Monday, 27 August 2012

An old cold egg...

Eggs are one of those things that I always have in the fridge. They are a staple that either get used in baking, or for Sunday morning breakfasts. But unlike my fruit, veggies and milk, I never really pay much attention to if they are fresh or not, and how long they have been sitting in my fridge. All I do is just buy a new half dozen when I use the last egg up. Sometimes I go through them quickly, other times not as much. But then, I've never had an egg 'go off', so I think I assume that I can just use them.

So, in my endeavour to learn more about cooking, I thought I'd do some research into eggs, separating them, when you can and can't, or should and shouldn't use eggs.

I think in one of my kitchen tip posts I mentioned that eggs are easier to separate when they are cold. The reason for this is because the yolks are more taut, and less likely to break into the egg whites. Most recipes I've seen ask for room temperature eggs to cook with, so what I often do is separate the eggs early, and then leave them in a bowl to warm up to room temperature. Apparently, you should cover the bowl in cling film, making sure the film touches the surface of the eggs to stop they drying out, while you wait.

Now, I also learnt that the reason recipes ask for room temperature eggs is because they incorporate into the mixture easier than cold eggs. This means they are easier to stir in, which probably also means you're doing less to the batter and eggs to get it properly mixed, which is usually a good thing. Although, lets be honest, for most cakes you and I make, this doesn't actually make a difference, but for some trickier cakes that rely on eggs to help them rise it does.

But which is better to beat with, cold eggs or room temperature eggs. My research has produced a few conflicting opinions. Here's what I can gather...

The foam is made when you whisk eggs. The action of whisking forces the proteins in the egg to unfold and then re-combine into a new structure around air bubbles. In fresh eggs, the proteins in the white are tightly folded together and tend to cluster. As an egg ages, the proteins tend to repel each other, so don't hold together as well.

Fresh eggs take longer to whip, as the proteins are tightly packed together. Plus, the foam that you create, is more stable, strong and more uniform. Cold temperatures also help to do this.

Older or room temperature eggs are easier to beat and you get a greater volume because the proteins are looser. But, the foam is less stable, and has bigger bubbles. It needs to be used immediately, or the eggs will collapse.

So do you go cold or warm. I'm confused! Everyone seems to agree that separating eggs is easier when they are cold, so that's easy. But what about whipping. Maybe it depends on what you're cooking. For something like meringues when you need really stiff egg whites, go cold. But for something where you need lots of air and lots of volume, go room temperature. This will also means it will be easier to mix in so you loose less air when you mix it into the batter.

Either way though, my general rule of thumb is to go fresh...it's always better.

Source: weheartit and weheartit

1 comment:

  1. Love these tips Liss.
    My tips for eggs are as follows:
    1. Always chuck out at the use by date - let me tell you, you never, EVER want to crack an off egg! It will turn you off them for a long time, possibly life!
    2. When adding eggs to a mixture, always crack the eggs individually into a separate bowl prior to adding them to the mix just in case you find an off egg. Then you only have to throw out the "affected egg" as opposed to all of the mixture!
    3. James' tip - to check that your egg is "safe", put your eggs into a bowl of water and if they sink they are ok to use, if they float throw them out!!!! Something to do with gas production????
    Good luck with your googie eggs :)

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