Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   Cafe Society (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=13)
-   -   Help settle the egg peeling question (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=824935)

HoneyBadgerDC 04-27-2017 05:47 PM

Help settle the egg peeling question
 
My experience, sometimes it almost falls off by itself and sometimes I have to peel it one flake at a time and everything in-between. My usual method of cooking I add eggs to cold water and bring to a boil for about a minute. I let them sit in the hot water for about 10 min and then move to cold water for about 10 more minutes to cool before peeling. I am starting to believe that some eggs just peel easier than others. Are there any sure fire methods for easy peeling?

Quartz 04-27-2017 06:20 PM

Use older eggs. Fresh eggs peel less readily.

Dewey Finn 04-27-2017 06:26 PM

There's another thread where someone suggests steaming eggs to hard-boil it.

Tom Terrific 04-27-2017 06:48 PM

My wife adds vinegar to the water then boils the eggs as normal. Runs cold water on them and peels. Usually the peels come right off. Maybe one egg out of 50 or so doesn't peel easily.

dropzone 04-27-2017 08:01 PM

Older eggs, then pour off the hot water, crack each with a spoon, and put in cold water. As the innards cool they contract, drawing in water through the cracks.

Count Blucher 04-27-2017 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dropzone (Post 20168209)
Older eggs, then pour off the hot water, crack each with a spoon, and put in cold water. As the innards cool they contract, drawing in water through the cracks.

I was told to do this, but to put ice and cold water into a tumbler before spooning in one hot egg.
Then, over the sink with your hand covering the top of the tumbler, rapidly shake the tumbler containing the egg up and down.
After a minute, stop and peel all of the broken shell easily off of the egg, placing the cleaned egg in a bowl.
Then, add more water to the tumbler & spoon in another hot egg to repeat the process.

Ukulele Ike 04-27-2017 09:04 PM

Jesus, this is like hiccup remedies.

Yesterday I decided to pickle some eggs -- I'd had them for two weeks -- so I brought six to a boil, turned off the heat and let them sit for ten minutes, then cracked the shells as I put them in cold water.

AGONIZING peeling, bits of white came off with the shell. Not going to be the prettiest of pickled eggs.

kayT 04-27-2017 09:08 PM

The rule about peeling hardboiled eggs is this: if you intend to use them in potato salad or egg salad, cut up, then they will peel perfectly no matter how you cook them or how old they are. If you intend to make deviled eggs for a picnic attended by people you would like to impress, no matter how you cook them or how old they are, the peels will come off as described by Ukulele Ike above. Or worse.

shunpiker 04-27-2017 09:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayT (Post 20168357)
The rule about peeling hardboiled eggs is this: if you intend to use them in potato salad or egg salad, cut up, then they will peel perfectly no matter how you cook them or how old they are. If you intend to make deviled eggs for a picnic attended by people you would like to impress, no matter how you cook them or how old they are, the peels will come off as described by Ukulele Ike above. Or worse.

Have you posted that in the "What 'laws' have you come up with?" thread? :)

Okrahoma 04-27-2017 09:18 PM

I tried it at least a dozen different ways. I concluded that it is the old/fresh eggs thing. Fresh eggs won't peel easily no matter how you cook them/cool them.

not what you'd expect 04-27-2017 09:26 PM

I don't think there is a good answer. I've tried just about every trick I've ever heard of and sometimes they peel easy and sometimes they don't.

When it matters, I usually just make a few extra and hope I end up with enough decent ones.

Aspenglow 04-27-2017 09:41 PM

Please. Try steaming them. Just once.

I raise hens and use fresh eggs, still warm from the hen, all the time. I hard cooked half a dozen such eggs this morning. It works great.

You can use any cheap old vegetable steamer you have hanging around. Put it in a pot, fill with water to the bottom of the steamer. Add your eggs, warm, cold, whatever. Put the lid on. Turn on the heat. When you know it's steaming (I use a glass lid on my pot so I can see), reduce heat just enough so the steaming continues and set a timer for 13 minutes.

When the eggs are done cooking, plunge them into cold water and ice. This is not to loosen the shells. It simply stops the eggs from cooking and prevents that nasty blue sulfur ring they can get.

Peel. Easily. Every time.

Peanuthead 04-27-2017 10:06 PM

Tap them on the counter to crack them all over and peel under cold running water. I got that from the Frugal Gourmet and it really works.

