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Math + eggs = yum(n^n+1)
January 23, 2007 2:27 AM   Subscribe

How to boil the perfect egg. vs. How to perfectly opposite-boil an egg.
posted by loquacious (36 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
The first link is blocked by my company net security. But the latter isn't. This means something.
posted by slimepuppy at 3:03 AM on January 23, 2007


The third page in this excellent NYTimes article features Bruno Goussault (the inventor of sous vide cooking), showing how he boiled an egg from the inside out through strict temperature control. I don't know if he's the inventor of this technique, but I wouldn't be surprised.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:52 AM on January 23, 2007


I'd be more concerned about whether link #2's 65C would kill Salmonella than whether the egg is the consistency he favors.
From here:
salmonella is killed instantly when subjected to a temperature of 160°. An egg (white and yolk) requires a temperature of up to 158°F before it sets properly. The white alone requires a somewhat lower temperature before it coagulates, usually in the 140° to 150° range. These temperatures are only slightly less than what is required to destroy all of the harmful bacteria that may be present, so heating eggs to 160° F should not cause eggs to be overcooked, unless they are held at that temperature (or higher) for an extended period.
Their 160° is Fahrenheit; for those of you living in the 21st Century, that's 71°C.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:52 AM on January 23, 2007


Way too complicated.

To obtain the perfect soft-boiled egg, put a small hole on one end of a medium/large egg using a pin. Put the perforated egg into a pot of COLD water. Apply heat. When the water reaches a hard boil, set your timer for a minute and a half. When the timer peeps, take the pot off the heat, pour cold water into the pot, remove the eggs, and then immediately crack them open.

No math required.
posted by three blind mice at 3:59 AM on January 23, 2007


"geeky facts about cooking eggs":
First, have you ever had a hard boiled egg with a greenish grey yolk? Chemically, there are a few interesting geeky things going on here. When cooked, sulfur is released from the white of the egg, which combines with hydrogen ions to form hydrogen sulfide. And when the hydrogen sulfide gas encounters iron on the border of the yolk of the egg, it forms iron sulfide. That iron sulfide is the icky green-grey gunk on the outside of your yolk. All three of these chemical reactions that help produce iron sulfide are improved in efficiency the hotter and longer you cook your egg.

The second cool geeky thing about cooking eggs is why the white hardens the way it does. Raw egg white is full of tightly coiled proteins. They’re just hanging out there, not doing much. This is why you can see through raw egg white: the proteins aren’t interacting with each other; they’re mostly suspended. (Think of peas suspended in clear jello: if you hold up a block of it you can still (mostly) see around the peas.)

But start to cook egg white, and those proteins unwind into lose strands. The loose strands start interacting with each other (imagine filling a drawer full of loose strings; now mix them up, and then try to get them untangled.) Keep cooking the egg white (mixing the drawer full of strings), and the bonds (knots) get more numerous and tighter. This process squeezes water out from between the proteins and makes the white more rubbery. The excess water diffuses through the shell as steam (another symptom of overcooked eggs is when they crack from the prodigious steam buildup.) [...]
posted by pracowity at 4:11 AM on January 23, 2007


My friend ejaculated into a hot frying pan to see if his protein-rich semen would firm up like egg-whites do. He said it does.
posted by redteam at 4:22 AM on January 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


That second link was my daily reminder of just how wonderfully strange human beings truely are.
posted by milarepa at 4:54 AM on January 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Your friend should just try taking a hot shower to clean up afterwards. Same effect, much less of a sex-cannibal vibe.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:13 AM on January 23, 2007


Your friend should just try taking a hot shower to clean up afterwards.

Or a cold shower before making breakfast. Bleh.
posted by pracowity at 6:00 AM on January 23, 2007


Thanks nebulawindphone, you've just named my future band.

Sex-Cannibal Vibe.

Awesome.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:01 AM on January 23, 2007


This thread has taken a very weird... kind of gross turn. This means something.

I think I should wander into the forest and get lost for years, form a Yggsadril-worshipping speed metal band, whose gimmick includes a giant, world-birthing stone-like styrofoam egg lowered down from the ceiling amid fireworks and dozens of fog machines. The drummer dies. So does the other one.
posted by loquacious at 6:29 AM on January 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


great links, thank you.
posted by farishta at 6:33 AM on January 23, 2007


Interesting recipe for scrambled eggs. Take about 6 eggs, beat with a little milk and some fresh herbs. Put them in a frying pan on low heat. Stir occaisonally. In about an 45 minutes you have an egg goo that is totally delicious spread on toast.
posted by xammerboy at 6:40 AM on January 23, 2007


But start to cook egg white, and those proteins unwind into lose strands. The loose strands start interacting with each other (imagine filling a drawer full of loose strings; now mix them up, and then try to get them untangled.) Keep cooking the egg white (mixing the drawer full of strings), and the bonds (knots) get more numerous and tighter.

That's why you gotta cook eggs to be able to digest all the protein in em -- raw eggs in a shake (besides the salmanella danger) don't help you all that much.

My friend ejaculated into a hot frying pan to see if his protein-rich semen would firm up like egg-whites do. He said it does.

I had a vegetarian girlfriend that wouldn't eat eggs, cuz she said that'd be like me eating chicken sperm -- kinda ghey.
posted by LordSludge at 6:42 AM on January 23, 2007


You could always make them square.
posted by lysdexic at 7:03 AM on January 23, 2007


The first link is blocked by my company net security. But the latter isn't. This means something.
That your company uses a crappy net filter?
posted by kjs3 at 7:09 AM on January 23, 2007


I think I should wander into the forest and get lost for years, form a Yggsadril-worshipping speed metal band

You could call yourselves Lumbar Puncture and all dress like House. But with magnificent mullets.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:14 AM on January 23, 2007


I'm really easy to please on this one. I like hard-boiled eggs and hard-poached eggs. So I use the Christian cooking method -- I just boil the hell out of them.
posted by Mike D at 8:03 AM on January 23, 2007


For temperature control, would it be possible to boil your water (and thus your egg) in a low pressure atmosphere? How low an air pressure does it take before water boils at 68 degrees C? What kind of altitude would this take? Could this be done with a vacuum pump?

