This is my first time using the Anova. I used the app’s guide to make hard boiled eggs expecting this to be an easier task but the eggs were far from ready after the timer stopped. Any reason why this didn’t work out? I can get the differences when cuts of meat are different but I don’t get why hard boiling eggs failed miserably.
Wecome to your Community forum Andy.
Eggs can be frustratingly difficult to hard cook at low temperatures. You just experienced your first lesson in SV cooking, all apps are not created to be universally successful.
Next you need to know that in precion cooking details are important. You haven’t revealed any details so defining the reason for you would be nothing more than guesswork.
There are a couple of Hard Boiled Egg recipes with significantly different cooking temperatures and times in the Anova app catalogue.
Your eggs didn’t work out because something was wrong in the technique.
Are you able to clarify what you did? For example, was the water bath temperature at the Anova’s set point before adding the eggs?
Time and temperature details are always helpful if not critical in diagnosing the cause of a failure.
You should be aware that the texture of SV cooked eggs will always be different than conventionally cooked hard boiled eggs due to the lower temperatures used. Your Anova won’t boil water.
To me, the usual SV egg results are more like hard-poached eggs if you can imagine somethat that repulsive.
If you expect the conventional totally hard cooked eggs, have you considered boiling them?
Well, I’m going by the built in guide and the images / directions that it shows. I was mostly curious to see how it handled the eggs and figured if there is a guide (assuming official) showing how to cook the eggs the way you want them then it should lead to expected results
I followed the instructions - let the preheating finish, added the eggs, 45 mins later lead to the result.
And the temperature were they cooked at?
Were they fridge cold eggs?
What temperature is your fridge in the area where they were stored?
What size were they?
How fresh were they? The whites break down as the egg ages, so the older the egg the less of the white will successfully set firmly.
Eggs vary greatly. Not only by size and freshness, but thickness of shell and white to yolk ratio. This is ‘precision’ cooking and there are many reasons why your mileage may vary.
Eggs are also one the things that can be time temperamental… So you will get a different outcome from adding the eggs to the water before it’s heated or after.
Added to all of that is the fact that the egg white and yolk require different cooking temperatures for setting. The yolk is rich and fatty and will set at a lower temperature than the white which is pure protein.
All this is just to point out that if you manage to perfect your egg game to such a stage that you can select the exact outcome you want, texture for white and texture for yolk, and know you will achieve it, you have overcome some very large obstacles.
Try placing room temperature eggs into low simmering water and low simmer them for exactly 14 minutes … then place in cold water for 10 minutes … no muss, no fuss … [thank you Martha Stewart]
IMHO, on this forum there are way too many attempted uses for precision low-temperature long-cooking-time devices, that are inappropriate and where other cooking methods are much faster, result in tastier and moister and better-looking cooked food. I have found that precision low-temperature long-cooking-time draws way too much moisture out of most everything vacuum-sealed except boneless chicken breasts or thighs.
No high-quality steakhouse that charges $$$$$ for their thick wagyu steaks would use a precision low-temperature long-cookng-time device to cook them, nor would one expect them to. They can command those high prices because they have worked out special techniques sometimes using several different cooking methods in quick sequence that are designed to lock in precious fat moisture and cook uniformly without over-cooking. Those steaks smell, taste, and look absolutely fantastic.
Cold cuts that are sold in the deli sections of grocery stores are indeed vacuum-sealed before cooking but they are cooked en masse relatively fast in commercial very high-pressure steam ovens, and NOT water baths.
Except for steaks, I use a high-pressure steam and browning oven at home most often these days to achieve uniformly cooked meats and vegetables that are far more moist and tastier than any other cooking method that I’ve tried.
The unbelievable popularity of the programmable pressure cookers these days [Instant Pot et al] attests to the preference for moister, uniformly cooked food that looks and tastes delicious.
Different methods will create different outcomes. And not every one of them is equal.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a steam oven available. And there are a whole lot of things that sous vide will achieve that an electric pressure cooker won’t. One can’t make a decision on how best to achieve the result they desire without first experimenting with different methods.
There’s always more than one way to de-fur a feline.
I just boiled my first eggs with the Anova and, like andy_d, I was also disappointed in the result. With some searching, I found the problem.
According to Wikipedia the outer (or loose) egg white solidifies at 75 °C (167 °F), while the yolk and the tight egg white solidifies between 60 to 65 °C (140 to 149 °F).
When you put a cold egg in boiling water, you will get a temperature gradient in the egg. I.e. the outside will get warmer sooner, while the inside stays colder longer. In normal parlance in a soft-boiled egg the yolk has not yet solidified, meaning that the temperature didn’t reach 65 °C. In a hard-boiled egg the temperature of the yolk did get above 65 °C.
In sous-vide cooking the bath is exactly the temperature you want to achieve. By using a long cooking time the egg will get the same temperature throughout the egg. You can now achieve something strange: at 66 °C (150 °F) the yolk and tight egg white will solidify, while the loose egg white will not.
I found the guide in the app a bit misleading. They call an egg hard-boiled when the yolk has solidified, i.e. at 66 °C (150 °F), but at this temperature the loose egg white has not yet solidified. Most people wouldn’t call this hard-boiled. Using the terms soft- and hard-boiled in the app is very confusing.
The photos are not really clear either: using a white bowl to show egg whites is not very clear. It is a bit better visible at Serious Eats.
Another problem is that size does matter. This is especially true for pieces of meat. A 25 mm (1 inch) thick steak takes much less time to reach the desired temperature than a 50 mm (2 inch) steak. This is not really taken into account in the recipes. Douglas Baldwin uses physics to calculate cooking times of different sizes of meat. How can the cooking be precise if you don’t need a caliper? This is less of an issue for chicken eggs, because the diameter of the eggs does not vary as much (because volume (=~weight) grows faster than diameter).
To be precise, all those “Hard Boiled Eggs” aren’t boiled at all. Although they might be Hard Cooked.
You have learned an imporatnt culinary lesson, beware of recipes available on the internet.
Why on Earth would anyone want to make hard-boiled eggs with the Anova in 45 minutes, when I can make them in a pot with two or three cups of water in seven or eight minutes?
Use a saucepan, with a steamer basket and an inch of water. Eggs go straight from the fridge to the steam, and then to an ice water bath, and they’re done in 7 to 12 minutes.
Well, because I saw that it was listed in the app and I saw blog posts about it? I was curious. Anyway yes, even though I did get the eggs to be in a form I would prefer, sous vide is not ideal for this
For Hard Boiled sous vide isn’t a great option, but some of the lower temperature selections will give you a yolk that you’ll have trouble replicating with any other method of cooking. I guess it all come down to using the tool that best yields the desired results!