Boiling eggs is a small science. Just a few seconds can decide whether the egg has a soft core or a hard yolk. But apart from the cooking time, there are other criteria that influence the egg as a food. We provide comprehensive tips and info on egg cooking.
Cooking time – how long do eggs need until they are hard-boiled?
Finding the right cooking time is the supreme discipline in egg cooking.
The most important factors are the size of the egg and the consistency you want the inside to reach. Note: The size of the eggs is noted on the carton.
Size S eggs:
S size eggs weigh approximately 53 grams.
- Cooking time for a soft egg yolk: three minutes.
- Cooking time for waxy egg yolk: five minutes
- Cooking time for a hard-boiled egg: seven to eight minutes
Medium eggs weigh between 53 and 63 grams.
- Cooking time for a soft-boiled egg yolk: four to five minutes
- Cooking time for waxy egg yolk: seven minutes
- Cooking time for a hard-boiled egg: ten minutes
L-size eggs reach a weight of up to 73 g.
- Cooking time for a soft-boiled egg yolk: six minutes
- Cooking time for waxy egg yolk: eight minutes
- Cooking time for a hard-boiled egg: eleven to twelve minutes
Size XL eggs:
XL size eggs weigh more than 73 grams.
- Cooking time for a soft-boiled egg yolk: six to seven minutes
- Cooking time for waxy egg yolk: eight to nine minutes
- Cooking time for a hard-boiled egg: twelve minutes
It remains to be noted: Changing between sizes (for example, S to M), triggers an increase in cooking time of 30 seconds on average.
Cooking eggs – what is the ideal temperature?
The boiling point of water is 100 °C. However, this does not mean that eggs cooked at lower temperatures are inedible.
The perfect temperature of water depends on the following factors:
The location: the higher the location where the eggs are cooked, the lower the boiling point. This means that the boiling process above sea level may take a few seconds longer.
The nature of the egg: egg whites harden at 62 degrees. The coagulation temperature of yolk is between 63 and 68 degrees.
Rule of thumb: 66 degrees is enough for a waxy egg and 70 degrees for a hard-boiled egg. However, anyone who wants to work with these exact temperature specifications must not only be very precise, but also patient. Example of use: cooking at 64 degrees takes about an hour.
Piercing eggs – does that do anything?
Eggs are filled with air at the flat end. Heating them causes the air to expand, which can cause cracks in the shell.
Rumor has it that piercing the underside of the egg prevents the shell from cracking during the cooking process. However, a test run of 3000 eggs showed that the rate of cracked eggs – whether pierced or not – was the same. The conclusion: about one in ten eggs burst (regardless of piercing) during cooking.
The cracked shell causes the egg white to disperse into the cooking water. This is a visual defect, but it does not change the fact that the egg is safe to eat. Damage limitation tip: Salt and vinegar in the cooking water cause the escaping egg white to coagulate quickly.
However, the cracks in the eggshell can also be caused by the abrupt rise in temperature. The fact that the lime crystals in the eggshell burst can be seen particularly often in cooled eggs.
Tip: It is advisable to take the eggs out of the refrigerator early. Many eggs will remain intact if they can adapt to room temperature before cooking.
Cooking eggs in the pot
Cooking eggs in a pot is probably the most common method of preparation:
- The first step is to boil the water in the pot.
- eggs are carefully placed in the bubbling water with a spoon.
- the amount of water needed depends on which pot is used and how many eggs are to be cooked. Ideally, the eggs will be between 90 and 100% covered with cooking water.
- the pot is now closed with a lid and the temperature is regulated down to the lowest level. The cooking time depends on the size of the egg and the preferred hardness.
- after cooking, the eggs are quenched in a water bowl filled with ice cubes, if desired. Alternatively, a cold stream of water is suitable.
Cooking eggs – alternatives to the pot
Eggs are often cooked quite classically in a pot. However, there are numerous alternatives that are also suitable:
egg stoves are specially designed for cooking chicken eggs. To make it a convenient experience, many models offer user-friendly features (such as temperature control and hardness setting).
the steamer is ideal for preparing a large quantity of eggs (for example, for a family breakfast). To achieve the desired degree of hardness, a temperature of 100 °C is set. After four to ten minutes, the eggs are ready to serve.
Advantage: Eggs from the steamer are less likely to crack, as this method of preparation is gentler than classic cooking.
The kettle is an unconventional method of cooking eggs. However, it is important that the kettle does not have an open heating coil, because this causes the eggs to burst on contact.
Boiling times in the kettle look something like this: Four to five minutes for a soft-boiled egg and eight to ten minutes for a hard-boiled egg.
Tip: Some kettles need to be reactivated for good results, because they shut off when a certain temperature is reached by an automatic snap switch.
The oven is an alternative that is particularly suitable for cooking many eggs.
Cooking eggs in the oven – this is how it works:
- the oven is preheated to 200 degrees convection.