I thought my food chemistry needed remedial work, but it turns out my food physics is sorely lacking, too.
posted by Richard Daly at 9:29 AM on January 23, 2007


The drummer dies.

He chokes on his own vomit. But it isn't his vomit.
posted by three blind mice at 9:29 AM on January 23, 2007


He chokes on his own vomit.
posted by three blind mice at 9:30 AM on January 23, 2007


...if you are in search of the ultimate boiled egg, you've come to the right place!

If you ejaculate into a hot frying pan, you've come to the wrong place.

I am reluctant to accept advice on perfection from anyone who uses the words "refridgerator" and "refridgerated".
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:36 AM on January 23, 2007


Good post. Enough on the ejaculate though people!
posted by serazin at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2007


I think the problem with boiling eggs in a partial vacuum would be the risk of exploding them. Pressure doesn't transfer very quickly through an eggshell — it's why the little fuckers burst if you cook 'em in the microwave.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:46 AM on January 23, 2007


What? No egging the perfect boil?

thanks, you're too kind, try the veal
posted by zoogleplex at 10:07 AM on January 23, 2007


Good article, but not very useful for sunday morning brunch. Having married into a German family, I had to learn how to cook the perfect soft boiled egg as it's standard fare for breakfast. They (germans) have some pretty elaborate technology for cooking and presenting soft boiled eggs but I decided to determine a fool proof method, because well, I'm a geek. I cooked a few dozen eggs for different times and methods and sampeled them all.

what did I learn? start with a rolling boil, slide the egg in, set the timer for 5 minutes. dump it in cold water to "shock" the egg and stop it from cooking when your timer bings. for jumbo eggs use 6 minutes.

if you like them waxy, go an extra 30 seconds, runny, less 30 seconds.

I generally do 2 eggs per guest and add 30 secs per 4 eggs. if any crack, i give those to the dogs.

I've had guests ask me how I do it and the inlaws approved, so there you go.

or for a geeky version (I have these too) get a PiepEi

http://www.brainstream.de/download/PiepEi%20Anleitung%20Heft%20deutsch%20engl%20franz%20span%200905.pdf

cost about $40 if you can find an exporter.
posted by RumorControl at 10:15 AM on January 23, 2007


I have found that the perfect soft-boiled egg takes exactly as long in boiling water as Yo La Tengo's "Pass the Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind" - which is about seven minutes and change. I've had good results with Tool and Calexico too. Opera is too long...
posted by elendil71 at 11:29 AM on January 23, 2007


Am I the only one who thinks that boiled eggs taste wretched?
posted by Eideteker at 12:14 PM on January 23, 2007


My friend ejaculated into a hot frying pan to see if his protein-rich semen would firm up like egg-whites do. He said it does.

There is a scene involving this in a very second-rate Korean comedy movie whose name escapes me at the moment, where the fried spooge is indeed mistaken for egg.

The perfect hard-boiled egg recipe was revealed to me at Fipilele many moons ago, and sadly, I may have the details a bit wrong, but I believe it involves: eggs in cold water, brought to a boil, immediate removal from heat upon boiling, then covering and letting sit for 16 minutes. Precisely.

I tried this (er, if I'm remembering it correctly). It is true. It is the best.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:23 PM on January 23, 2007


Why use human brains to do something the eggs can do themselves? Shortly after eggs learned to tell us when to watch tv, they also learned how to tell us when they are cooked. The real question is, will the future humans be able to send someone back to our time to stop the eggs before they take over?!?!
posted by snofoam at 4:31 PM on January 23, 2007


I just remembered the (translated) title of the Korean movie: Sex is Zero. Not worth watching, though, trust me. A worrying muddle of unfunny college hijinx and heavyhanded moralizing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:07 PM on January 23, 2007


Put your eggs in a pot,cover them with cold water,turn on high heat, start timing with the begining of roiling boil one minute,turn off heat let stand for ten minutes , enjoy perfect egg not too soft not overcooked.
posted by hortense at 6:49 PM on January 23, 2007


Am I the only one who thinks that boiled eggs taste wretched?

You might me. Or maybe you're just doing it wrong. Me? I love them. Just medium-soft boiled. Sprinkle a little salt on 'em. Hold the deep fried spooge. Yum.
posted by loquacious at 8:35 PM on January 23, 2007


Richard Daly: it would take about a 21 inch Hg vacuum to get water to boil at that temp. Not really that hard to acheive. But now I wonder what the vacuum-withstanding strength of an egg is. I can only find the hard-boiled egg trick with google.
posted by ctmf at 10:44 PM on January 23, 2007


And by the way, what are the SI units for vacuum? Do they just refer to every pressure as absolute, in kPa, or is there some convention, like there is with psia and psig?
Damn metafilter, always leading me on these interesting but distracting tangents. Which lead to other tangents...
posted by ctmf at 10:54 PM on January 23, 2007


A pressure unit is used. I thought it was Torr, but
Torr, a unit of pressure. One torr was originally defined as the pressure exerted by a millimeter depth of mercury (mmHg), then as 1/760 of a standard atmosphere.

Because the standard atmosphere is now a defined quantity in the SI system of units, the torr is hence defined as exactly 101325 / 760 pascals. Although the torr is still in common use in low-pressure engineering, the pascal is now the recommended unit of pressure.
So I guess it's now Pascals.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:47 AM on January 24, 2007


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