CairoCarol 04-27-2017 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike (Post 20168347)

Yesterday I decided to pickle some eggs --

Can you give us the recipe? I also pickle eggs and would be interested in seeing if our recipes are similar or not. (Mine is basically water, vinegar, sugar, beet juice, and whole cloves - boil together, then pour over peeled eggs and refrigerate. Ready in 3-5 days.)

The beet juice turns the eggs a beautiful shade of crimson. I like to make them for parties because they are so lovely. But no one ever eats them. My husband and I don't care; that's more leftovers for us.

dropzone 04-27-2017 10:23 PM

Yeah, but he was a perv and his cooking advice is automatically suspect. ;)

Not Carlson 04-27-2017 10:26 PM

I seldom have trouble peeling eggs because I always crack them BEFORE boiling them.
If cracked too much, the whites will bubble out during boiling, but a gentle tap on the counter top is usually enough to create a small fracture that allows the shell to separate easily once the egg is boiled.

Give it a try next time.

Ukulele Ike 04-27-2017 10:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CairoCarol (Post 20168510)
Can you give us the recipe? I also pickle eggs and would be interested in seeing if our recipes are similar or not. (Mine is basically water, vinegar, sugar, beet juice, and whole cloves - boil together, then pour over peeled eggs and refrigerate. Ready in 3-5 days.)

Sounds like we're on the same page.

I take 2 or 3 medium red beets, simmer until tender, then put a cup of the beet water into a saucepan with a half-cup of cider vinegar, a couple tablespoons of sugar, a tablespoon of kosher salt, and some fresh-ground back pepper. I hate cloves, so I substitute a bay leaf. Simmer for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves, then pour over the peeled sliced beets, a sliced onion, and the eggs. And I give it at least 48 hours in the fridge before tucking in.

You can cheat by buying a quart of Manischevitz Borscht in the kosher section of the supermarket and just dropping your eggs into that. But I like the pickled onions and beets especially as a summer side dish.

Ukulele Ike 04-27-2017 10:43 PM

I plan to invoke the power of our Dark Lord Satan over the next pot of eggs I boil. My immortal soul in exchange for easy peeling, plus a warm roll with butter. (I need a snack)

I'll report how it turns out.

TruCelt 04-27-2017 11:02 PM

I'll see your steaming and raise you one - I bake them. You need a muffin tin or a jelly roll pan to keep them from rolling around in there. Oneeach in a muffin tin works great.

Set them in a cold oven and set the timer for 30 minutes; set the heat to 325. Go read a book.

When they come out, cool them by any method you like - I usually eat the first couple hot with butter and toast. They peel like a dream.

NAF1138 04-27-2017 11:12 PM

Once upon a time this site required cites to support options.

So, go read this from The Food Lab

Also a follow up article with further research.

The key to perfect peeling is starting cold eggs in a hot environment. Steam or straight into boiling water. Both work.

Evidence and experiments etc etc above. Also, cooking times and methods.

Don't be fooled by old wives tales. Trust science.

Novelty Bobble 04-28-2017 03:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspenglow (Post 20168436)
Please. Try steaming them. Just once.

I agree, I steam for hard and soft boiled eggs. Get the steamer steaming, pop the eggs in (no need to prick with this method either) and I give it 5 minutes for soft boiled and 8 minutes for hard.

For the hard eggs I then pop them into cold water for a few minutes to make them easy to handle and peel under running water while still warm. Never any problems regardless of the freshness of egg.

elbows 04-28-2017 06:34 AM

Add baking soda to the boiling water. The eggs will peel quite easily. Someone just taught me this and it works well!

Also, I crack the eggs thoroughly with the back of my knife, a which also makes them easily peeled!

NAF1138 04-28-2017 06:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 20168841)
. Never any problems regardless of the freshness of egg.

For good reason. Even the freshest store bought eggs are old enough that it won't make much difference how old your eggs are. If you are getting them farm fresh it can be more difficult. Still, steaming is great because it's faster than boiling.

See food lab articles linked in my post above.

psychonaut 04-28-2017 07:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspenglow (Post 20168436)
Please. Try steaming them. Just once.

Peel. Easily. Every time.

When making hard-boiled eggs, I always steam them. It seems to have no effect on how easy they are to peel. Sometimes they peel easily, but usually not.

NAF1138 04-28-2017 07:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psychonaut (Post 20168958)
When making hard-boiled eggs, I always steam them. It seems to have no effect on how easy they are to peel. Sometimes they peel easily, but usually not.

Do you put them into the hot steam or do you put them into the cold pot and then start the steam?

John Mace 04-28-2017 07:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ukulele Ike (Post 20168347)
Jesus, this is like hiccup remedies.

You hold your breath while the eggs are boiling??? :)

psychonaut 04-28-2017 08:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NAF1138 (Post 20168968)
Do you put them into the hot steam or do you put them into the cold pot and then start the steam?

I use a dedicated egg steaming device. First I put the eggs and water in, then I turn on the machine. It beeps when all the water has boiled away.

Novelty Bobble 04-28-2017 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NAF1138 (Post 20168941)
For good reason. Even the freshest store bought eggs are old enough that it won't make much difference how old your eggs are. If you are getting them farm fresh it can be more difficult. Still, steaming is great because it's faster than boiling.

I normally get mine from the local farm with a "laid on" date that is normally within the previous day or two.

NAF1138 04-28-2017 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 20169165)
I normally get mine from the local farm with a "laid on" date that is normally within the previous day or two.

I am super jealous.

Quote:

Originally Posted by psychonaut (Post 20169094)
I use a dedicated egg steaming device. First I put the eggs and water in, then I turn on the machine. It beeps when all the water has boiled away.

Try putting a pot small pot of water on the stove and put about an inch of water into it. Slap a lid on and let it boil then gently lower the eggs straight into the water. If you don't have a steamer basket this works just as well and you get the speed of steaming.

Novelty Bobble 04-28-2017 10:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NAF1138 (Post 20169272)
I am super jealous.

They are good, the sizes are all over the place but it is a small price to pay.

What I really want to find is a local supplier of bantam eggs, I love those crazy little fellas. The yolk seems to take up around 75% of the egg and I've never had a reliable enough supply to get the soft-boiling time right. I live in hope.

snoe 04-28-2017 11:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NAF1138 (Post 20168617)
So, go read this from The Food Lab

Also a follow up article with further research.

The key to perfect peeling is starting cold eggs in a hot environment. Steam or straight into boiling water. Both work.

The two posts give contradictory advice -- to be crystal clear, the author's current preferred method is given in the second link. (I follow this method, the boiling version. It works! Usually.)

NAF1138 04-28-2017 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snoe (Post 20169474)
The two posts give contradictory advice -- to be crystal clear, the author's current preferred method is given in the second link. (I follow this method, the boiling version. It works! Usually.)

It's been a while since I read them. I saved them because I really like the food lab blog and it seemed like a handy reference. Mostly I feel like reading them both gives you insight into they why, but looking back it looks like he even says in the first link that he replaced it with the second one.

jz78817 04-28-2017 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HoneyBadgerDC (Post 20167897)
My experience, sometimes it almost falls off by itself and sometimes I have to peel it one flake at a time and everything in-between. My usual method of cooking I add eggs to cold water and bring to a boil for about a minute. I let them sit in the hot water for about 10 min and then move to cold water for about 10 more minutes to cool before peeling. I am starting to believe that some eggs just peel easier than others. Are there any sure fire methods for easy peeling?

in my experience, apart from the freshness of the egg (which plays a role,) the slower/more gently you hard cook them, the harder it is to peel them. worst by a long shot was using a sous vide circulator to cook them; 170 degrees for 45 minutes. huge ribbons of the white were peeling away with the shells.

pulykamell 04-28-2017 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Novelty Bobble (Post 20168841)
I agree, I steam for hard and soft boiled eggs. Get the steamer steaming, pop the eggs in (no need to prick with this method either) and I give it 5 minutes for soft boiled and 8 minutes for hard.

Steaming advocate here, too, but my times are different. 6 for soft, 12 for hard. But I do them straight from the fridge. My method is a little different than Aspenglow's. I put the eggs in once the water starts boiling, not before. Then I cover, reduce heat a little bit, and set the timer. It's a fast method to boot, too, since it doesn't take all that long to boil up a pint (if that) of water (you only need enough water that it doesn't all completely evaporate by the end of the time.) Twelve minutes gives me perfectly hard-boiled eggs, no green or gray or around the yolk, no chalkiness. I've tried ten minutes, but there's still yolk oozing at that point, so something like "medium boiled" eggs, if there's such a thing. Do your own experiments to see what works best with your cooking vessels and eggs.

After that, they get dunked into an ice bath. I wait about 10 minutes and then peel them under running water. Now, I'm not sure what people define as "peel easily," but I can't remember the last time I've had any white stick to the shell using this method. This is not to say the shells just slip right off. Sometimes they do, but sometimes they take a little bit extra smacking the egg around to loosen the shell (and this is all from the same age batch.) But I haven't had a white stick to the shell in I can't remember when, and I just did a bunch of a couple dozen eggs for Easter.

moojja 04-28-2017 11:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aspenglow (Post 20168436)
Please. Try steaming them. Just once.

I raise hens and use fresh eggs, still warm from the hen, all the time. I hard cooked half a dozen such eggs this morning. It works great.

You can use any cheap old vegetable steamer you have hanging around. Put it in a pot, fill with water to the bottom of the steamer. Add your eggs, warm, cold, whatever. Put the lid on. Turn on the heat. When you know it's steaming (I use a glass lid on my pot so I can see), reduce heat just enough so the steaming continues and set a timer for 13 minutes.

When the eggs are done cooking, plunge them into cold water and ice. This is not to loosen the shells. It simply stops the eggs from cooking and prevents that nasty blue sulfur ring they can get.

Peel. Easily. Every time.

I have to try that, does not work.

Bill Door 04-28-2017 12:18 PM

I pressure cook mine in an electric pressure cooker on the high pressure setting. That's 11.6 psi, or, for the SI folks, 79,979.18, ah hell, call it 80,000 Pascals.

I put them in cold in a basket over one cup of water, run for three minutes at pressure, then quick release and plunge into cold water. They peel perfectly every time. Sometimes too easily, when I color Easter eggs with the grandchildren I like to kind of crackle the shell before dying to give a colored design to the egg underneath, but if done in the pressure cooker crackling the shell results in it falling off.

Irishman 04-28-2017 12:23 PM

To summarize the second article:

1) Use older eggs, not fresh ones. Any store-bought egg is sufficiently old, as they sit for 30+ days during handling. This is for ease of peeling. Fresh eggs do not peel well.

2) Put the egg into already hot water. This can be boiling water or steaming the eggs. Steaming eggs works faster because you don't have to wait for as much water to come to boil, just a small layer at the bottom of the pot and a steaming basket to hold the eggs.

3) Drop eggs into boiling water, cook for about 30 seconds, then drop the temperature to a low simmer (bubbles beginning to form).Thehigh temperature sets the outside of thewhites to aid peeling.Cooking at a low simmer keeps the temperature around 180 F. (You can use a thermometer, or justuse the bubbles as a guide.)This allows the temperature inside the egg to even outso theyolk gets done without overcooking the white and forming a green yolk surface.For steaming eggs, there is no need to drop the temperature.

4) Cook for 12 to 15 minutes. It is harder to overcook because you keep the water temp at the right level that holds the eggs at the perfect cook temperature*, so duration isn't critical as long as you cook sufficiently long.

5) When you remove the eggs from the heat, shock them with ice water, and fully cool them. The cold water shock helps prevent the divots in the bottom end so the eggs are more fully round, and this process also helps the egg peel easily.

Viola! Perfect hard boiled eggs with no green yolk and easy to peel.

* The interesting fact about cooking is that the amount of cooking is controlled by temperature, not time. Time allows the heat to soak through the food to cook the interior, but using high heat is what causes the exterior to overcook while the interior is getting done. If you hold the temperature constant, the food will come to done and not continue cooking beyond that temp. There is a cooking technique called sous videthat vacuum seals food in pouches and then cooks them in a relatively low temperature bath for long periods --hours. It demonstrates the principle. Eggs held at 170 F can essentially sit for hours and not overcook.

Irishman 04-28-2017 12:37 PM

According to the article, the keys to easy peeling are to put the eggs in after the water has reached temperature, not put in cold water and heat with the water; and cold shocking the egg when removed from the heat, plus allowing to fully cool. Slow heating and slow cooling lead to the egg and shell binding.

Also, he looked at pressure cookers, but recommends against them as they cook at a higher temperature than boiling or steaming. Thus, there is a tighter window for perfect eggs. One minute difference means the difference between still soft yolk center and green skin on yolk.

If you get good results consistently from your method, then there's no harm continuing to do it that way. But he did actual experimentation, data collection, and even double blind evaluation (a separate blinded test administrator from the cook, and a different blinded egg peeler who rated how easily they peeled).

Rezer 04-28-2017 01:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Door (Post 20169639)
I pressure cook mine in an electric pressure cooker on the high pressure setting. That's 11.6 psi, or, for the SI folks, 79,979.18, ah hell, call it 80,000 Pascals.

I put them in cold in a basket over one cup of water, run for three minutes at pressure, then quick release and plunge into cold water. They peel perfectly every time. Sometimes too easily, when I color Easter eggs with the grandchildren I like to kind of crackle the shell before dying to give a colored design to the egg underneath, but if done in the pressure cooker crackling the shell results in it falling off.

