Just a quick update. Friday morning’s soft-boiled eggs were even MORE perfect than the batch from Thursday, but that’s because I screwed up the first time. See, I was trying to get a little more runny yolk without leaving lots of gooey white, so I was experimenting with the timer.
It turns out that 3 minutes of boiling is not enough. I cut into the first egg, and it gooey-gushed all over my hand.
Remember my comment about “throwing them against the wall to see if they’re done?” Well, I couldn’t resist dropping them into the sink to see how they splattered. It turns out that an under-cooked soft-boiled egg splatters pretty well, AND yields a satisfactory “SPLUTCH” noise as it does so. And the sink is easier to clean AND easier to explain than the walls would have been.
4 minutes of boiling, that’s the ticket.
23 thoughts on “Soft-Boiled Eggs, Redux again”
At a guess, I’d say the relevant differences between your recipe and theirs(If you can call looking at a clock a recipe) include the size of the pot, the amount of water in said pot, the output of your stove, the quantity of eggs, and, of course, the number of eggs in question.
Oh, yes. My recipe uses the smallest pot in the house, roughly 2 cups of cold tap-water (fill the pot until the eggs try to float), 3 eggs, and a burner set on high. I’ve kept those elements constant, varying only the cooking time, so I can establish a proper process for “soft-boiled breakfast for me in my house.”
Truly a well-conducted experiment. Alter only one variable at a time.
Now you can consider trying it with a larger pot, for when you’re cooking more eggs… hmm, that’s more than one variable altered at once. Well, you could look at it as attempting to devise a mathematical formulae…
Or you could do your job, and leave the kitchen experiments for spare time, as I doubt you’d care to discover a mathematical formulae for perfect soft-boiled eggs, not the least because it would probably involve heavy research into your stove.
Three minutes is, of course, the canonical British hard boiled egg. But, the time obviously varies with technique, and I have to confess having never quite figured it out myself.
So: What, exactly, is your technique? Place eggs in specified amount of cold water, bring to boil, boil for four minutes? Boil water, add eggs to boiling water, boil for four minutes? Something else?
Eh. Never mind. I shoulda refreshed before I asked. 🙂
The one pointer you don’t have. The four-minute timer starts when the sides and bottom of the pot are covered with bubbles, and the pot is (by experience) about 30 seconds away from a full, rolling boil.
Thanks for the tip. 🙂 I’ll try it that way and see how it works out for me.
Oh — any salt in the water?
Oh, and the water is being boiled at an altitude of 4756 feet above sea level. 🙂
I don’t really have a lot of control over that. 🙂
Sure you do! You’re just lazy. If you were really interested in duplicating his results, you’d move to a house of appropriate altitude, or build an egg-cooking platform, or charter a plane or something. 😀
I think a bell jar and vacume pump would be somewhat easier, just lower the air pressure to the required value.
I knew someone who used to make merangue puffs that way. A blob of mix on a hot plate and slowly reduce the pressure while cooking…
Mind you, he did have a job making exotic foamed metals.
The altitude may actually be the reason for the 4 minutes vs 3.
Water boils at a lower temperature at lower air pressures. Therefore, you may have to cook the eggs longer for the same heat exchange level.
…I read once that on top of Everest, a three-minute egg becomes a 20-minute egg, and you can’t make tea or coffee at all because water boils at too low a temperature, so you have to use instant or concentrate (Camp Coffee or the like). I don’t know how much the actual boiling-point drop is at 4750 feet above sea level, though, and frankly I’ve forgotten how to calculate it.
Re: Yup …..
I believe you calculate it consulting your old Boy Scout handbook, which you always have handy. Be prepared!
Re: Yup …..
Never mind the Handbook, a Boy Scout should always have his Staff!
…let them do it….
Re: Yup …..
A truly civilized visitor to such rarified altitudes brings along a pressure cooker to prepare a proper cup of tea. Oh, and an extra sherpa to lug it along.
Ya know what else is great, and low carb? Scotch Eggs!
Don’t worry, Howard, there’s no Scotch in them, but it is a true Barbarian dish!
Step one: Take one (per serving) hard-boiled and pealed egg in your left hand
Step two: Cover it in a thin shell of Pork Sausage that is presumably in your right had to legitimize holding the egg in your left
Step three: Deep fat fry that sucker until the sausage is done.
Those things last for-friggin-ever if you want to store them, or at least a week by my personal experience. Also, three of them may actually kill you, but I’ve never dared try.
It sounds barbaric, but somehow I doubt the barbarians had access to sausage grinders or deep-fryers. Now, if you’d boiled the egg in a sheep’s stomach, I’d be on board with you.
Considering that the Golden Horde used to tenderize meat by putting it under their saddles, I bet they did have sausage. Also deep frying just requires a good heavy pot and some fat. Those are easily available.
There is this neat gizmo available a lot of grocery stores. It’s a plastic egg half that changes color. You put it in the pot with your eggs and watch it to see how far the color change goes. It’s got a scale printed on it. They last about 4 years before it separates and you have to buy a new one.
What a waste! I bet you didn’t record that “SPLUTCH”…
May I refer you to the efforts of Prof. Milligan in the late 1950’s to obtain the percussive sound of a sock full of custard for a Goon Show…experiments that included the preparation of an egg custard in the BBC canteen which was duly introduced to Prof. Milligans sock, the sock then peing applied with some force to a wall, alas with disappointing results. (Source for this: The Parkinson interviews). The eventual successful attempts were utilized in a show available on CD: “The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill-on-Sea”. Also on others, for Mr Milligan was not noted for an unwillingness to reuse successful comic elements…
If for some reason this whole Schlock Mercenary thing doesn’t work out for you, you might have a decent career ahead of you as a foley artist.
I worked as an audio engineer and record producer for a while. I did sound synthesis back in the old analog days, and made the transition to FM synthesis when the Yamaha DX7 revolutionized the industry. I even got good at hybrid synthesis — FM synthesis with samples as both fundamentals and as modulators.
Foley would be fun. The problem with it is that you don’t own the intellectual properties you’re working on. You’re a tradesman, turning the crank forever to make money. I want to be able to retire on royalties someday, thank-you-very-much.
Wow, yet another similarity in our personalities. I’m an audio engineer, and just got a job at Widget Post in LA. I’ll be leaving the beautiful Pacific Northwest for Sunny Santa Monica in a week and a half. And I’m definitely a synthesis junkie.
But I am planning on keeping up my composition and performance skills, as royalties are what put me through college. They’re starting to dry up a bit, so its time to put forth new art.
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