How to Poach an Egg
How to Poach an Egg
1. Rule #1: No Broken Yolks. The key to poached eggs with a nice runny center is to start with an intact yolk. If you struggle to crack open eggs without breaking the yolk, try giving them a single swift crack against the top of a bowl with a thin (vs. thick or rounded) edge. This creates a clean, thin break that is easy to crack apart without damaging the yolks in the process.
2. Rule #2: Use Fresh Eggs. This is more of a guideline than a hard-and-fast rule, because it can be tough to know how fresh the eggs you purchase at your local grocery store are. However, try to use eggs you’ve recently purchased instead of ones that have been sitting in your refrigerator awhile. Egg whites tend to break down and become runny as they age, so strain your eggs in a fine mesh strainer, as shown, before poaching to work around this.
3. After straining, transfer each egg into its own ramekin or small bowl. This will make it easier to add each egg as quickly as possible to the boiling water. