Wine. Food. Reviews. Recipes. Lap it up.

Friday, April 06, 2007

How to boil an egg

Everyone has a favorite method of boiling an egg. As simple as it is, there are seemingly countless variations on how to achieve perfection, hard-boiled or soft. (If you search for "how to boil an egg" on Google, you'll end up with about 31,800 results.)

My preferred method is to put the eggs in one layer in a pot, put in enough warm water to just cover them, put the lid on the pot and bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them sit in the hot water for about 20 minutes before putting them in a cool-water bath. This prevents the harmless but unattractive green layer from forming around the yolk.

But if you're into precision, you'll want to consult The Science of Boiling an Egg, by Dr. Charles C. H. Williams, senior lecturer at the University of Exeter's School of Physics. Williams' original article and formula (yes, formula -- this is no ordinary recipe) was first published in New Scientist magazine in 1998, and has been reprinted several times since then in publications all over the world.

Williams' Web page on the topic contains a wealth of information about eggs apart from how to boil them successfully. My favorite bit is this: "Close inspection of a 'greened' yolk sometimes reveals several concentric rings; the yolk develops within the hen in spherical layers and the rings reflect variation in the iron content of the hen's feed or water."

Egg forensics -- it's what's for breakfast....
M. Zane Grey, 7:35 PM