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Picture of How to Separate an Egg

There are many different ways of going about the simple kitchen task of how to separate an egg, but I'm going to keep it simple show you just my two favorite methods.

 
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Step 1: Choosing Your Eggs

Picture of Choosing Your Eggs

I make an effort to buy free range, organic eggs when I can. Not only because I want what's best for my body, but because the yolks are stronger, which makes them easier to separate without breaking them. I'm not sure of the science behind why this is the case, but it's been my experience that it's pretty consistently true.

Also, I find that eggs fresh from the fridge have a stronger yolk than room temperature eggs. (Again, a bonus when trying to separate them.) So if you're following a recipe that calls for room temperature eggs, I would separate them fresh out of the fridge and then let them sit covered until they've reached room temp.

Step 2: Method #1 - For Whites That Will Be Whipped

This is the method I grew up using. It's a classic.

If I'm going to be whipping the egg whites I'm separating, I use this technique in order to minimize contact with my hands. The natural oils on our skin can transfer to the whites, reducing their 'whippability'.

If you're using the whites for a recipe that is not getting cooked/baked, I recommend washing your eggs first in a solution of soapy water mixed with a few drops of bleach, then rinse very well.

The reason for doing this is that there is often bacteria on the egg's surface that can transfer to the whites and yolk during this separating process and if the whites will be consumed without first being cooked, there's a small chance of the bacteria being ingested. (thumbs down) If the recipe is going to be cooked, that process will kill the bacteria and washing the eggs isn't necessary.

What You'll Need

  • three bowls - one for the whites, one for the yolks, and one to work over
  • eggs
  • compost or garbage handy for shells

The How To

Wash your hands in warm, soapy water.

Set out your three bowls, with one right in front of you to work over.

Crack your egg, as close to the middle as possible, either by bringing it straight down onto the counter top with a little 'whack!' or by hitting it against the edge of a bowl.

Use your thumbs to pry the two halves apart, being careful to keep the yolk in one of the halves.

Transfer the yolk back and forth 2-3 times allowing the whites to fall into the bowl below as you do this. After these few passes, you should end up with the yolk in one half and the majority of the whites in the bowl below. It's ok if there is a little bit of whites attached to the yolk.

Put your yolk in the second bowl and transfer the whites to the third.

It's important to do this because if you were keeping all the egg whites in the working bowl and on your last egg you break the yolk... you have compromised your whites (with yolk 'oil') and that will result in a less stiff whip.

If any egg shell bits made it into the whites, use one of the shell halves to scoop it out. They cut through the whites easier than a utensil will.

Repeat with more eggs, as many times as needed.

Step 3: Method 2: For Speed and/or Non-Whipped Whites

This second technique is faster and easier. And because there is very little contact with the shell, it also eliminates the chances of egg surface bacteria making it into the whites or onto the yolk, but I still like to wash my eggs just in case.

What You'll Need

  • two bowls - one for the whites and one for the yolks
  • eggs
  • compost or garbage hand for shells
  • extra clean hands!

The How To

Wash your hands in warm, soapy water.

Set out your two bowls, with one right in front of you to work over.

Crack your egg, as close to the middle as possible, either by bringing it straight down onto the counter top with a little 'whack!' or by hitting it against the edge of a bowl.

Use your thumbs to pry the two halves apart, allowing the whole egg to fall gently into the bowl below.

Tip the bowl up with one hand, and with the other, gently scoop the yolk out keeping your fingers 'just' separated - which will allow the whites to fall back through into the bowl.

Place the yolk in the second bowl.

Repeat with as many eggs as needed.

Step 4: The Ta Da!

Picture of The Ta Da!

Have fun making and baking deliciousness!

woeisme1 year ago
Niiiiice

For all concerned viewers : didn't you learn this with your mother ??? (I'm talking to men and women as well). What the worl is going to ? (end of the old grumpy lament of the day - lol)

The important thing about an egg is wether it is rotten or not. For this there is one solution, and only one : open it and you will know. If you feel (and smell !…) the National Guard has entered your kitchen and flooded it with tear gases, then I would advise you not to eat it (if you could stay in the kitchen that is !…).

This is why you should always open your egg on an empty bowl : if the egg is bad it will be the only one lost. But if you open it over the bowl into which you already threw eleven then it is the whole dozen that will go to the drain, leaving you to face an angry bunch of people dying of hunger … They'll will come after you and you won't have even a rotten egg to throw at them !!!… LOL

So open each egg over the bowl, put the content of the one egg bowl into the larger bowl and repeat the process. I learned this when I was blue sailing. We didn't have fridge at the time and we kept eggs for more than two weeks (other crews happened to keep them for much longer periods) : spoiling 10 eggs in a row was out of the question … not to mention the smell in a tight space as a cabin at the 04:00 am watch !…

ajensen271 year ago
i have used the first method but seen the bottle being squeezed and unsqueezed to suck out the yellow as a better option

Yes, in fact i just used an empty dish soap bottle because it is a little more robust and provides ample suction

JoeySartin1 year ago
Another good approach: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_AirVOuTN_M
randofo1 year ago

I am partial to method 2.