Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

For hard-cooked eggs it is best to start with cold water

For years I have made hard-cooked eggs by putting them in a pan covered with cold water, bringing to the boil, then covering and letting sit off the heat for 20 minutes. The eggs cooked fine but they were sometimes very difficult to peel, particularly as I always use very fresh eggs from the farmers market. The problem was that the thin membrane just under the shall would sometimes stick to the egg white like glue. I recently found out that the problem with this technique is the relatively slow heating of the egg, which encourages that membrane to stick to the white. In contrast, rapid heating lessens the sticking, so putting the eggs into already boiling water is better from the peeling standpoint. But boiling like that can cause cracking because the eggs bounce around, so better yet is to steam the eggs.

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan. Put the eggs in a steamer basket and lower into the pan, then cover. Steam for 13 minutes then cool as peel as usual. I think you’ll appreciate the difference!

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One response to “For hard-cooked eggs it is best to start with cold water

  1. schmidtjeanette May 21, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Helpful tip my friend. Furthermore, when you want to slice the boiled egg, you need to let it quite cool. Besides you could dab some cold water on the knife, it will smooth and beautiful. Additionally, you could use dental floss to cut eggs as well.

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