I came here to say exactly this. I've tried many of the methods here, but once I tried in a pressure cooker I stopped bothering with anything else. Before you even get started peeling the shell is typically already detached from the whites thanks to the quick release of pressure. And no need to fuss about the eggs being too fresh!

Gus Gusterson 04-28-2017 01:39 PM

Another vote for steaming. We tried everything else. Steaming is the only method we've found that works 100% of the time.

CarnalK 04-28-2017 02:23 PM

Kind of weird that not a single person has mentioned peeling technique. You don't have to do any of these odd cooking rituals if you just start from the big end where the air space is and make sure you are taking the skin with the shell as you peel.

pulykamell 04-28-2017 02:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 20169972)
Kind of weird that not a single person has mentioned peeling technique. You don't have to do any of these odd cooking rituals if you just start from the big end where the air space is and make sure you are taking the skin with the shell as you peel.

In my experience, it doesn't really make all that much a difference. It's slightly easier to dig in there, but that's about it. I think maybe the cold-hot-cold theory mentioned above is the trick.

CarnalK 04-28-2017 02:50 PM

It totally makes a difference as you can get under the skin easily from the beginning. I'm sure some of these techniques makes the skin less adhered but the proper peeling technique is how I described.

pulykamell 04-28-2017 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CarnalK (Post 20170044)
It totally makes a difference as you can get under the skin easily from the beginning. I'm sure some of these techniques makes the skin less adhered but the proper peeling technique is how I described.

It's easy enough to get under the skin from any angle, in my experience. Obviously, your technique works for you. I use the running water to help make that separation. Do whatever works for you. I prefer starting from the middle of the egg.

Aspenglow 04-28-2017 03:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by psychonaut (Post 20168958)
When making hard-boiled eggs, I always steam them. It seems to have no effect on how easy they are to peel. Sometimes they peel easily, but usually not.

I cannot account for your failures, I'm afraid. All I know is that steaming works great for me, and I cook a lot of very fresh, previously-hard-to-peel eggs with this method. I think others have clarified the science behind why it works and it pretty much dovetails with my personal experience.

I hope you find a solution, because peeling a batch of sulky eggs is not a fun way to spend your time!

Mind's Eye, Watering 04-28-2017 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Irishman (Post 20169696)
According to the article, the keys to easy peeling are to put the eggs in after the water has reached temperature, not put in cold water and heat with the water; and cold shocking the egg when removed from the heat, plus allowing to fully cool. Slow heating and slow cooling lead to the egg and shell binding.

Also, he looked at pressure cookers, but recommends against them as they cook at a higher temperature than boiling or steaming. Thus, there is a tighter window for perfect eggs. One minute difference means the difference between still soft yolk center and green skin on yolk.

If you get good results consistently from your method, then there's no harm continuing to do it that way. But he did actual experimentation, data collection, and even double blind evaluation (a separate blinded test administrator from the cook, and a different blinded egg peeler who rated how easily they peeled).

I just tried this method this evening, using eggs fresh from the store, and the eggs were a dream to peel!

Boiling water dumped directly on three dozen cold eggs, simmer for 5 minutes, steep (on burner but heat off for 7 minutes), then ice water until very cold.

The last time I did this, it took hours to peel them, and I trashed at least a half dozen. The ones I did use were all pretty rough looking.

I am now a believer! Thanks to all for this thread!

BetsQ 04-28-2017 11:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NAF1138 (Post 20168617)
Also a follow up article with further research.

I just made a batch using these instructions and the one egg I've peeled so far was perfect. I used eggs purchased from a farmers' market 6 days ago, which I suspect doesn't qualify as old.

Number 04-29-2017 01:10 AM

Steam in the basket of a rice cooker for 50 minutes, then put them into ice water until they're cool enough to peel.

I tried several techniques and initially avoided cooking them this long since most instructions warned it would be too long. But with this method they peel consistently and look and taste good to me.

JustinC 04-29-2017 06:11 AM

I put the eggs in boiling water, once they're done the pan goes in the sink and I run cold water over them for a few minutes.

Then an egg goes in a tall glass with enough water to cover it, cover the glass with one hand and shake up and down vigorously. The shell slips right off after that.

Mithras 04-29-2017 07:15 AM

I have the most success cooking the eggs at least the day before and refrigerating them. Then, when it's time to peel them, I put them in hot water for a little bit first. The theory is that the heat causes the shell to expand enough to not stick. Or I just feel like I'm doing something clever which causes me to think they peel easier.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:41 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.