in the refrigerator for a week.

Ease of peeling is related to pH, a measure of acid/alkaline levels.

Older eggs which have lost some of their carbon dioxide, are more alkaline and easier to peel.

Also interesting to note when making egg white foams:

Older, thin egg whites whip faster and yield slightly more volume, however...

fresh, thick egg whites make a more stable foam that holds up better in a soufflé or cake.

Egg whites which have been frozen first then thawed, whip more easily and with better volume than fresh, making good foams and cakes of high quality.

And room-temperature egg whites whip faster than cold ones.

Warmer eggs are also easier to separate.

~Amy
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I disagree on " thick fresh egg whites" being better for a souffle or cake. Your cake or souffle will be denser (you will also notice that you have less batter). This is not what I am trying to achieve in a cake or souffle. Heat and flour "sets" your foam. The whites are in there to put air in your batter.

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I seem to remember that I read that fresh eggs were best for poaching, frying, and such...  and that a hard-boiled egg was easier to peel if it was a few days older...

Does this ring a bell for anyone?  McGee isn't close by

All of this is kind of academic for most of us because we only get supermarket eggs and God knows how old they are.

From the USDA:

"3. PACK DATE:

The day of the year that the eggs are processed and placed into the carton must also be shown on each carton with the USDA grade shield. The number is a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year. For example, January 1 is shown as "001" and December 31 as "365." Typically, eggs are packed within 1 to 7 days of being laid. The pack date in this example is "218", meaning that the eggs were packed on the 218th day of the year, or in this example, August 5. If your carton shows a USDA grade shield, you can determine the date that the eggs were packed from the carton date code.

I take this to mean that if I use all eggs within 2 wks, the oldest ones can actually be almost a month old. Scary!

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I disagree on " thick fresh egg whites" being better for a souffle or cake. Your cake or souffle will be denser (you will also notice that you have less batter). This is not what I am trying to achieve in a cake or souffle. Heat and flour "sets" your foam. The whites are in there to put air in your batter.

Read On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee and CookWise by Shirley O. Corriher for greater detail on this subject.

More opinions on fresh eggs...

From The Cake Bible Rose Levy Beranbaum:

"Fresh egg whites are thicker so they take longer to beat. The resulting foam has less volume but more stability and losses less volume when folded into other ingredients. Older egg whites are thinner so they beat more quickly and yield greater but less stable volume. When folded into other ingredients they lose the extra volume.

The flavor of fresh egg whites is slightly superior to that of older whites, so I tend to prefer them for recipes like mousses where the egg white does not get cooked."

In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley is very specific about whipping egg whites: For best results, whites should be at least three or four days old - but less than a week old. And egg whites should be beaten at room temperature or slightly warmer. They will be more elastic and will expand to a larger web, incorporating more air.

In The Baker's Dozen Cookbook:

Most bakers prefer fresher egg whites because they are more viscous and can be beaten into fluffier peaks.

~Amy
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I have read plenty of Harold Mcgee. I am also a member of the Bakers Dozen (yep, my name is inside the cover). I don't really care for The Cake Bible.

I disagree with you about egg white foams. I have 20 years of professional baking experience. Try making a souffle and a chiffon cake with fresh whites and older whites. Start the whites on low speed with a pinch of salt. When they are foamy, turn the sppeed to high. Gradually add your sugar when they start to form soft peaks. For a souffle, fold them into your base all at once. For the chiffon cake, fold the whites into your egg/ oil/ flour mixture.

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Fresh eggs hard-boiled will peel as easily as older ones. When the eggs are done empty the pan of hot water and immediately fill with cold. If it's a heavy pan with residual heat empty the pan again and refill with cold water. When the eggs have cooled, peel.

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Start the whites on low speed with a pinch of salt. When they are foamy, turn the sppeed to high. Gradually add your sugar when they start to form soft peaks.

Why do you add salt?

I add cream of tartar.

The Baker's Dozen Cookbook pages 142-143.

~Amy
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Salt will do the same thing as the cream of tartar (and lemon juice will too). I use salt because I want salt in my cake and if I introduce it to the whites later, it will deflate them some. The salt instead of tartar gives me a head start in introducing the salt in the recipe.

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