- the eggs are placed on an oven rack without touching each other.
- after 10 minutes the eggs are ready to be taken out and eaten.
The microwave is a real kitchen all-rounder that can also function as an egg stove.
Here’s how to prepare eggs in the microwave – step by step:
- the desired amount of water is first pre-boiled in the kettle. Alternative: The water boils in the microwave after about two minutes at 350 watts. However, this only works in an open, microwave-safe container.
- The eggs are now placed in the pre-boiled water bath. The addition of salt prevents cracks in the eggshell.
- at 600 watts, it takes about five minutes until the egg is soft and twelve minutes until it is firm to the bite.
Preparation in the Thermomix is simple, but comparatively time-consuming. With the help of the cooking basket and after adding 500 ml of water, you can assume a time of 12 (very soft) to 16 (hard) minutes.
Quench eggs? Advantages and disadvantages
In many cases, eggs are quenched after cooking to make them easier to peel. But does this work at all?
The cool water prevents the egg from continuing to cook inside the shell after cooking. This makes quenching particularly suitable for eggs that should be soft on the inside. Quenching thus has the advantage that the egg retains its waxy-soft consistency. Accordingly, this step is not necessary for hard-boiled eggs.
Quenching makes the shell surface porous. The natural protective layer of the egg is broken, which means that germs from outside can get inside. This in turn has a shortening effect on shelf life.
Quenching should therefore be avoided if the boiled eggs are to be stored.
By the way, quenching has no influence on how well the egg can be peeled. In fact, peelability is related to the storage time. The older the egg, the easier it is to peel.
The reason: eggs lose water and carbon dioxide over time, which allows air into the egg. This contributes to a weaker bond between the inner and outer shell membranes. In addition, the egg takes on a slightly different pH over time. This also affects the adhesion between the shell and the membranous membrane.
Myth “beheading eggs
The so-called “beheading” is a common method of eating the boiled egg in its pure form. It involves cutting the top round (a small cap) off the egg with a knife.
However, critics claim that this method leads to loss of flavor. Therefore, they prefer to tap the egg shell from the outside with a small spoon.
But what is correct now?
Some knives are susceptible to corrosion. This means that they oxidize on contact with liquids (such as the egg yolk), producing a metallic taste. This affects knives made of carbon, for example.
Nowadays, however, breakfast eggs can be beheaded without hesitation, as modern knives are usually corrosion-resistant.
Peeling eggs made easy
Quenching has no effect on peelability. But how can the shell then be removed?
Eggs that have cooled down are easier to peel. This is because the egg white is more stable after cooling. As a result, it doesn’t give as easily when peeling.
Some breakfast experts also affirm that it’s easier to remove the shell from eggs that are slowly boiled in cold water. So you put the eggs in cold water rather than bubbling water when cooking them. Disadvantage: In this case, however, the cooking time – and thus the degree of hardness to be achieved – is rather inaccurate.
Fresh and boiled eggs – the shelf life
For raw eggs, a minimum shelf life of 28 days can be assumed from the date of laying. In supermarkets, eggs are sold unrefrigerated. So, although eggs can be stored in the pantry, it is always preferable to store them in the refrigerator. This is because the room climate varies, while the temperature in the refrigerator remains at a constant level.
Note: Eggs can still be edible two weeks after the best-before date has passed!
But beware: contrary to the first assumption that the shelf life is extended during cooking, it is actually significantly reduced! The consumer advice center indicates a shelf life of hard-boiled eggs of only about 14 days.
For the storage of boiled eggs, a cooling temperature of below seven degrees is best. The advantage of cool storage is that germs cannot multiply so quickly.
However, it is just as important that the shell is not cracked. Damage to the eggshell may cause the interior to become infected with microorganisms that shorten the shelf life.
Recognizing a bad egg
It is impossible to tell at first glance whether an egg is raw, cooked, fresh or already spoiled.
However, there are two simple tricks that can be used to determine the freshness of the egg:
The levitation test:
A glass of water and an egg are needed. A fresh egg can be recognized by the fact that it remains at the bottom of the glass. In contrast, a bad egg contains more air, causing it to float toward the surface of the water.
The shake test:
Due to the large air cushion, a soft gurgling sound can be heard when spoiled eggs are shaken.
By the way, a greenish yolk does not indicate that the egg is spoiled. The green color is produced during the cooking process. The color change is due to a reaction of iron and sulfur compounds (called iron sulfide). However, the green yolk is still suitable for consumption!
Raw or cooked eggs – recognizing the difference
Raw eggs look like cooked eggs from the outside. Nevertheless, there is a striking difference.
Turn the egg by hand like a spinning top on the tabletop.
a cooked egg spins in dynamic circles, while a raw egg has an uneven motion.
This trick makes it easy to separate raw and cooked eggs in case of confusion.