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Boiled eggs

Boiled eggs

Overview
Boiled eggs are eggs (typically chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

s' eggs) cooked by immersion in boiling water with their shells unbroken. (Eggs cooked in water without their shells are known as poached egg
Poached egg
A poached egg is an egg that has been cooked by poaching, that is, in water.-Preparation:The egg is cracked into a bowl of any size, and then gently slid into a pan of simmering water and cooked until the egg white has mostly solidified, but the yolk remains soft...

s, while eggs cooked below the boiling temperature, either with or without the shell, are known as coddled eggs.) Hard-boiled eggs are either boiled long enough for the egg white
Egg white
Egg white is the common name for the clear liquid contained within an egg. In chickens it is formed from the layers of secretions of the anterior section of the hen's oviduct during the passage of the egg. It forms around either fertilized or unfertilized egg yolks...

 and then the egg yolk
Egg yolk
An egg yolk is a part of an egg which feeds the developing embryo. The egg yolk is suspended in the egg white by one or two spiral bands of tissue called the chalazae...

 to solidify, or they are left in hot water to cool down, which will gradually solidify them, while a soft-boiled egg yolk, and sometimes even the white, remains at least partially liquid.

The egg timer
Egg timer
An egg-timer is a device the primary function of which is to assist in timing the cooking of eggs. Early designs simply counted down for a specific period of time. Some modern designs are able to time more accurately by depending on water temperature rather than an absolute time...

 was so-named due to its common usage in timing the boiling of eggs.
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Encyclopedia
Boiled eggs are eggs (typically chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

s' eggs) cooked by immersion in boiling water with their shells unbroken. (Eggs cooked in water without their shells are known as poached egg
Poached egg
A poached egg is an egg that has been cooked by poaching, that is, in water.-Preparation:The egg is cracked into a bowl of any size, and then gently slid into a pan of simmering water and cooked until the egg white has mostly solidified, but the yolk remains soft...

s, while eggs cooked below the boiling temperature, either with or without the shell, are known as coddled eggs.) Hard-boiled eggs are either boiled long enough for the egg white
Egg white
Egg white is the common name for the clear liquid contained within an egg. In chickens it is formed from the layers of secretions of the anterior section of the hen's oviduct during the passage of the egg. It forms around either fertilized or unfertilized egg yolks...

 and then the egg yolk
Egg yolk
An egg yolk is a part of an egg which feeds the developing embryo. The egg yolk is suspended in the egg white by one or two spiral bands of tissue called the chalazae...

 to solidify, or they are left in hot water to cool down, which will gradually solidify them, while a soft-boiled egg yolk, and sometimes even the white, remains at least partially liquid.

The egg timer
Egg timer
An egg-timer is a device the primary function of which is to assist in timing the cooking of eggs. Early designs simply counted down for a specific period of time. Some modern designs are able to time more accurately by depending on water temperature rather than an absolute time...

 was so-named due to its common usage in timing the boiling of eggs. Boiled eggs are a popular breakfast
Breakfast
Breakfast is the first meal taken after rising from a night's sleep, most often eaten in the early morning before undertaking the day's work...

 food in many countries around the world.

Variations


There is substantial variation both in desired doneness and in the method of how eggs are boiled, and a variety of kitchen gadget
Kitchen gadget
A kitchen utensil is a hand-held, typically small tool or utensil that is used in the kitchen, for food-related functions. A cooking utensil is a utensil used in the kitchen for cooking...

s for eggs exist. These variations include:
starting temperature: Room temperature (for more even cooking and to prevent cracking) or from a refrigerator; eggs may be left out overnight to come to room temperature, comparable to how it is advisable to bring meat to room temperature before roasting.
preparation: Some pierce the eggs beforehand with an egg piercer to prevent cracking. There is much debate on this subject. Ekelund et al. in Why eggs should not be pierced claimed that pricking caused egg white proteins to be damaged and was therefore to be discouraged. Others recommend against this,The American Egg Board, an industry group, recommends against piercing shells on food safety grounds: "Piercing shells before cooking is not recommended. If not sterile, the piercer or needle can introduce bacteria
Bacteria
Bacteria are a large domain of prokaryotic microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals...

