Eggs — Getting Started with Sous-Vide

Eggs are one of the easiest places to start with sous-vide cooking. Since they already come in a convenient cooking shell you don’t need to worry about vacuum sealing them (so technically this isn’t exactly ‘sous-vide’).

From reading various web sites and an article in the New York Times, it seems that various pros have determined that 146 degrees is the right temperature for eggs. Simply place them in your thermal bath at 146 and leave them for 45 minutes or so.

One cool thing about sous-vide is that for many foods longer cooking doesn’t hurt anything. So in the case of eggs, if you leave them in for another hour (at least in my experiments) it doesn’t change the result.

 At 146 (my bath is only accurate to about +/- 1 degree) I get a very soft egg with much of the “white” very runny. For serving, if I crack it carefully and let the very runny part drain off then placed the rest of the white and yolk on a piece of toast it was a custard-like version of a poached egg.

At 155 degrees, the yolk hardens up to a solid (athough still soft) consistency. The runny part of the white doesn’t seem to change from at 145 though.

At 160 degrees and 45 minutes, I wound up with what I’d describe as a hard-boiled egg. I liked the texture of the white quite a bit more than at lower temperatures and much better than the texture of a traditional “boiled” egg, but the yolk was pretty much the same as a boiled egg. Whether I left it in for 45 or 90 minutes didn’t make too much difference, although the 45 minute version did seem a little more succulent.

Since at 160 the yolk was already plenty hard, I decided not to experiment with any higher temperatures. So next I tried 160 for less time. 160F for 30 minutes was quite interesting. The yolk was mostly hard, and much of the white was like a soft-boiled egg, but the runny part of the white in particular was almost buttery. I had to look twice to make sure I hadn’t accidently put some melted butter in the bowl with the egg. Definitely a novel and extremely pleasing taste!–David

 

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January 21, 2006. Recipes, Technique.

8 Comments

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  3. Lau replied:

    Very interesting. You didn’t manage to get a result where the white was completely stiff and the yoke was runny?

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  5. Moe Rubenzahl replied:

    I did my own experiments with a low budget thermos water bath sous vide.

    See: http://feedme.typepad.com/my_weblog/2010/05/eggs-sous-vide.html

    I need a few more tests but it looks like it’s true: A well-set white with still runny yolk won’t happen with sous vide since the required yolk and white temperatures are different.

    But you can make a “63 degree egg” as many fine restaurants serve and I would like to experiment with herb-infused cream and the like, served atop toast or a salad. Stay tuned…

  6. simulacrum replied:

    perhaps dipping the egg into boiling water for a minute or so after the water bath would help set the outer part of the white a little more, allowing the whole egg to be peeled neatly.

    • sousvide replied:

      simulacrum–Interesting idea about a boiling water ‘rinse’. I’ll definitely give that a try on one of my next egg batches. In the meantime I’ve mostly settled in on the 146 * 60, but may do more experiments with the 160 * 30 and other higher temp combos. Either way they make a great quick snack or breakfast complement as they keep in the fridge for weeks.

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