waiting for water to boil - starting eggs in cold water

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by siduri, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. siduri

    siduri

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    Almost everyone says you should start soft or hard boiled eggs in cold water and then time them starting from when the water boils. 

    Now this, for me, is next to impossible.  One thing is to watch your egg as it cooks when you crack it into a frying pan - fine - it;s a very short cooking and you might want to baste it or decide to flip it, or wet and cover it, and it requires some activity and is done in a minute

    But waiting around for water to boil - now THAT is an activity that is so mindless and time consuming that i just can;t do it.  I'm usually trying to do a dozen things at once, and then come back to the pot and find the water boiling away and don;t know how long it;s been. 

    So i always cook eggs lowering them carefully into boiling water and time them from there. 

    It's surprising how many cookbooks neglect to give the times with a boiling water start.  Nowadays of course there is internet, but I wonder - if you boil them starting in cold water, do you actually stand around doing nothing, waiting for water to boil???
     
  2. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Whatever works best for YOU, is the right way.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  3. siduri

    siduri

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    Thanks, BDL, i always do things my way anyway /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif, as you know.  But i wondered why (and more, HOW, without getting distracted).

    Many (most) cookbooks only tell you the times for cold water start. 
     
  4. jimbo68

    jimbo68

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    I start eggs in tap hot water.  In my most used pot it takes around 3 minutes for water to boil.  I put the egg in the water, add the cooking time and the boiling time together, and boil for a little less than the time indicated.  A 5 minute egg will take slightly less than 8 minutes.  I do allow the egg to come to room temperature as much as possible.

    IMO you will get less cracked eggs if started in non boiling water, and I suspect that this is the main reason for the instructions.
     
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    It's not necessary to go around changing the cookbooks for that.  Nothing wrong with cooking them as you do as long as it works for you.  I can't do it that way because I inevitably end up dropping the egg in there and it breaks, yuck.  So I place the eggs gently into the pot and then fill it with water.  Water boils fast for me, I don't mind it much.
     
  6. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Starting in cold water makes for very consistent finish times calculated after the water begins boiling.  Whether this, the idea that fewer eggs will crack, or something else is the primary impetus behind the instructions to start with cold water I can't say as I'm no good at others' motivation and not even terribly sure of my own.

    I use a cold water start to get the texture of yolk I want for any given purpose, while avoiding green yolk skins.  I don't "multi-task" as much as Siduri, though.

    BDL 
     
  7. maryb

    maryb

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    I do the cold water start, bring to a boil, turn off the heat and cover for 20 minutes. Run under cold water. Perfect eggs every time.
     
  8. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Yep.  I can never think of anything else I need to be doing in the kitchen while waiting for water to boil.

    mjb.
     
  9. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    From reading the intial post, I assume that you use a timer after putting the eggs in boiling water. Do a cold water start one time and stand there watching. Use a timer from the get go. When the eggs are done, check the timer. From that point on, you can do the eggs either way without having to stand there because you will know the time for both methods.
     
  10. petalsandcoco

    petalsandcoco

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    I usually put the eggs in cold water (for soft center) ,bring to a boil, the second it starts to boil I put the timer for 3 minutes. For hard boiled....well just a bit longer as you know. What do I do in the meantime ? Anything else. I am not about to watch an egg cook. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    Talking about soft centered eggs Siduri, did you ever eat them in an egg cup ? When my grandmother's sisters came over  from England they had my sister and I stay with them once a month on a Saturday night. Now what made this so special was that they would prepare one egg, perfectly cooked  ( the whites had to be perfect ), placed in an egg holder with one slice of toast cut into  four long slices and a little container of jam ,  a fancy tea pot & tea cups with lace table cloth , mini salt and pepper shakers and...well you get the rest.

    Here is what my egg holder looked like ( similar ) :

    Some of my fondest childhood memories with them were spent Sunday mornings, around the kitchen table, telling us stories of England and how they wanted to bring us back to home (theirs). All of this because of a soft boiled egg, cooked perfectly.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I too remember my childhood egg holders fondly.  I wonder if I can go and dig them up at my Grandmother's house.  I love me some soft boiled eggs with toast soldiers.
     
  12. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    That's ok, not many are capable of multi-tasking successfully like women do.
     
  13. duckfat

    duckfat

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    Try a different method. ;)

    At home I just bring my water to a boil and then turn it down to a low roll. Pull your eggs out of the fridge several minutes in advance so the shells don't crack when you put them in the water.  Use a slotted spoon to set the eggs in the pot. Boil ten minutes for hard boiled, six for soft boiled, drain immediately and set under cold running water for a few minutes before peeling. If you have any trouble peeling soft boiled eggs add a teaspoon of baking soda the last few minutes of cooking.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  14. ordo

    ordo

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    I'm surprised to read soft boiled eggs take 6' or so. All of my life i've doing them in 3', half of the white done, half raw. 

    Edit to post: all's in the quality of the eggs. I mean, the cracking, the taste, the timing... isn't it?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  15. siduri

    siduri

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  16. duckfat

    duckfat

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    When I use the method I described I find 6 minutes is perfect for me but I like my whites set and a runny yolk.

    If you put cold eggs from the fridge in boiling water many will crack and I've found that to be true with farm fresh eggs and store bought which in most cases are a bit older.

    Timing shouldn't change based on freshness but it certainly will change with technique and personal preference. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif

    Dave
     
  17. teamfat

    teamfat

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    Regardless of the cooking method, I try to remember to get my eggs up to room temp beforehand.

    mjb.