Hard Boiling Eggs Crack and Leak

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by tombrooklyn, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. tombrooklyn

    tombrooklyn

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    Chow.

    I hard boiled seven eggs in about a quart and half of water in a 2 qt. approx. Revere saucepan. I put the eggs in cold water to cover about 1 1/2" and placed uncovered on a maximum flame on a residential stove.

    Some of eggs cracked and leaked white stuff.

    How can I avoid this defect in the future?

    Signed,
    Boiling In Brooklyn
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Boiled eggs is a misnomer. You shouldn't boil them. Simmer them gently. The hard boil bounces the eggs around and leads to the result you experienced. The hard boil also produces a more rubbery white and an overcooked yolk.

    Simmer. There are also instructions for a post boiled egg, but I don't know those off hand. The idea is that the eggs are brought to a boil and turned off. Residual heat finishes the cooking gently.

    Phil
     
  3. tombrooklyn

    tombrooklyn

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    Hi Phil:

    I followed Julia Childs recipe which I posted in another thread entitled "Julia's HB Egg Shenanigans" except I skipped the reboil thing.

    To wit: I placed eggs in cold water in an uncovered saucepan, brought to a boil, took off the heat almost immediately, covered and let sit for 17 minutes.

    The cracking problem occured about 5-7 minutes into the heating stage, long before the water even reached a boil.

    I should have explained this above. Sorry.

    =Tom
     
  4. chrose

    chrose

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    The recipe that has always worked for me is that I put the eggs in cold water, bring it to a boil and then turn down to a rolling simmer and cook 9 minutes. Put them in ice water and all is right in the egg world. (works most of the time for me)
     
  5. jock

    jock

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    You can avoid the crack and leak problem by taking a push pin or similar object and poke a little hole in the "fat" end of the egg. There is a little air pocket there and if the egg cooks too rapidly the air expands and causes the egg to crack.

    Jock
     
  6. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I have only used the pin trick for quail eggs, not for regular. Like the rest said, bring it to a boil and then lower the temp to a simmer.
     
  7. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    I'm with Chrose and Nicko, and I never have trouble with breakage.

    Putting them in cold water right away makes it easier to peel them without ripping the whites. My theory is that it causes a film of moisture to deposit between the egg and the shell, allowing the shell to slip off easily. But then again, maybe the cold water makes the egg shrink away from the shell.

    Which is it, you experts out there!
     
  8. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    Would seem the case Mezz, heat expands and cold contracts.
     
  9. suzanne

    suzanne

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    You could also try adding a little vinegar to the water. It helps the white to coagulate faster if the shell should spring a leak -- so that less oozes out.

    But I use the method of put the eggs in cold water, bring gently to a rolling boil, turn off heat, cover, and let them sit. Ten minutes is enough for a just-cooked-through yolk; longer for a firmer yolk. Never have a breakage problem, and I've done this with eggs of all ages. Oh, and I crack the shell a little before I chill the cooked eggs in cold water. I find the little bit of water that seeps IN makes the eggs easier to peel.
     
  10. chrose

    chrose

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    Funny thing, I caught part of a commercial this weekend that claimed to peel the perfect hard boiled egg. It looked like a contraption that looked like to cones end to end, one smaller than the other. You put the egg in one end and attach the other to a faucet and the water pressure between the shell and egg slips it off. Like I said, I only saw part of the commercial. Looked interesting in a Ron Popiel sort of way!
     
  11. capecodder

    capecodder

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    Using an older egg will make peeling easier.
    It has something to do with the fact that an older egg has a smaller air space and the thin membrane lining between the egg and shell becomes thicker - and thus, slips more easily off the shell.

    The push pin hole in the wide end does eliminate the threat of the egg shell's cracking during the cooking process.

    If your hard boiled eggs have a thing green line around the yolk, you are cooking them too long. The green line includes sulfur dioxide which gives badly cooked eggs an unappealing odor.
     
  12. schoolchef

    schoolchef

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    hello,
    I would have to agree with Suzanne with the vinegar. Acid always coagulates protein. Kind of when you poach eggs for the benedict dish you usually add a couple of tablespoons of an acid to the water. Try an experiment: take two small sauce pans, one with a small amount of vinegar, and the other with just plain water and watch what happens!
    To answer your question, I believe its' the thin white that is leaching out into the water when the shell cracks in the absence of an acid. I heard somewhere that many eggs being processed develop micro-fractures in the shell which excellerate the cracking when heats applied, and the pressure forces out some of the thin white through slight expansion. Cooking really is a science!
    schoolchef