Today, for your immense enjoyment and my amusement when I’d rather not be cleaning my house, I decided to try out an egg experiment. An eggsperiment if you will. See what I did there? I’m so funny. Anyway, here goes.
First off, let’s clarify that the number one factor in whether your hard cooked eggs peel nicely or not is AGE. I know there’s lots of tricks and tips out there and they may help, but if you want nicely peeled eggs your best way to start on the right foot is to use the OLDEST eggs you have. Obviously this is a tad problematic when you use delicious farm fresh eggs that are not very old. Hence the experiment to try and improve all our lives (you’re welcome).
The number two factor is the ice water bath! Don’t skip this step folks! The ice water causes the egg membrane to rapidly contract and pull away from the shell, giving you a nicer peel. Adding cool tap water to your hot pot is not gonna cut it! I appreciate the desire for less dishes to wash and speed, but you’ll thank yourself when you’re peeling all those bad boys if you do the extra step.
Method #1: Hard Boiled. Method #2: Steamed.
Method #1: Put all your eggs in a saucepan, fill with water just until all eggs are completely covered, add a tsp of baking soda, and cover. Bring to a boil (my recipe says “as quickly as possible”, if anyone knows how to make water boil faster, other than yelling at it, please let me know bc I have no idea). Once boiling, turn down heat to maintain a gentle boil. 12 minutes for small eggs, 15 minutes for medium eggs, 17 minutes for large eggs.
Method #2: Fill saucepan with about 1 inch of water. Place eggs in the steamer basket and put steamer basket on top of saucepan (most saucepan sets come with this steamer basket). Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat to maintain a gentle boil. Leave for 22 minutes (there were no alternative times given for various egg sizes with this one, but my eggs were large).
I apologize if my photo quality isn’t great today. My phone is full and went on strike yesterday, refusing to take any more photos until I help it out (so sorry, Phoney McPhonerson, if the 18 slow-mo videos I took of my dog yesterday pushed you to insanity. #sorrynotsorry) and my nice fancy camera was painfully far away, in the other room, so I used my sad, overworked, filthy iPad.
Once both batches of eggs were done, they went into the ice bathes, and there they stayed, for five full minutes.
…… Change the laundry over, pet the cat, tap the foot impatiently, aaaaaand Done.
The first of each batch peeled nearly identically. Which is to say easily, without incident. The colours of the yolks inside were identical and would make great devilled eggs.
Then I peeled the remaining eggs of each method. This is where I saw a bigger difference.
Method #1: Hard Boiled with Baking Soda
42% came out with small chunks or cracks in the egg itself. One fell apart entirely as you can see below.
17% had a cracked shell from the boiling process, and those cracks resulted in a sort of dimple in the egg. Not really a big deal unless you’re making devilled eggs and you want them really pretty looking.
22% came out with small chunks or cracks in the egg itself. One lost a good sized chunk out of its bottom, as you can see below.
0% (none) had a cracked shell from the cooking process, since they don’t get bumped and jostled around when they’re steaming, compared to their boiling counterparts.. mostly smooth, presentation worthy eggs.
I think the lesson here is that if you need supa fancy pretty eggs for making devilled eggs for the Queen or something, definitely make at least 25% more than you need, to account for some bad ones.
And the other lesson here is to not ask a Crazy Chicken Lady the best way to make hard cook eggs, unless you want to see a silly home EGGSperiment very shortly there after.