How to Boil an Egg

How to Boil an Egg

Boiling an egg. Sounds easy enough, but is it really? The answer, yes and no. It may not be rocket science but making a perfect boiled egg is not that easy. Most people assume that boiling an egg is as simple as tossing the egg into boiling water and waiting a couple of minutes. You might get lucky a couple of times and produce some good ones, but when consistency is required, you’ll need to get a bit deeper into the “science”.

When it comes to boiling eggs, timing is as important as macaroni when making macaroni and cheese. Mess up the timing and the egg will either come out undercooked or overcooked.

Can you overcook a boiled egg?

Yes, you can. A lot of people don’t know that you can and that’s why their hard-boiled eggs come out with a white that’s rubbery and a yolk that’s dry. Here’s a simple guideline on cooking soft-, medium-, and hard-boiled eggs to perfection.

Boiling an egg

The first step when cooking any dish is to get the ingredients and your cooking apparatus ready. For boiling an egg, you will require two sauce pans (yes two), a timer, egg, water and some ice.

Step 1.  Put water in the saucepan so that it’s enough to cover the egg by an inch or so. Set the pan over high heat and wait for the water to boil.

The reason why you let the water boil first before putting in the egg is timing. When you put the egg in before the water starts boiling, cooking will have already begun before you start your timer making any measurements you make inaccurate by a few minutes.

As you wait for the water to boil, put cold water in the other saucepan and then add the ice. Leave the water to cool for later use.

Step 2. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat until the water is briskly simmering and then put your egg in. You can use a spoon to place the egg gently so that you don’t crack it. Simmering water is preferred instead of boiling water as a simmer does not crack the egg. Now get your timer and start timing – I’ll tell you for how long in a bit.
Soft-boiled egg. A perfectly done soft-boiled egg has a solid white and a runny yolk. To achieve this, you’ll need to boil your egg for about 4-5 minutes depending on its size.

Medium-boiled egg. This should have a solid moist yolk that is dark orange-yellow in colour. For this type of boiled egg, you’ll have to boil the egg for about 7-8 minutes.

Hard-boiled egg. The egg should have a completely solid, light yellow, and crumbly yolk. There shouldn’t be a grey or green ring around the yolk as this would indicate overcooking. For a hard-boiled egg, wait for about 11 minutes.

Step 3. When the egg is cooked (depending on the type you’re making), take it out of the hot water using a spoon and put it in the other saucepan with cold water that you had prepared earlier. Leave it there for about 4 minutes. This process is called shocking and prevents the egg from cooking further once you take it off the heat

Peeling the egg

This is necessary for medium and hard boiled eggs. Tap the eggshell using a spoon so that it’s evenly cracked and then peel it off under running water to get rid of any remaining shells. For soft-boiled eggs, just cut off the top with a knife and eat it with a spoon. Bon appétit!

Here’s a video on how to make the 3 types of boiled eggs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1oUDsonIzg

Authored by: Pete Anderson

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