@dginsburg. Sorry to have to start another discussion but for some reason the forum won’t let me respond on your thread.
Eggs are an interesting food. There are several different proteins in the whites and in the yolk that denature (cook) at different temperatures. The proteins in the yolk start to cook at a lower temperature than those in the whites. That is why the yolk firms up before the whites.
So if you cook your eggs sous vide, the entire egg has time to equilibrate in temperature and the difference in properties of the different proteins will be evident. If , however, you drop your eggs into boiling water for say 3 minutes then the heat from the water will not have had time to reach the center of the egg giving you a firm white (its’ temperature having gone above its’ cooking point) and a runny yolk (its’ temperature having never reached its’ cooking point).
So, you could play around and sous vide your yolk to the desired consistency then drop the egg in boiling water for a couple minutes to firm the white.
If you wish to read some very interesting work along these lines then google Herve This . ( last name spelled THIS ).
French Phd in molecular gastronomy who introduced the world to the 65°C egg.
I just got my unit yesterday, and tried cooking two eggs in the shell at 65C for 13 minutes. This is my first attempt at sous vide cooking. I vacuum sealed the eggs first, heated the water to 65C and completely immersed them. The eggs were still pretty runny–both the whites and the yolk. I double checked the water temp with a digital thermometer and the temp was spot on. I probably need to cook longer?
@rbh1515 Everything I’ve seen says you need to cook the eggs a lot longer than 13 minutes. I think I’ve usually seen 40-45 minutes for sous vide eggs. You also don’t really have to seal up the eggs in a vacuum bag either, though that will stop them from rolling around the cooking vessel. Personally, I’ve never had any problems with eggs cracking just putting them straight into the water as long as I put them in with a wire spider or tongs so they don’t crash down to the bottom.
Elangomatt is right. 13 minutes is not long enough for temperature equilibration.
There is an excellent discussion of sous vide eggs on the serious eats website.
It seems one of the biggest things you can do to improve the consistency of the whites when sous videing eggs is to use Grade AA eggs vs Grade A, which is what most grocery stores sell. I’m also going to try some local yard eggs to see if that makes a difference as well.
Also, leaving the egg in the shell for a little while after removing it from the water bath may also be key in getting the whites to the correct consistency, since eggs continue cooking in the shell unless you shock them with an ice bath. I made two eggs, and spent a minute or two scooping whites which were more done out of the shell, while still finding some of the whites between the done parts right at the shell and the perfect yolk, a bit runny. The second egg had whites that were less runny than the first, which leads me to believe the wait time made some difference in how runny the whites were. This is something I’m going to want to test further, but I’d suggest 13-14 minutes @175F, and then a short rest period of between 1-3 minutes before cracking the egg open.
How about making 6 eggs and then testing resting time in the hot shell before cracking them open and seeing what the differences are to both the whites and the yolk? Open one immediately, and then do the next 5 in 1 minute intervals? I think that we might actually “crack” the mystery of the perfect sous vide soft boiled egg this way. If not, the yolk’s on us… LOL
If you would like a firmer white – try boiling (yet) the egg(s) for 3 minutes and then running them under water for 1-2 minutes before putting them into the circulator … the yolks will still be perfect but the whites a bit more firm like a nice soft boiled egg.
SOFT COOKED EGGS
Markc is right. the yolks cook at a lower temperature than the whites, so the trick is to cook the whites without overcooking the yolks. Sous-vide, being so slow is not appropriate.
I have a foolproof, scientifically tested method, that is simpler than sous-vide and gets breakfast on the table in a lot less time:
1 - Set up a 3 quart saucepan, with about an inch of water, a steamer basket and a cover.
2 - Bring the water to a medium boil.
3 - When the water is boiling, go to the refrigerator and take the eggs, as many as you want, directly from the refrigerator to the steaming pot.
4- JUMBO eggs take exactly 7 1/2 minutes; Large eggs would take less time; Do not lift the cover, to look at the eggs. They won’t be doing anything interesting, just sitting there.
5 - Run the eggs under cold water, to stop the cooking.
6 - Crack them open, sprinkle with your favorite seasonings, and ENJOY.
The water never stops boiling, no matter how many eggs you add, since the eggs are above the water, and the yolks stay cold enough to not overcook, being in the steamer for a very short time.
I have another, North African recipe, 12-hour eggs, cooked in coffee grounds and onion skins, that I think would be ideal for the sous-vide treatment. Yummy! I can’t wait for my heater, ordered today, to arrive.
Also, leaving the egg in the shell for a little while after removing it from the water bath may also be key in getting the whites to the correct consistency, since eggs continue cooking in the shell unless you shock them with an ice bath.
I don’t think that would work, I will explain why below:
When you cook any protein conventionally - placing it for a relatively short time on a very hot surface, or in a pot of 100 degree water you create a temperature differential inside the meat/egg. THe outside quickly becomes hotter than the inside. This is why we say the egg continues cooking. The temperature inside the egg continues to equalise.
One of the key principles with sous vide cooking is that the level of denaturization of proteins (the doneness of steak or the firmness of egg white) is largely dependant on temperature, not time. So a 63 degree egg white won’t change in firmness between 30 mins and 60 mins or 2 hours.
Now the problem with sous vide eggs for some people is that yolks firm up at a lower temperature than whites… so often you end up with perfectly custardy egg yolks, but slimy snotty egg whites. There a few ways I can think to solve this:
Place the egg into a water bath set at a higher temperature than what you want your yolk to be at. the immersion/resting time according to a table/calculator that takes into account the diameter of the egg, the starting temp and the desired result. As the egg heats from the outside, by the time your yolk reaches your target temperature, your white will have reached a higher temperature, cooking it to a firmer consistency. OR
Place the egg in to your water bath set at the temperature you want the yolk to reach. When your egg yolk is at your desired texture, remove the egg and immerse it into boiling water for a short period of time to firm up the whites, then remove and chill immediately to stop the cooking process.
I believe there were some very detailed discussions of this on egullet.
@simulacrum There are some people though that say that time actually does matter for cooking eggs. In the Serious Eats post referenced above (and linked below again) Kenji tested longer times at a constant temperature. He found that the yolk’s texture change radically from 145°F for 45 minutes to 145°F for 2 hours. He also noted some extra firmness from the white after 1.5 hours vs 45 minutes as well but less pronounced changes. He said that he found out about this “time matters with eggs” concept after he had a chat with César Vega, an expert in the science of dairy products.
@simulacrum There are some people though that say that time actually does matter for cooking eggs.
It does seem that the latest prevailing opinion is that time does make a difference both with eggs and meat… just not as much of a difference as those unfamiliar with sous vide might think. Cheers for the foodlab link. I usually follow Kenji’s work pretty closely but this was one I’d missed! I’ll definitely be trying his perfect sous vide poached egg soon!
Some excellent information about how time and temperature relates to egg yolk viscosity:
Does anyone know if it’s possible to pasteurize eggs at 54°C? I found on google that at 55°C they can be pasteurized but I’m cooking some beef ribs at 54°C and I wouldn’t like to raise the temp to 55°C