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Q&A -- Poaching Eggs

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This thread is only for questions and answers regarding the All About Eggs -- Poaching Eggs lesson . Please do not post any comments or contribute any of your own knowledge here. If you wish to make a contribution, please do so on The Wit & Wisdom of Eggs thread. Please do not engage in discussion or debate on this thread -- if you wish to have an egg-related discussion with other eGulleters, please start a topic in the regular Cooking forum. Thanks.

Important Note: Steven Shaw will be available this evening (Eastern Time US) to answer questions

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Great lesson!

Eggs Benedict is only one of a large number of classic variations on a theme.

Andy has kindly put up my The Big Egg List on the Wit and Wisdom thread. Try some - you may like them...

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Thank you, Jack. Everybody else: I will be out almost all day and into the evening today. I'll probably be able to check in once or twice, but I most likely won't answer questions until after 9:30pm (NYC time) tonight. Please ask your questions throughout the day, though. I'll get to them all tonight.

I'd also like to suggest, if you try poaching today and you have a digital camera, that you post some digital photos using ImageGullet: http://images.egullet.com

Thanks all.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Personally I like to add the vinegar as much for the taste as for the coagulating properties, I thing it gives an almost metallic tang to the whites, which I like (Not sure if anyone else would agree).

Think it comes from my Mother always adding quite a lot of vinegar. Malt vinegar actually. They just don't taste right without it too me!

On a side note, am I the only one who sometimes looks at something they have made, and decided how much better it would be with an egg on top? Something about the yolk which can help lubricate, and bind the flavours together.


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Strangely I poached some eggs for the first time this morning before reading your class. My mistake was boiling water. Doh!

If I have some time tonight, I will try and do some more and take pics.

Ben


Gimme what cha got for a pork chop!

-Freakmaster

I have two words for America... Meat Crust.

-Mario

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My question is regarding cooking poached eggs ahead of time and then reheating before service. Is it possible to have the yolks still runny, and does the texture of the whites stay the same after this? (i.e cook 3 min, stop with cold water, reheat 1 minute).

(I know there's nothing like trying, :smile: , Nevertheless, I appreciate any other comments and/or caveats you're aware of re: making them ahead). Thanks.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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My question is regarding cooking poached eggs ahead of time and then reheating before service. Is it possible to have the yolks still runny, and does the texture of the whites stay the same after this? (i.e cook 3 min, stop with cold water, reheat 1 minute).

(I know there's nothing like trying, :smile: , Nevertheless, I appreciate any other comments and/or caveats you're aware of re: making them ahead). Thanks.

That is probably exactly the correct procedure, especially as Julia suggest 4 minutes in the off-boil water for an egg to be served immediately. Reviewing this picture:

p8.jpg

These eggs were poached the day before for about 3.5 minutes), and you can see that the yolks are still quite runny, straight out of the cold water bath in the fridge.

Of course, I didn't actually reheat the whole egg in hot water and then test them.

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My question is about the Julia Child trick for preboiling older eggs before poaching proper. I'm very excited about trying it out, as I often think of poaching when my eggs have already been in the fridge for a few days or more. But I would think it could be quite difficult to remove those lightly boiled eggs successfully from their shells. Is there a trick to it? Or do they act just like ordinary raw eggs at this stage in the process? Thanks for the great and detailed lesson!


"went together easy, but I did not like the taste of the bacon and orange tang together"

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You're only boiling them for 10-15 seconds. They cool enough to handle within about 30 seconds. Just long enough for their boiling water to stop boiling when you lower the heat and add some vinegar. So, then you break them into the water just like normal, only a little bit of the white sticks to the shell. But it amazing how much less stringy bits you get.

Maybe that bit that clings to the shell is the watery part of the white (thin albumen)? And, since it isn't going into the pot, it doesn't get all stingly and just the thick albumen is there to remain wrapped around the yolk.

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When we started setting up Buffet Breakfast's in major Hotel dining rooms, especially in Honolulu serving "Eggs Benedict" we were initally awed by the success and had to come up with a method of pre-preparing for service as many as 90/120 dozen eggs for a weekend par stock.

This we were able to accomplish by using the kitchens largest Bain Marie service prior to Breakfast service by setting the steam table temperature to 203 degrees with a mixture of water, salt and vinegar. We then cracked up 60 dozen eggs into individual monkey dishes, set up into treys that were placed into the hot water bath for about 3 1/2 minutes strained into the next Bain Marie of Iced Cold Water to shock and set then placed into Large Staineless Roast pans with Cold Water and put into the Walk in Refrigerator until the total 120 dozen eggs were processed.

This was done every morning before regular Breakfast service began. The Julia method was always done if we would get lower then the par stock or we didn't receive a fresh shipment of eggs in a timely manner.

This to the best of my knowledge is still the method of choice at the many hotels who still continue serving "Eggs Hollandaise" as it's foolproof and consistant.

Also if the Buffet Business slowed down and there were two many eggs poached we would utilize the extra eggs by finish them off to a Hard Boiled Firmness and prepare as variations of Egg Salad for different Menus where there was never any complaints or even indications of our method being different to conventional Hard Boiled Egg preperation.

Irwin


I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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FG, I think the "vortex" actually works. I use it. However, you don't truly want a vortex. That implies that you would get the water swirling as quick as possible. You really just want the water moving at a mild pace in a circle. And then after you drop the egg, you want to swirl it some more. I'm interested to try other methods, but it does work.

I made poached egg with sauteed scallops and fish cakes in a champagne reduction finished with butter. Not as pretty as yours, though, that's for sure (fish cakes came out a little dark, too, though they weren't burnt; too much egg, I think):

scallopsandeggs2.jpg

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On a side note, am I the only one who sometimes looks at something they have made, and decided how much better it would be with an egg on top?