 into the egg. Also, piercing creates hairline cracks in the shell through which bacteria can enter after cooking.", Basic Hard-Cooked Eggs, American Egg Board
or add vinegar to the water (as is sometimes done with poached eggs) to prevent the white from billowing in case of cracking. For this purpose, table salt can also be used.
placing in water: There are various ways to place the eggs in the boiling water and removing: one may place the eggs in the pan prior to heating, lower them in on a spoon, or use a specialized cradle to lower them in. A cradle is also advocated as reducing cracking, since the eggs do not then roll around loose. To remove, one may allow the water to cool, pour off the boiling water, or remove the cradle.
Steaming: Eggs are taken straight from the refrigerator and placed in the steamer at full steam. The eggs will not crack due to sudden change in temperatures. At full steam, "soft-boiled" eggs are ready in 6 minutes, "hard-boiled" eggs at 8 minutes. As the eggs are cooked by a steam source, there is no variation of water temperature and hence cooking time, no matter how many eggs are placed in the steamer.
cooking time: There is substantial variation, with cooking time being the primary variable affecting doneness (soft-boiled vs. hard-boiled). It usually varies from 15–17 minutes for large hard-boiled eggs and 1–4 minutes for large soft-cooked eggs. Depending on altitude above sea level and humidity densities in a given climate, one may require extended amounts of time to reach the soft-boiled stage, and in fact, may never reach a fully hard stage.
cooking temperature: In addition to cooking at a rolling boil (at 100 °C), one may instead add the egg before a boil is reached, remove water from heat after a boil is reached, or attempt to maintain a temperature below boiling, the latter all variants of coddling.
cooling: After eggs are removed from heat, some cooking continues to occur, particularly of the yolk, due to residual heat, a phenomenon called carry over cooking
Carry over cooking
Carry over cooking refers to the phenomenon that food retains heat and continues to cook even after being removed from the source of heat. The larger and denser the object being heated the greater the amount of carry over cooking. After being removed from the heat source the internal temperature...

, also seen in roast meat. For this reason some allow eggs to cool in air or plunge them into cold water as the final stage of preparation.

service: Boiled eggs may be served loose, in an eggcup, in an indentation in a plate (particularly a presentation platter of deviled egg
Deviled egg
Deviled eggs or eggs mimosa are hard-boiled eggs cut in half and filled with the hard-boiled egg's yolk mixed usually with mayonnaise and mustard. Deviled eggs are usually served cold...

s), cut with a knife widthwise, cut lengthwise, cut with a knife or tapped open with a spoon at either end, or peeled (and optionally sliced, particularly if hard-boiled, either manually or with an egg slicer
Egg slicer
An egg slicer is a food preparation utensil used to slice peeled, hard-boiled eggs quickly and evenly. An egg slicer consists of a slotted dish for holding the egg and a hinged plate of wires or blades that can be closed to slice.-External links:**...

).

Boiled eggs


Soft-boiled eggs are not recommended for people who may be susceptible to salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

, such as very young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems.

Serving


Soft-boiled eggs are commonly served in egg cup
Egg cup
An egg cup, sometimes called egg server, is a container used for serving boiled eggs within their shell. Egg cups have an upwardly concave portion to hold the egg and often include a base to raise the egg retaining portion and give stability, informally known as footies. Egg cups can be made of...

s, where the top of the egg is cut off with a knife, spoon or egg scissors, using a teaspoon
Teaspoon
A teaspoon, an item of cutlery, is a small spoon, commonly part of a silverware place setting, suitable for stirring and sipping the contents of a cup of tea or coffee...

 to scoop the egg out. Other methods include breaking the eggshell
Eggshell
An eggshell is the outer covering of a hard-shelled egg and of some forms of eggs with soft outer coats.- Insect eggs :Insects and other arthropods lay a variety of styles and shapes of eggs. Some have gelatinous or skin-like coverings, others have hard eggshells. Softer shells are mostly protein....

 by tapping gently around the top of the shell with a spoon. Soft-boiled eggs can be eaten with buttered toast
Toast
Toast is bread that has been browned by exposure to radiant heat. This browning reaction is known as the Maillard reaction. Toasting warms the bread and makes it firmer, so it holds toppings more securely...

 cut into strips, which are then dipped into the runny yolk. In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, these strips of toast are known as "soldiers
Soldiers (food)
A soldier is a British term that refers to a piece of toast or bread cut into thin strips reminiscent of the formation of soldiers on parade. The toast is sliced in this manner so that it can be dipped into the opening of a soft boiled egg that has had the top of its shell removed...

