Introduction: A Beginner's Guide to Cooking Soft Boiled Eggs
The purpose of these instructions is to illustrate how to cook soft boiled eggs with minimal cooking skill and equipment. There are hundreds of ways to cook and serve eggs, but few are as quick and delicious as a soft boiled egg. Soft boiled eggs are an easy way achieve a luscious, runny yolk without the risk of breaking the yolk during the cooking process. This process requires no specific cooking skill, only knowledge of how to operate a stove. This recipe should take about 15-20 minutes, but as you become more familiar with the steps it can take as few as 10 minutes.
Soft boiled eggs are an exciting change from scrambled or hard boiled eggs, and they can be cooked in nearly half the time of a hard boiled egg. Soft boiled eggs are an excellent addition to any breakfast, brunch, or snack and nothing beats that scrumptious, golden yolk.
WARNING: Soft boiled eggs are not to be consumed by those with weakened immune systems, very young children, and the elderly as they are at risk for salmonella infections. This same risk applies to any egg with a runny, liquid yolk.
Step 1: Materials Required
This process requires:
· A pot
· A timer or clock
· A stove
· Water for boiling
· A large spoon, ladle, or measuring cup for scooping the eggs in and out of the water
· A bowl or Tupperware for cooling your eggs
· Ice, or cold water for cooling your eggs
Step 2: Decide How Many Eggs You Want to Prepare
1. Decide how many eggs you want to prepare. You must consider the size of your cooking pot. In order to properly cook, all of the eggs must be able to lie flat against the bottom of the pot. If your pot is too small to accommodate this, consider cooking a second batch of eggs.
The accompanying picture demonstrates the correct way to fit eggs in a pot (left), and the incorrect way to fit eggs in a pot (right).
Step 3: Check the Size of Your Cooling Bowl
2. Place your desired number or eggs into your cooling bowl or Tupperware.
The eggs should lie flat against the bottom of the bowl or Tupperware. If the eggs do not lie flat against the bottom, obtain a larger container or a second container to act as a second cooling bowl.
This is a crucial, and easily ignored step. If your cooling bowl is not the appropriate size, you will not have a safe place to cool the hot eggs when you remove them from the boiling water. Without a proper sized cooling bowl you risk burning yourself or those around you, as well as overcooking your eggs.
The accompanying picture illustrates the correct way to choose a cooling container (left), and the incorrect way to choose a cooling container (right).
Step 4: Add the Correct Amount of Water to Cover Your Eggs
3. Place the eggs in your pot and pour in enough water to submerge the eggs.
It is reasonable for a small section of eggshell stick up out of the water as shown in the accompanying image, but the entire egg should be nearly covered with water.
Step 5: Remove the Eggs From the Pot
WARNING: Do not allow the raw eggs to sit at room temperature for more that two hours. Leaving eggs out at room temperature is a health hazard because it allows for dangerous bacterial growth and movement.
4. Remove the eggs from the pot of water and set them near the stove you will be cooking on.
You can place the eggs on a plate or a paper towel to ensure that they do not roll off the counter while you are working at the stove. The accompanying image shows an organized cook station with the eggs placed close to the stove.
Step 6: Place the Pot of Water on the Stove
WARNING: This step involves a stove at high heat and hot cooking equipment. To avoid injury, always use the pot handle when adjusting the position of your pot. Do not touch the water in the pot. If the water boils violently or boils over the sides of the pot, turn the stove off.
5. Place the pot of water on the stove and turn the stove on and set to HIGH.
The accompanying image illustrates a stove set to HIGH heat.
Carefully watch the water to determine when it has reached a steady boil which indicates that it is time to move on to the next step. If you leave the water to boil for a long period of time, too much water will evaporate and you will no longer have the correct amount of water to cook the eggs.
Step 7: Add the Eggs Into the Water
WARNING: This step involves a stove at high heat, boiling water, and hot cooking equipment. To avoid injury, keep your hands at least six inches from the boiling water when lowering the eggs into the pot. Do not touch the stove, water, or pot directly.
6. Slowly lower each egg to the bottom of the pot of boiling water using a large spoon, ladle, or measuring cup.
This step requires slow, steady movements. It is best to use a spoon with a long handle, which can keep your hands at a safe distance from the boiling water and it allows you to lower each egg all the way to the bottom of the pot. Do not drop the eggs into the water as this will crack the shell causing the egg to cook unevenly and possibly break the yolk.
Step 8: Set a Timer for 7 Minutes
7. Set a timer for seven minutes after the eggs have been submerged in the boiling water.
8. Watch the water to ensure that it is still at a steady boil during this time period.
If the eggs are especially cold when you add them to the boiling water, it is common for the water to stop boiling after they are added. If this happens, adjust your stove to a higher temperature to return the water to a boil. If the water stops boiling for more than a few seconds, pause your timer and resume it only when the water has returned to a boil. If the water begins to boil over the sides of the pot, adjust your stove to a lower temperature.
Step 9: Prepare Your Cooling Bowl
9. After five minutes have passed, fill your cooling bowl or Tupperware halfway with ice and water (See accompanying image).
If you do not have ice available, you can use cold water from the sink. Keep in mind that using cold water instead of ice water means the eggs will take longer to cool to a safe temperature.
Step 10: Remove the Eggs From the Boiling Water
WARNING: This step involves a hot stove, hot cooking equipment, and boiling water. To avoid injury, keep your hands at least six inches away from the boiling water when removing the eggs. Do not touch the stove, pot, water, or egg directly.
10. After seven minutes has passed, turn off the stove.
11. Individually scoop each egg out of the water using your long handled spoon or handled measuring cup.
The accompanying image illustrates an egg being removed from the water with a handled measuring cup.
12. Place each egg into your prepared cooling bowl.
Step 11: Cool the Eggs
13. Allow the eggs to sit in the ice water for one to three minutes before handling. This is illustrated in the accompanying picture.
This step is important because the ice water stops the egg from cooking any further, and it allows the eggs to cool to a safe temperature to handle and serve. If the eggs were left in the pot, the heat of the water inside the pot would continue to cook the egg to an uneven, hard boil consistency.
Step 12: Check to Make Sure the Eggs Are Cooked Properly
14. Gently tap the end of one egg on a hard surface until the shell is cracked.
15. Peel the excess shell from the outside of the egg and dispose of the shell.
The outside of the egg should be firm and white, similar to the consistency of a hard boiled egg. When you cut the egg, the yolk should be a viscous liquid, similar to the yolk of an over-easy egg. A properly cooked soft boiled egg is shown in the accompanying image.
If the outside of the egg is clear and jelly-like, it has not been cooked long enough and it is not safe to consume. The remaining eggs should be boiled for 1-2 minutes longer, or you may choose to start over. It is better to cook the eggs for a longer period of time, than to consume an undercooked egg.
Step 13: Remove the Shells and Serve
16. Remove the shells from the remaining eggs and serve.
Now that you have mastered the steps of making a scrumptious soft boiled egg, you can start incorporating them into other recipes. Soft boiled eggs are a common addition to ramen noodle soup, see accompanying picture. Soft boiled eggs are a rich source of protein that complement so many other foods, but are always delicious on their own. There are endless possibilities to try!