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Nobody Special
01-26-2009, 01:56 PM
What is the secret to hard boiling eggs so that the shell is easy to remove? I typically prepare them by placing the eggs in a pot filled with room-temperature water, bring it to a boil, let it stand for 17 minutest (depending on the size of the eggs) and then plunge them into a bowl of ice water.

Daddypants
01-26-2009, 02:00 PM
When I make hard boiled eggs for my wife, I would just boil water, put in the egg, and let it sit in there for 10 minutes. She says they came out fine, no shell problems at all.

mhendo
01-26-2009, 02:02 PM
The OP's method sounds almost exactly like my method which was, if i remember correctly, taken from a Julia Child cookbook.

But the method i use has a couple more steps. After dunking the eggs in ice water for two minutes, i place them back in the hot water and bring it to the boil for another 10 seconds. Then i place them back in the ice water.

Apparently putting them back in the boiling water for a few seconds makes the shell expand outwards from the egg, making peeling easier.

On preview: i found the method i use online, here (http://www.recipesource.com/main-dishes/eggs/01/rec0137.html). It has worked perfectly for me every time.

I Am The Lorax
01-26-2009, 02:06 PM
I use the same method as the OP. One thing that makes a difference isn't a technique at all. The fresher your eggs are, the harder they are to peel. I try to use eggs that are a couple weeks old; it helps a lot.

Nobody Special
01-26-2009, 02:11 PM
But the method i use has a couple more steps. After dunking the eggs in ice water for two minutes, i place them back in the hot water and bring it to the boil for another 10 seconds. Then i place them back in the ice water.
I've tried this method, and the results have been hit or missóleaving me to believe that there is another variable that's more important.

I use the same method as the OP. One thing that makes a difference isn't a technique at all. The fresher your eggs are, the harder they are to peel. I try to use eggs that are a couple weeks old; it helps a lot.
Sounds like I might have to perform a little science experiment and prepare six today and six in a couple of weeks.

mhendo
01-26-2009, 02:14 PM
By the way, do you have any special method for peeling?

Because i generally crack the shell all around, and then roll the egg back and forth between my hand and the counter with light pressure. That also helps to loosen the shell.

sailor
01-26-2009, 02:16 PM
I have found they are easier to peel immediale after boiling. I always boil more than I need and then keep a fw in the fridge. Peeling those cold is a pain. I might try dunking them in boiling water for a few seconds to see if it makes a difference.

Nobody Special
01-26-2009, 02:18 PM
I have found they are easier to peel immediale after boiling. I always boil more than I need and then keep a fw in the fridge. Peeling those cold is a pain. I might try dunking them in boiling water for a few seconds to see if it makes a difference.
I'll add this to the experiment and peel three immediately and peel the other three couple of days later.

Khadaji
01-26-2009, 02:19 PM
I asked this question a long time ago. The hint that worked best for me was to put them in cold water immediately after boiling.

CC
01-26-2009, 02:40 PM
One thing that helps, regardless of the way they were boiled, kept, heated, cooled, etc. is that when you peel them, do it under running water. The force of the water getting underneath the shell will help you get them peeled. xo, C.

hellpaso
01-26-2009, 02:46 PM
I use the same method as the OP. One thing that makes a difference isn't a technique at all. The fresher your eggs are, the harder they are to peel. I try to use eggs that are a couple weeks old; it helps a lot.
I agree. I think it's due to a slight loss of moisture in the older eggs, giving a little space between the boiled egg and its shell.

tim-n-va
01-26-2009, 02:53 PM
One tip I read/saw was to drain all of the water, put a lid on the pot and shake it. The eggs will bounce off the sides and each other and will be ready to peel. I've tried it and it worked pretty well but I can't remember the combination of freshness/prep method I'd used to get to that point.

jormundgondir
01-26-2009, 02:54 PM
Thirding the "use older eggs" advice, something about the albumen aging and changing chemistry. I think 7-10 days after purchase is the sweet spot, longer if you don't care about the yolks being centered.

fifty-six
01-26-2009, 03:00 PM
I agree. I think it's due to a slight loss of moisture in the older eggs, giving a little space between the boiled egg and its shell.

Almost correct.

