Tag Archives: teachings

Should eggs be at room temp when baking?

Second myth on my Mum’s list:

Eggs should be at room temperature when baking a cake, so don’t use them directly from the fridge. Take them out at least an hour ahead.

And I am happy to inform you that she is right, again: eggs should be at room temperature when baking.

Why? It basically has to do with stress. The poor guys get stressed out in the fridge, and need a little “chilling down” (ha) before getting whipped into shape (double ha). Room temperature eggs will break up more easily when whisked into a batter. Cold eggs can actually make your batter firm up – so make that effort to wait at least 30min (to an hour) before using your cold eggs for a cake.

But, there are a couple of “buts”!

  • Avoid leaving your eggs on the counter-top for hours… Eggs deteriorate more in one day at room temperature than one week in the fridge!
  • If your recipe requires you separate the whites from the yolk, do so when the eggs are cold – it is easier! How annoying is it to try and catch that bit of yolk that accidentally fell on the whites?…

I also learned some interesting tricks when researching this myth true fact:

  • Once cracked, eggs will keep in the fridge for about two days if properly sealed. Whites even last up to 7-10 days in the fridge, and a month if frozen! Joy of Baking suggests you freeze them in individual plastic ice cube trays and then transfer the cubes into a plastic freezer bag. To defrost them, just put them in the fridge overnight. Careful what you use them for though: after freezing, the whites can get watery and shouldn’t be used in recipes where they are the sole leavening agent.
  • If you’re in a terrible hurry and don’t have 30-60min to warm your eggs, just place them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15min, ta-dah: you have room temperature eggs!
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Does salt prevent eggs from cracking?

The first potential myth I decided to look up was:
Always salt cold water before boiling an egg – it prevents the shell from cracking.

Bare in mind that I am not going to libraries or talking to specialists – I’m sitting on my couch and Googling this stuff, much like you can. Still, I will try to get as “scientific” as possible and will provide you with my references.

I must say, I was quite impressed with the amount of popular opinions, posts and articles I found by just typing in: boiling eggs salt water. Apparently, my Mum isn’t the only one defending this whole salt theory. Many egg opinionators defend such a thesis, adding that it is easier to peel eggs that have been cooked in salted water. However, most of my sources did not provide a reasonable – scientific? – justification for this.

That’s until I ran into this blog. I have to confess I haven’t read all the guy has to say about eggs yet, but he sure seems to know plenty about them. Or, at least, it would seem he has researched the subject more than most.

In short, here’s what Khymos says:

  1. Eggs crack because the air trapped inside them expands during the heating process.
  2. Eggs’ pores are teeny, so the expanding air can’t escape fast enough through them.
  3. This is particularly true for eggs that aren’t very fresh (as the pores become gradually clogged upon storage).
  4. There are two ways to avoid the cracking of the eggs: pierce the eggs before boiling them or add salt (or vinegar) to the water!

The reason for this is: adding salt to the water will help the egg white coagulate faster and plug any crack formed.

Yay! Not a myth – Mum was right!! Give it up, D.

(I’m not spending 31 euros on this, but if you really want to, there’s a 1973 issue of the British Poultry Science entirely dedicated to the matter.)

One down, two to go.

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Mum says it’s true.

Hi reader – thanks for joining my nutty blog about eggs. If you want to know how I came up with this idea, it’s fully documented in the About section.

Now: for the first post!

My Mum has always had 3 rules about cooking eggs which I follow and accept as true wisdom. I’m not exactly sure why, but my boyfriend D. keeps on doubting the scientific grounds on which these rules lay. I’ve always chosen to stick with what Ma’ says and never actually ran a background check on her egg creed. So, whenever my actions reflect one of her teachings, I defend myself saying, “It’s true, my Mum told me so.” But, since I will be starting a blog about eggs, I should – or inevitably will – find out the if it’s all bollocks or not.

At least for one more day though, I will indulge in the belief that it’s all true, scientific, carved in stone. Tomorrow I’ll find out if it’s not.

Here goes:

1. Always salt cold water before boiling an egg – it prevents the shell from cracking.

2. Eggs should be at room temperature when baking a cake, so don’t use them directly from the fridge. Take them out at least an hour ahead.

3. When washing dishes that have been used for raw or runny eggs, use cold water – warm water will cook the remaining egg and make it harder to wash off. (Same applies to milk, by the way.)

I can’t remember any other particular rule, but I do think there was something about a weekly egg allowance for an optimal diet. D. defends that theory too (he puts it at 3-4 a week) but I believe I’ve read articles stating otherwise. Anyway, I will also get to the bottom of that one, it’s particularly important if I’m going to start cooking eggs like there’s no tomorrow.

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