".

In Southeast Asia, especially countries like Malaysia and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, soft-boiled eggs are also known as half-boiled eggs and are commonly eaten at breakfast. The major difference is that, instead of the egg being served in an egg cup, it is cracked into a bowl to which dark or light soy sauce and/or pepper are added. This variation is usually eaten with Kaya toast
Kaya toast
Kaya toast is a popular snack amongst Singaporeans and Malaysians. It consists of kaya, a spread of eggs, sugar and coconut milk and flavored with pandan on toasted or fresh bread or cream crackers. Butter or margarine may be spread as well....

.

Hard-boiled eggs



Hard-boiled eggs are boiled for longer than soft-boiled eggs, long enough for the yolk to solidify. They can be eaten warm or cold. Hard-boiled eggs are the basis for many dishes, such as egg salad
Egg salad
Egg salad is part of a tradition of salads involving a high-protein and low-carbohydrate food mixed with seasonings in the form of spices, herbs, and other foods, and bound with mayonnaise...

, Cobb salad
Cobb salad
The Cobb salad is a main-dish garden salad made from chopped salad greens , tomato, crisp bacon, boiled or roasted chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, avocado, chives, red-wine vinaigrette and Roquefort cheese.-Origin:Various stories of how the salad was invented exist...

 and Scotch eggs, and may be further prepared as deviled egg
Deviled egg
Deviled eggs or eggs mimosa are hard-boiled eggs cut in half and filled with the hard-boiled egg's yolk mixed usually with mayonnaise and mustard. Deviled eggs are usually served cold...

s.

Hard-boiled eggs are commonly sliced, particularly for use in sandwiches. For this purpose specialized egg slicer
Egg slicer
An egg slicer is a food preparation utensil used to slice peeled, hard-boiled eggs quickly and evenly. An egg slicer consists of a slotted dish for holding the egg and a hinged plate of wires or blades that can be closed to slice.-External links:**...

s exist, to ease slicing and yield even slices.

There are several theories as to the proper technique of hard-boiling an egg. One method is to bring water to a boil and cook for eight minutes. Another method is to bring the water to a boil, but then remove the pan from the heat and allow eggs to cook in the gradually cooling water. Others prescribe cooking in continually boiling water over heat for a shorter period of time.

Over-cooking eggs will typically result in a thin green iron(II) sulfide
Iron(II) sulfide
Iron sulfide or ferrous sulfide is a chemical compound with the formula . In practice, iron sulfides are often non-stoichiometric. Powdered iron sulfide is pyrophoric Iron(II) sulfide or ferrous sulfide (Br.E. sulphide) is a chemical compound with the formula . In practice, iron sulfides are...

 coating on the yolk. This reaction occurs more rapidly in older eggs as the whites are more alkaline.
Immersing the egg in cold water after boiling is a common method of halting the cooking process to prevent this effect. It also causes a slight shrinking of the contents of the egg, easing the removal of the shell.

Hard-boiled eggs in their shells can be stored in the refrigerator for days to weeks.

Peeling


Hard-boiled eggs can vary widely in how easy it is to peel away the shells. In general, the fresher an egg before boiling, the more difficult it is to separate the shell cleanly from the egg white. As a fresh egg ages after being processed for human consumption, it gradually loses both moisture and carbon dioxide through pores in the shell; as a consequence, the contents of the egg shrink and the pH
PH
In chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. Pure water is said to be neutral, with a pH close to 7.0 at . Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline...

 of the albumen
Egg white
Egg white is the common name for the clear liquid contained within an egg. In chickens it is formed from the layers of secretions of the anterior section of the hen's oviduct during the passage of the egg. It forms around either fertilized or unfertilized egg yolks...

 becomes more basic
Base (chemistry)
For the term in genetics, see base A base in chemistry is a substance that can accept hydrogen ions or more generally, donate electron pairs. A soluble base is referred to as an alkali if it contains and releases hydroxide ions quantitatively...

. Albumen with higher pH (more basic) is less likely to stick to the egg shell, while pockets of air develop in eggs that have lost significant amounts of moisture, also making eggs easier to peel. Adding baking soda to the boiling water can help make it easier to peel the eggs. Peeling the egg under running water is another effective method of removing the shell.

External links