Cooking Rules for Eggs: 1. Avoidexcessive temperatures 2. Avoid excessive cooking time
Functions of Eggs: Other than the obvious two…flavor and color. 1.They cause foods to get thick… “thickening” • They serve as a “tenderizer”… the opposite of tender is “tough” 3. They serve as a “binder”… holding the food together 4. They “clarify”…make liquids clear and transparent 5. They cause foods to get brown… “browning” 6. They “preserve texture” 7. They “enrich”… adding nutrients such as protein 8. They make foods rise… a “leavening agent”. .
PARTS OF AN EGG AIR CELL THICK ALBUMEN INNER AND OUTER SHELL MEMBRANES THIN ALBUMEN SHELL CHALAZAE YOLK VITELLINE MEMBRANE
EGG GRADING Egg grades are based on the shape of the yolk and the amounts of thick and thin whites. Before they are sold, eggs are graded. This used to be done by holding the egg over a bright light so you could see through the shell. This process was called “candling”. Grade AA egg Grade A egg The egg will lose quality as it ages. The older an egg gets, the flatter the yolk and thinner the whites.
How can you tell a fresh egg from a spoiled one? A spoiled egg has a shiny shell and floats inwater. It is only AFTER you crack open the egg that it smells bad, and by that time you may have added the egg to your other ingredients. That would be TOO LATE! If you suspect that an egg may be spoiled, use this water test first. A fresh egg has a domed yolk (not flattened). There is plenty of thick egg white (notice both the thick and thin whites in the picture) and the whites are translucent (see-thru).
Separating Eggs Some recipes call just for the egg whites, while others call only for the yolks. When separating the two parts, be careful not to break the yolk. If a yolk does break and gets into the white, use the sharp edge of an empty shell to scoop the yolk out of the whites. An “egg separator” utensil such as this one can be purchased by those who have difficulty separating eggs.
Egg whites start out being “slimy”. As they are beaten, air is added. The whites turn from pale yellow to white in color and increase in “volume”. The more volume…the better. You should follow as many rules as possible for… increasing the volume of beaten egg whites! A. Eggs should be at room temperature B. Don’t get any yolk mixed in with the whites C. Use a smaller deep bowl, rather than a larger shallow one D. Use a copper bowl E. Make sure eggs are at least 3 days old F. No grease residue allowed! (none on beaters, bowl, etc.)
MERINGUE A “meringue” is basically a mixture of beaten egg whites and sugar. Although there are several types, the most common use of meringue is as a topping for pies. If the oven temperature is too high, the meringue will shrivel and shrink back from the edges of the crust. Too low of temperature causes the meringue to be dry. If too much sugar is beaten into the egg whites, yellow liquid “beads” will appear on the baked and cooled meringue. This is called “weeping”. It is an undesirablequality…measure carefully!
Your egg whites turned gray while being beaten? You were probably using an aluminum bowl or aluminum beaters, or perhaps your nickel or chrome plated beaters have a nick on the finish. Egg whites exposed to aluminum causes them to turn gray in color! Your egg whites turned green while being beaten? Were you using a copper bowl that had traces of some sort of acid present…like cream of tartar or lemon juice? The metalcopper in combination with acid causes egg whites to turn a greenish color!
Selecting eggs for hard-cooking (hard boiling) ... EGGS USED FOR HARD-COOKING MUST BE AT LEAST 3 DAYS OLD! In eggs fresher than 3 days old, the outer membrane adheres to the shell during the cooking process. When you try to peel the egg, chunks of egg white cling to the shell, and are removed when the egg is peeled. What a mess!
How can you tell a raw egg from a hard-cooked egg without breaking the shell? Place the egg on it’s pointed end, and spin it like a toy top. A hard-cooked egg will spin, but a raw egg will topple over immediately! (The heavy yolk wobbles back and forth inside, causing the egg to topple over.)
COMMON EGG DISHES: DEVILLED EGGS 1. Check eggs for cracks. Cover with cold water. 2. Bring water to just-under-boiling. Time for 10 minutes. 3. Immediately cool eggs. Overcooking allows the iron in the yolk to reach the outside of the yolk and leave a green ring around the yolk. 4. Remove shells. 6. Place yolks in a shallow dish, such as a pie plate. 7. Thoroughly mash yolks with a fork. 5. Cut eggs in half lengthwise and remove yolks. 8. Moisten with mayonnaise. Add mustard and seasonings to taste. 9. Fill hollows of egg whites with the yolk mixture. Garnish as desired. Paprika is a popular garnish…adding color and sweetness.
COMMON EGG DISHES: OMELETS 1. Select a skillet with sloping sides and a lid. Non-stick surfaces such as teflon are ideal. 2. Beat whole eggs and seasonings. Usually 2 or 3 eggs are used. 3. Melt butter in skillet (even if teflon) and add beaten eggs. 4. Carefully lift edges of cooked eggs, allowing uncooked mixture to run underneath. 5. If you are adding fillings such as diced ham and grated cheese, place those fillings on only ½ of the egg mixture. Adding the lid at this time will help heat the filling. 6.Using a spatula/turner, carefully lift the unfilled side of the cooked egg mixture and fold it in half over the filled side of the omelet. Continue cooking ‘til filling is completely done. 7. Carefully slide the omelet out of the skillet and onto a plate. 8. Serve this “french omelet” plain or with condiments. A “puffy” omelet is one in which stiffly beaten egg whites are folded into egg yolks. It starts cooking on the stovetop and finishes in the oven. It is not filled, but often served with sauce.
COMMON EGG DISHES: CUSTARDS A “custard” is any soft, egg-based dish. Unsweetened ones can be served as main or side dishes, while sweet custards are served for dessert. Real men don’t eat quiche! The delicate flavors of this custard-based dish are often not appreciated by the “meat and potatoes” crowd. Served as a main dish for breakfast or lunch, common quiche fillings include ham, crumbled bacon, sausage, swiss cheese, and vegetables. Pumpkin pie and baked custard cups are two favorite dessert custards. Use the knife test to check a custard for doneness. Insert the knife halfway between the center and the edge of the dish. If the knife comes out clean…the custard is done. These custard cups are set in a pan of water for baking. The water moderates the baking temperature.
Adding egg yolks to hot mixtures... You cannot add egg yolks directly to hot mixtures or the egg will cook instantly and cause lumps! You must first “warm” the yolks. Begin by slowly adding the hot mixture to the beaten yolks while stirring the yolks constantly. Then reverse the procedure, adding the warmed yolks to the hot mixture. This process of warming the yolks first is called… tempering!
Challenging egg dishes... Are you looking for a challenge? Perhaps you should try making a souffle’. Served as a main or side dish, or sweetened and served as dessert…the key ingredient of any souffle’ are the beaten egg whites that are carefully folded in. The voluminous egg whites cause the souffle’ to rise, but even a slight vibration or temperature change may cause it to “fall”! This “high hat” souffle is baked in a straight sided dish. It rises above the edge of the dish and obtains a crown-effect. A traditional hollandaise is a mild egg, butter, and lemon sauce that requires constant stirring. It is served over green vegetables or “eggs benedict”. Shown on the right, this consists of an English muffin topped with canadian bacon, poached egg, and sauce.
THE END NOW IT'S YOUR TURN TO COOK THE INCREDIBLE, EDIBLE EGGS!
Preparing individuals for life and work • Strengthening families • Empowering communities Created by Barbara L. Swarthout, Family & Consumer Sciences teacher at Elkhorn High School