When I was a kid, some of my friends had Easy Bake Ovens. This device is basically just a light bulb in a box, well now there is a grown up version of this concept except it is carefully engineered to work with the laws of thermodynamics and create a useful appliance. The version I have is called the Superwave Oven there are other brands but they operate under the same basic principle of providing heat from a high wattage halogen bulb, and convection currents inside the oven enclosure using a fan.
This recipe will show you how to make hard boiled eggs without water, and I'll explain some of the concepts of thermodynamics along the way.
First, go out to the chicken coop and gather some eggs. My sister has some Amerucana chickens so their shells are pretty pastel colors when they are laid.
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Step 1: Wash the Eggshells
Since the eggs were removed directly from the chicken coop there are a bit messy, so the first task is to carefully scrub the shells to remove any dirt and bacteria that may be on the shells.
Egg shells are semi permeable membranes, so do not wash your eggs ahead of time and put them back in the refrigerator as you will have introduced material in your rinse water that will start to make the egg spoil as it sits.
Step 2: Place Eggs on Oven Rack
After washing I placed the eggs on the oven rack, spread apart so the shells were not touching. Because the oven I am using operates using convection currents I wanted to leave plenty of air space between the individual eggs shells.
Step 3: Put Lid on Oven
This oven is a countertop version, once the eggs are in place I placed the lid on the oven.
Step 4: Setting the Time and Temperature
Next I set the time and temperature of the oven for 10 minutes and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5: Turn on the Oven
Next I turned on the oven. To turn on my oven I lower the handle flush with the top of the oven.
Step 6: Preparing the Ice Bath
While I am waiting for the eggs to finish cooking, I prepare an ice bath. As soon as the oven is finished it is important to quickly remove the eggs from the hot oven and put them directly into an ice bath.
By quickly submerging the eggs in an ice bath the membrane just inside the shell is loosened and the egg becomes much easier to peel. The same effect can be accomplished by heavily salting the water you boil eggs in if you are using the pot of water method to prepare hard boiled eggs.
To prepare the ice bath I first filled a bowl with water.
Step 7: Adding Ice to Ice Bath
Then I went to the freezer and added a generous number of ice cubes to the water in the bowl.
Step 8: Wait for the Cooking Time to Pass
I waited a few minutes until the cooking time was complete.
While the oven is operating, it turns on a halogen bulb in the top of the oven. The bulb is shaped like a letter "o". This provides heat to the glass enclosure below the bulb. While the oven is operating, a fan also runs that helps circulate the air in convection currents and keeps the temperature throughout the enclosure fairly constant during the cooking process. A thermocouple (temperature sensor) in the top of the oven monitors the internal temperature of the oven, compares that measured temperature to the setting on the oven dial and then turns the bulb on and off as needed to reach and maintain the desired temperature within the oven.
The heat is only directed from above, so if you want to cook something that requires visible browning then you need to flip over the food item half way through the cooking process. The eggs in this case are small enough that they are heating evenly through as the convection currents circulate all around the outside of the shells so no moving of the eggs are necessary.
You can bake a lot more eggs than I did in this batch, I only wanted six baked eggs for my purposes.
Step 9: Finished Eggs
As soon as the oven timer dings, I lifted the lid off of the oven, and moved the eggs from the oven to the ice bath with tongs.
When you bake eggs like this, the shells will accumulate little bits of grease if your oven is not spotlessly clean. (Which mine apparently was not.) But these spots were easy to remove with just a little bit of rinsing.
The only thing left to do now is enjoy some hard boiled eggs! I find the texture of eggs prepared in this way a bit creamier then when boiled in a pot of water. I suspect this has to do with getting the timing of the preparation perfected.
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