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  #1  
Old 09-20-2010, 02:21 PM
emmaliminal emmaliminal is offline
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Diagnose my watery quiche

I made a quiche for the first time last night, and it wasn't quite right. I'm not a very good cook -- don't like cooking much -- but I'm trying to get better, and if this recipe can be made to work, I might use it a lot. I followed the recipe pretty exactly, though I added 1/4 lb. of hard salami in tiny bits and the white part of a well-cleaned leek to that "Basic Quiche" to which "almost anything can be added" though directions or guidelines for additions aren't given. It tasted great, and I liked the texture, but it was really watery. My husband grabbed the turkey baster and sucked 1/3 cup or more of clearish, whey-like liquid out of the center of the thing after it'd finished baking and cooled for a while.

What went wrong?

Our two leading theories:

a) Didn't drain the leek well enough after washing the sand out of it

b) The half-and-half ingredients list says it contains "disodium phosphate" (maybe used to keep it homogenized? I dunno), and this additive messes up the egg-and-dairy reaction
Other possibilities:
c) The el cheapo Jarlsberg I bought was subpar

d) Our oven temperature is off
Anyone? (TIA)
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  #2  
Old 09-20-2010, 02:25 PM
otternell otternell is offline
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That recipe looked like a high proportion of half-n-half to the eggs to me. I have a quiche recipe that I use and adapt, and I get a little clear fluid but not excessive.
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  #3  
Old 09-20-2010, 02:28 PM
Diogenes the Cynic Diogenes the Cynic is offline
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My guess would run in the following order:

1. uncooked egg.
2. Too much half-and-half
3. Too much water in the leeks
4. Possibly some rendered oil from the salami and cheese.


If you're sure it was cooked, I think you most likely just had too much half-and-half in it (you don't need much).
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  #4  
Old 09-20-2010, 02:28 PM
silenus silenus is offline
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Bake it longer at a lower temperature. Your oven was likely too high and the cheese started to separate. Sub-par cheese can aggravate this as well.
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  #5  
Old 09-20-2010, 04:56 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is online now
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If you're worried about the disodium phosphate, just use half real honest-to-God cream and half honest-to-God milk.

I use the Joy of Cooking recipe, which I don't have with me here at work, so I can't check its dairy/egg proportions, but whatever they are has always worked for me.
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  #6  
Old 09-20-2010, 05:00 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is online now
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Wait, wait: I forgot, I emailed my recipe to someone. Here's what I use:

- 2 or 3 slices of bacon, sliced and fried (I like to add a little chopped onion to this while it cooks)
- about half a bag of baby spinach (maybe a salad bowl's worth?)

(put these first into the bottom of the crust, then pour the rest over it -- it will float up anyway)

- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups cream (or part cream and part milk)
- 1/2 tsp salt (and pepper if you want)

Beat together and pour over the meat and vegetables. Bake at 375 F for 25 - 35 minutes.

OP, your recipe starts baking at 425, which sounds waaay hot to me. Try my version - it's flexible, and can accommodate leeks.
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  #7  
Old 09-20-2010, 05:01 PM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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That seems like a lot of half-and-half to me, too. The recipe I use for spinach quiche has 6 eggs to 1 cup of milk (for two quiches), and it still has some liquid left over (although some of that is from the spinach, I'm sure).
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  #8  
Old 09-20-2010, 05:08 PM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
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Way too much half and half, and too high a cooking temperature.
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  #9  
Old 09-20-2010, 05:13 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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There are a LOT of reasons why your quiche might be runny, most of which have already been mentioned in this thread. The easy fix is to just add more eggs. Next time, try it with 6 eggs instead of 4. And add more salt - I'd do a full teaspoon. The salt will help the proteins to bond better. It's science!

And also, you do want to get any additives (leeks, etc) as dry as you possibly can. Did you cook the leeks before adding it? If not, that's almost certainly your problem, though I would also up the salt & eggs per my above suggestion. You simply cannot put raw vegetables in a quiche without it getting watery, at least not without adding flour or some other thickener (which, IMO, makes it icky. Just saute the veggies first.)

Edit: just saw Contrapuntal and Purplehorseshoe's posts and checked the temperature. Yikes! Way too high. Try 325 degrees.

Last edited by Athena; 09-20-2010 at 05:15 PM..
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  #10  
Old 09-20-2010, 09:04 PM
Rahne McCloud Rahne McCloud is offline
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You can try this recipe, we have been using it for years with different combinations of meats and cheese.

6 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 cup cheese (swiss, or cheddar)
1 cup of your favorite meat (shrimp, crab, sausage, bacon, or ham)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 9 inch deep dish pie crust
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Using a wire whisk blend eggs, half and half, salt and pepper. Spread meat on bottom of pie crust. Pour egg mixture into pie crust. Spread cheese over the top. Bake at 350 for 45 to 60 min. or until top is golden brown.