As an egg matures, it loses water, and the air bubbles inside expand, some air I believe even makes its way into the egg and some gasses are created.

Once boiled the gasses inside expand releasing the egg from the shell.

You can check the freshness of an egg by its density. One backyard farmer method that i Have used to determine if an egg I found is fresh is to place it in a vessel of water. If fresh it will plant itself firmly on the bottom as it ages one end will rise.

Another way is to check the freshness code date on the package. You should find a 3 digit number from 001-365 that is the day of the year it was packaged.

Chefguy
01-26-2009, 03:06 PM
One tip I read/saw was to drain all of the water, put a lid on the pot and shake it. The eggs will bounce off the sides and each other and will be ready to peel. I've tried it and it worked pretty well but I can't remember the combination of freshness/prep method I'd used to get to that point.

This works well. Once the eggs are done, drain off the hot water, shake them around to crack the shells, then immerse in cold water until cool. Week-old eggs are definitely a plus.

panache45
01-26-2009, 06:00 PM
As soon as they are done, put the pot in the sink, and peel them under cold water. They have to be peeled right away.

Enola Gay
01-26-2009, 06:32 PM
I've got the perfect solution for you as I experimented with various methods just a few months ago. Now I only make hard boiled eggs this way and it works like a charm every time:

1. Put eggs in a pan of tepid water and make sure there is about 2 inches or so of water over the eggs.

2. Then add 1 cup of vinegar (this is the key step).

3. Put pot on the stove on high and when it comes to a boil, remove the pot from the burner, cover it and let the eggs sit in the water for 10 minutes.

4. When 10 minutes is up, take the pot to the sink and fill it with cool water (ice cold will make the shells crack ime).

You will end up with perfect eggs where the shell doesn't stick.

Turble
01-27-2009, 09:47 AM
I also use the OP / Julia Child method. Add my vote for "don't use fresh eggs."

KneadToKnow
01-27-2009, 09:53 AM
As loathe as I am to disagree with the collective wisdom, I find that the shell comes off much easier (and often in one piece) if I peel the shells while the eggs are still warm. I cool them under running water until they're just cool enough to handle.

Chefguy
01-27-2009, 11:06 AM
I've got the perfect solution for you as I experimented with various methods just a few months ago. Now I only make hard boiled eggs this way and it works like a charm every time:

1. Put eggs in a pan of tepid water and make sure there is about 2 inches or so of water over the eggs.

2. Then add 1 cup of vinegar (this is the key step).

3. Put pot on the stove on high and when it comes to a boil, remove the pot from the burner, cover it and let the eggs sit in the water for 10 minutes.

4. When 10 minutes is up, take the pot to the sink and fill it with cool water (ice cold will make the shells crack ime).

You will end up with perfect eggs where the shell doesn't stick.

I would think that ten minutes would be too little time, but I suppose it depends on the size eggs you're using. Less than 15 minutes has always resulted in undercooked yolks for me.

Turble
01-27-2009, 11:29 AM
if I peel the shells while the eggs are still warm.

The point of the ice water bath is cool the eggs quickly to prevent the gray sulfurous ring forming around the yolk so you don't get the rotten egg breath and belch. The chemical reaction only takes place at a certain temperature and the quick cooling prevents it.

picunurse
01-27-2009, 11:50 AM
The inner membrane is semi-permeable, (so is the shell, but to a much lesser degree) so leaving them in cold water with a crack in the shell for a few minutes allows water to get inside the membrane.

I just tap each with the back of a spoon. it cracks the shell without damaging the membrane. I've used this method on eggs I collected directly from the hens' nests with no problem.

Rico
01-27-2009, 11:56 AM
<mod>

Let's move this to Cafe Society.

GQ > CS

</mod>

running coach
01-27-2009, 12:00 PM
<mod>

Let's move this to Cafe Society.

GQ > CS

</mod>

Not Great Debates? :D

constanze
01-27-2009, 12:00 PM
I once saw a report on this (And other egg questions) on TV, where they went to the Egg council or similar (Where they experiment with eggs all day long for the egg sellers), and their conclusion was not only the age of the egg (which can be roughly tested) but also the age of the hen (which can't be found out). So basically, it's hit and miss.

rock party
01-27-2009, 12:02 PM
After they're cooled, crack the shells all over and put them in a bowl of salt water and peel them in the bowl of salt water.

