The science behind the perfectly boiled egg

The science behind the perfectly boiled egg

Cooking time, temperature, and heat source: All kinds of things play a role when boiling an egg. That's why cooking an egg perfectly is a science in itself. With these tips you will succeed every time.

Is the water boiling?

Let's start by checking the water temperature. Always boil water before adding eggs. This is more accurate than putting the eggs in cold water. Then you always have to stay alert to know when the water will boil.

By the way, water only boils when it boils everyone The surface is boiling, so its temperature is exactly 100 degrees Celsius. That's when you set the egg timer.

Is it reasonable to make a hole in your egg? There is an air chamber on the convex side of the egg. Once the temperature inside the egg rises, the air in this “chamber” expands. If you make a hole in the egg with an egg hole, air can escape. This greatly reduces the possibility of the eggshell breaking during cooking. The egg also gets a nicer round shape.

Soft vegetables and hard eggs

Once the eggs are placed in boiling water, the cooking process begins. It is very characteristic that the contents of the egg become fixed. Vegetables, grains and legumes soften when heated and the liquids evaporate and turn into gas.

The fact that eggs become firm has to do with the protein molecules that are abundant in the egg. To avoid confusion, we will now call these proteins proteins. Knowing how proteins change during cooking will help you understand what you need to pay attention to when cooking an egg.

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Proteins curl up like balls of wool

Proteins are rectangular, rope-shaped molecules coiled like balls of wool. When heated, they expand and form long threads that then form bonds with each other. You can say that untwisted wool threads tie knots together. This creates a strong network that we know as the egg coagulation. The liquid inside becomes solid.

Egg protein consists of only ten percent protein. The rest is water. Oddly enough, the egg yolk contains more proteins than the egg white: seventeen percent.

This is how you make a soft, upside-down egg

Because egg yolks and whites contain different types of proteins, each with their own coagulation properties, the temperature at which they harden varies. The yolk becomes solid at a temperature of 62 degrees Celsius and completely solidifies at a temperature of 70 degrees. For egg proteins, this value ranges between 63 and 80 degrees.

Temperature is the critical factor in coagulation of proteins. Cooking time only serves the purpose of reaching a certain temperature. Let's say you boil an egg for 45 minutes at 65 degrees (in a water bath or temperature-controlled steam oven), the egg whites will still be fairly soft, while the yolks are already set. This is how you get an upside down boiled egg.

Just add another minute

In addition to water temperature, there are more factors that determine the cooking time and desired doneness of an egg. The temperature and size of the eggs, as well as the amount of eggs you are cooking and the heat source.

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Guidelines for the perfect hard-boiled egg
Gentle: 5 minutes
Semi-soft: 6 minutes
Hard: 10 minutes

An egg from the refrigerator (about 4 degrees) takes longer to reach the temperature at which the proteins coagulate than an egg at room temperature. This easily saves a minute. The size of the egg is also important. In an XL egg the proteins will coagulate less quickly than in a small egg.

Additionally, the more eggs you cook at the same time, the lower the water temperature will be and the longer it will take to cook. Finally, the capacity of the heat source plays a role: How long does it take for the water to boil again after adding the eggs? The smaller the capacity, the longer you will have to wait for your perfect egg.

House East West is the best

All of these factors ensure that your eggs will do better at home. There you know the pan, heat source and associated cooking time. So the exact time to get your perfect egg is a matter of trial and error.

Does intimidation make peeling easier? Once the egg is cooked, run it under cold water. You do this initially to stop the cooking process and cool the eggs a bit, making them easier to handle while peeling. Numerous tests have shown that exfoliation itself does not become easier. What matters is the cooking method and age of the egg. Placing eggs in boiling water (which you should do anyway) gives the best chance of a peelable egg. Furthermore, in general: the older the egg, the better its peelability.

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Photo: Astrid Zuidema

The chef delves into cooking with knowledge Eki Marin On the science behind cooking. He has written several cookbooks and runs an online cooking platform full of videos and recipes.

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