We also make a veggie one also subbing veggies for meat. Use frozen spinach and remove as much moisture as you can, fresh mushrooms, broccoli, and sliced tomatoes.
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  #11  
Old 09-20-2010, 09:57 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Too high temperatures have ruined many a pan of scrambled eggs.
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  #12  
Old 09-20-2010, 11:18 PM
Hockey Monkey Hockey Monkey is offline
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If the liquid is clear and whey-like the eggs are probably over cooked. When they are too done, the proteins seize up and strangle all the water out of them.
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  #13  
Old 09-21-2010, 06:13 AM
chela chela is offline
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OH yeah that recipe is off with the liquid proportions. Though I venture to say the temps are right, start at 425, then turn down to 350, but leave it in longer than the recipe says.
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  #14  
Old 09-21-2010, 04:17 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey Monkey View Post
If the liquid is clear and whey-like the eggs are probably over cooked. When they are too done, the proteins seize up and strangle all the water out of them.
This is the right answer. This is exactly what happens if you overcook any custard. Your oven temperature may be too hot, or maybe you left it in too long. You should remove it from the oven when the center is still a bit jiggly; it will finish cooking as it cools off.

If the proportions had been off, you would not have had a whey-like liquid separating out; the whole thing would just be not-firm.

Last edited by needscoffee; 09-21-2010 at 04:19 PM..
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  #15  
Old 09-21-2010, 04:47 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
If the proportions had been off, you would not have had a whey-like liquid separating out; the whole thing would just be not-firm.
Nah. There's only so much liquid each egg can absorb. You can definitely have watery quiche without it being overcooked. I can dig out my McGee if you want the science of it.
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  #16  
Old 09-21-2010, 07:25 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Athena View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
If the proportions had been off, you would not have had a whey-like liquid separating out; the whole thing would just be not-firm.
Nah. There's only so much liquid each egg can absorb. You can definitely have watery quiche without it being overcooked. I can dig out my McGee if you want the science of it.
No, that is wrong. Maybe you're thinking of a colloidal suspension like mayo. Egg and milk/cream doesn't separate unless it's overcooked. It may not firm up if you don't have enough eggs (although there are plenty enough in the recipe). The same thing happens if you cook a baked custard too long, clear liquid squeezes out of the mixture. The tertiary structure of the protein denatures and cannot hold the liquid anymore. Hockey Monkey is correct.

Have you ever made creme anglaise? A typical recipe uses 4 yolks (or a little under 2 whole eggs - whole eggs will actually firm up better than yolks alone) for 2 cups of liquid, 1/2 the amount of eggs per liquid as the quiche recipe. As long as you cook it very gently, it won't separate. Same if you have 1 egg per 2 cups of liquid, or any smaller proportion. It won't thicken enough to work as a sliced quiche, but it will cook up.

I just went into the kitchen and cooked up 1 cup of milk and 1/4 tsp beaten egg. It cooked up just fine, although obviously very thin. But if it boils, it separates.
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  #17  
Old 09-21-2010, 08:54 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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You're forgetting that you're adding things to it. Creme Anglaise is much easier, as there are no chunks of watery vegetables and cheese.

Add a watery bit of leek or green pepper or cheese, and as you cook, liquid leaches out. It's like a watery lasagna at that point, the custard may be done, but the surrounding eggs can't absorb the water that comes out of the added stuff, so you end up with pockets of liquid in the quiche.

The easy fix is to cook all the veggies before you add them to the quiche, and adding more salt helps the proteins bond a bit better. I've found that a higher egg-to-liquid ratio helps as well, though the end result isn't as delicate as the proverbial "perfect" quiche.
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  #18  
Old 10-21-2010, 06:23 PM
emmaliminal emmaliminal is offline
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For anyone who's interested -- I've made a quiche a week since the one I asked about, and I can say definitively that
  • there was too much liquid
  • it was cooked too long at 425° and not long enough at 350°
  • the leeks and salami had nothing to do with it
  • the kind of cheese had nothing to do with it
  • the relative richness of the half-and-half or its disodium phosphate additive was not the problem
I now use:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half (whole milk works too, but half-and-half tastes better)
  • 6 oz. cheese (more-expensive cheese tastes better, but doesn't affect the texture much)
  • whatever add-ins I've got on hand, up to about 1.5 cups total (more makes it overflow) -- pre-cooked or not as per flavor preference
  • whatever spices seem like they'd go well with the add-ins
and cook 10 min. at 425°, then 40 min. at 350°.

I use the local store-brand refrigerated pie crust, and with the 425°/350° setup it doesn't need pre-baking to have a great texture. At 350° the whole time it was doughy.

I have one in the oven right now: add-ins are sautéed (almost fried or caramelized -- I suck at understanding the difference) mushrooms, sweet red pepper, and grated carrot, which is to say what I found in the fridge; spices are white pepper, ginger, garlic powder, and chipotle. It smells heavenly. Hard salami is especially good as the final (top) layer where it gets crispy -- don't have any on hand today, sadly.

I read somewhere online that a Gewurztraminer or a Pinot Gris/Grigio would be a good match. Local grocery doesn't carry any Gewurztraminers but has 30 or 40 different Pinot Gris; so far we've found that, of the two cheapest, Barefoot brand is good, while Yellow Tail is not so good (with the quiche, at least). Tonight we have no wine, but do have some Smuttynose S'muttonator beer.
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  #19  
Old 10-21-2010, 06:52 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is offline
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Every time I read the title of this thread, it sounds like a euphemism for something absolutely filthy.
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  #20  
Old 10-21-2010, 06:57 PM
emmaliminal emmaliminal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hamster King View Post
Every time I read the title of this thread, it sounds like a euphemism for something absolutely filthy.
Hey, babe, whatever bakes your egg pie.
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  #21  
Old 10-21-2010, 07:00 PM
bienville bienville is offline
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I will never be able to unread this Thread title.

My eyes hurt now.
No, I didn't read the OP, I've suffered enough emotional damage just from the title.
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  #22  
Old 03-16-2013, 06:57 PM
ciara ciara is offline
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not to resurrect a dead thread -- but...

i made 3 perfect quiches - just canadian bacon and cheese added... i used the joy of cooking recipe (3 eggs 2 cups 1/2 and 1/2 (i used 5% instead)...
i par baked them to 90% (and they looked great) -- i little under cooked... then i topped w/ extra cheese (for final baking) and froze them wrapped

fast forward 3 days -- i put a frozen one in the oven - 375 - 40 min (cause 30 min it was only 120 degrees)

but on the 2nd baking it was really really watery (whey like) -- and of course now my crust was soaked and ruined.

so i think its over cooked.. BUT how much should i pre cook them for freezing... i can't freeze them 'raw' as that would be messy lol...

thanks
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  #23  
Old 03-16-2013, 10:31 PM
Baker Baker is offline
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I bake a lot of quiche at work, and the recipe does look like it has a high proportion of cream to egg. I'd either reduce the cream by around a quarter cup, or blend in and extra egg..

How fat was the salami? It's possible that fat melted out of it and caused the watery texture.
When I use bacon or sausage it's already cooked and drained.
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  #24  
Old 03-17-2013, 01:55 AM
Jeff Lichtman Jeff Lichtman is online now
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Did you use high-moisture or low-moisture mozzarella? There is quite a bit of water in the former. High-moisture mozzarella usually is packed in whey, while low-moisture mozzarella is usually just wrapped in plastic without any whey.

I also agree with all the suggestions that you should pre-cook any vegetables before adding them to the quiche.
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  #25  
Old 03-17-2013, 03:36 AM
sco3tt sco3tt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hamster King View Post
Every time I read the title of this thread, it sounds like a euphemism for something absolutely filthy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baker View Post
How fat was the salami?
Baker, you're just making it worse.
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  #26  
Old 03-17-2013, 03:37 AM
kbear kbear is offline
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My recipe calls for 3 eggs and one yolk....maybe less egg white helps? 1 1/2 cups cream and a handful of cheese plus what ever bits and pieces I feel like putting in...usually zucchini, spring onion and tomato on top. I've almost never had a problem with liquid.
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  #27  
Old 03-17-2013, 07:44 AM
Baker Baker is offline
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When I mix up quiche mix it's one part by volume of whole eggs, and two parts half and half(light cream)
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  #28  
Old 03-17-2013, 12:23 PM
DMark DMark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciara View Post
not to resurrect a dead thread -- but...

i made 3 perfect quiches - just canadian bacon and cheese added... i used the joy of cooking recipe (3 eggs 2 cups 1/2 and 1/2 (i used 5% instead)...
i par baked them to 90% (and they looked great) -- i little under cooked... then i topped w/ extra cheese (for final baking) and froze them wrapped

fast forward 3 days -- i put a frozen one in the oven - 375 - 40 min (cause 30 min it was only 120 degrees)

but on the 2nd baking it was really really watery (whey like) -- and of course now my crust was soaked and ruined.

so i think its over cooked.. BUT how much should i pre cook them for freezing... i can't freeze them 'raw' as that would be messy lol...

thanks
Took me a minute to realize this was a really old thread...just out of curiosity, why didn't you start a new thread?

At any rate, I make quiches and then freeze them....carefully taking them to freezer and letting them sit there "naked" until they are frozen fairly solid and then using the zip lock bag and using a straw to get out all of the air. Then they are air tight and frozen solid and can keep for months.

Defrost the quiche before cooking! Just let it sit out a bit (won't take long to defrost) until it is cool but not totally frozen. Then bake.

Maybe it is my oven, but I too always have to keep the quiche in a bit longer than the recipe suggests (and I too love my Joy Of Cooking book!). Those extra few minutes make ALL the difference between perfectly cooked or watery.

For non-cooks, quiches are one of the easiest dishes to make and you can prepare them, freeze them, and always have something good to eat in a pinch, or when company stops by.
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  #29  
Old 03-17-2013, 02:01 PM
limegreen limegreen is offline
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How much does the pie shell have to do with the chemistry of the quiche? I had all the ingredients for my favorite bacon and cheese quiche except for the pie crust (momentary amnesia at Walmart) and I was tempted to just go ahead and make it. What difference would it make to the final product?
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  #30  
Old 03-17-2013, 05:31 PM
Lightlystarched Lightlystarched is offline
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No difference at all. I never use a crust with my quiche. Do make sure to butter the pie dish very well to prevent sticking. Crustless quiche is a very popular low carb recipe.
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