I call this the "contact lens" effect. The shell memebrane slips right off if you can get a little salt water in between it and the egg white.

Catsmeow
01-27-2009, 04:02 PM
I've got the perfect solution for you as I experimented with various methods just a few months ago. Now I only make hard boiled eggs this way and it works like a charm every time:

1. Put eggs in a pan of tepid water and make sure there is about 2 inches or so of water over the eggs.

2. Then add 1 cup of vinegar (this is the key step).

3. Put pot on the stove on high and when it comes to a boil, remove the pot from the burner, cover it and let the eggs sit in the water for 10 minutes.

4. When 10 minutes is up, take the pot to the sink and fill it with cool water (ice cold will make the shells crack ime).

You will end up with perfect eggs where the shell doesn't stick.

I do all of the above as well as adding some kosher salt to the water. I don't know WHY it works, I just know that when I forget the salt, they don't peel as easily for me.

Chefguy
01-27-2009, 06:00 PM
I once saw a report on this (And other egg questions) on TV, where they went to the Egg council or similar (Where they experiment with eggs all day long for the egg sellers), and their conclusion was not only the age of the egg (which can be roughly tested) but also the age of the hen (which can't be found out). So basically, it's hit and miss.

Egg Council = dumb clucks

Baldwin
01-27-2009, 06:13 PM
I use a push-pin to poke a hole in the bigger end of the egg before boiling. Either that's supposed to make them easier to peel, or I just like doing it; can't remember which.

PBear42
01-27-2009, 10:38 PM
I've spent a lot of time on this problem over the past couple years. It's a tricky one, because most eggs peel just fine, pretty much whatever method you use. It's how to avoid the occasional clunker batch that's the issue. FWIW, my method is pretty much the opposite of Enola Gay's.

In my understanding, adding vinegar is a false analogy to poached eggs. I get this from Shirley Corriher, the lay food scientist famous as the author of Cookwise. She reports that older eggs are easier to peel because they are less acidic, due to the dissipation of carbon dioxide. So, rather than vinegar, I add baking soda (an alkaline) to the cooking liquid, 1/2 tsp for every two quarts (enough to cover 1 doz eggs). Seems to work for me. YMMV.

Sleeps With Butterflies
01-27-2009, 10:42 PM
I usually do at least six or so when do them, so I use my steamer. Perfection. I've never had a single problem with peeling an egg.

Helena
01-27-2009, 10:45 PM
You could try this method (http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2008/07/02/how-to-peel-hard-boiled-eggs-without-peeling/).

Snickers
01-28-2009, 10:08 AM
One thing that helps, regardless of the way they were boiled, kept, heated, cooled, etc. is that when you peel them, do it under running water. The force of the water getting underneath the shell will help you get them peeled. xo, C.

Seriously - this is the answer. Doesn't anyone beside me and CC peel eggs under running water? I'm always baffled when this topic comes up and it's not the first answer. I've never had any problems. Peel 'em under running water.

Shirley Ujest
08-11-2009, 05:39 PM
By the way, do you have any special method for peeling?

Because i generally crack the shell all around, and then roll the egg back and forth between my hand and the counter with light pressure. That also helps to loosen the shell.

I dump a buttload of ice into the boiled water with the eggs and put the top back on it. I wait for a while, adding more ice and then I shake the crap out of the pan to precrack the eggs.

I've never had egg peeling issues and I usually get fresh free range eggs from the lady down the street.

ThirdOne
08-11-2009, 06:08 PM
Wow, I'd no idea there were so many ways to peel an egg!

Growing up, we were taught to keep eggs stored with the small end down. Then, when boiled the little air inside would be at the top (the larger, round end). One key for me to successful peeling is to peel the inside membrane off that large end. It's almost as if it breaks a seal.

C K Dexter Haven
08-11-2009, 08:43 PM
First, please note that there has been a Staff Report on this: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1776/whats-the-secret-of-getting-hard-boiled-eggs-to-peel-easily

Second, please note that this was a thread from last January, up until Shirley's post #34. While we normally don't care much about zombie threads in Cafe Society, there is another current thread about the same topic: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=527527 ... consequently, I'm closing this one.