I hear you. I do this often. Sometimes I even follow through.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Does the vinegar flavor the egg? Do you also get a 'metallic' impression from the vinegar? Assume it is the acid that is doing the coagulating...so would lemon juice work?

There's certainly a noticeable flavor transfer from the vinegar to the egg. This may or may not be a good thing, depending on your tastes. But yes, a variety of acids will accomplish the same thing, including acid from citrus.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Is it possible to have the yolks still runny, and does the texture of the whites stay the same after this? (i.e cook 3 min, stop with cold water, reheat 1 minute).

The photo Rachel posted tells the whole story: the answer is yes, poached eggs reheat very, very well. I won't go so far as to say they're exactly the same as if you serve them straight from the poaching liquid, but they're pretty damn close. Some people even prefer the reheated ones because the whites set a little more.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I would think it could be quite difficult to remove those lightly boiled eggs successfully from their shells. Is there a trick to it? Or do they act just like ordinary raw eggs at this stage in the process?

The do indeed act very much like regular raw eggs. No trickery needed. As Rachel mentions above, you may find that a slight bit gets left behind in the shell, but it's not significant.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG, I think the "vortex" actually works. I use it. However, you don't truly want a vortex. That implies that you would get the water swirling as quick as possible. You really just want the water moving at a mild pace in a circle. And then after you drop the egg, you want to swirl it some more. I'm interested to try other methods, but it does work.

If what you're doing works for you, by all means keep doing it!

My personal experience with the vortex/swirling method is that it does more harm than good when I try it. This is also the opinion of the experts at the American Egg Board, who state, "Swirling the poaching liquid or creating a vortex merely serves to ruffle the delicate egg protein. Nicely-shaped eggs are easier to produce in relatively quiet water that is gently simmering."

One hypothesis: perhaps the "swirl it some more" phase you describe is similar in function to shaping the egg with a spoon. Maybe next time you'll try using still water, and then doing your post-egg-insertion swirl. In any event, please keep us posted on your poaching adventures!


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I think it makes it easier to bring everything together to shape it. Though I don't try to shape it much. I'm eager to try to shape it more in the future and especially try the pre-cooking.

My problem is that when I plop the egg in some generally gets loose. That happens much less when I swirl. I generally am using old eggs, though, since I go through a dozen eggs no quicker than every few weeks unless I go on a binge like today where I use nearly a dozen in two meals (without any baking).

I'd really like to try Irwin's method. Though, even more, I'd like to see 120 dozen eggs getting poached. That's amazingly impressive to me.

FG, have you used a digital thermometer to watch the temp while you've done your testing? My times seemed shorter.


Edited by ExtraMSG (log)

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On a side note, am I the only one who sometimes looks at something they have made, and decided how much better it would be with an egg on top?

I hear you. I do this often. Sometimes I even follow through.

As do I.

It then leaves the question of poached or fried (Quite often decided by a combination of how fresh my eggs are, and If already have a frying pan out)


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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FG, have you used a digital thermometer to watch the temp while you've done your testing? My times seemed shorter.

I'll take some temperature readings this week.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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It then leaves the question of poached or fried . . .

Or both. One of the best restaurant egg dishes I've had in recent memory was a seafood medley (scallops, lobster, calamari, and other white-ish fish, all poached or steamed or otherwise minimalistically cooked) with a poached-then-deep-fried egg on top. The egg, once cut open, created the sauce.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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It then leaves the question of poached or fried . . .

Or both. One of the best restaurant egg dishes I've had in recent memory was a seafood medley (scallops, lobster, calamari, and other white-ish fish, all poached or steamed or otherwise minimalistically cooked) with a poached-then-deep-fried egg on top. The egg, once cut open, created the sauce.

Sounds like the best of both worlds - but a potential disaster if I tried it!


I love animals.

They are delicious.

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Does the long-time low temperature method worked for poached eggs as well?

Might be the answer for quail eggs, that I can never manage to soft poach

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Okay, poached eggs have got to be my #1 way to eat eggs. But making them is the surest way to send me along my way to complete emotional breakdown. I make a perfect poached egg just often enough (maybe 30% of the time) to make me believe I've mastered it, only to have the next 2 times be absolute disasters.

Last night I tried your method, which is the same way I generally cook mine, except that I usually only put between 1-2" of water in the pot. Unfortunately, last night's poached eggs were not particularly successful. I poached 2 eggs, separately, since I'm incapable of concentrating more than one thing at once. First egg started out fine--I slid it into the pan, it sank to the bottom and I used my spoon to help gently coax the white around the yolk. Once the white looked fairly set, I left it alone only to turn around a minute later to find it floating and the white split open and the yolk bobbing merrily around the the pot! What?! Is a poaching egg supposed to float? :shock: I usually use much less water, so I'm not sure--maybe that's normal (well, other than the yolk falling out). The second was nearly a disaster when my water got too hot and started boiling due to pure neglect on my part, but I rescued it just in the nick of time. Also, my water turned scummy with lots of white foam floating on top.

Both eggs ended up cooked fine, with a set white and runny yolk (once I slipped the runaway yolk back in its jacket), but they weren't going to win any beauty contests. What I really want to be able to do is turn out a consistently good poached egg.


Julie Layne

"...a good little eater."

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Fundamentally, with poached eggs and especially with regard to their appearance, there is no substitute for incredibly fresh eggs. Certain results, and consistency of results are possible with <1 week old eggs that are simply not possible with older eggs. This means that supermarket eggs will never really do the trick.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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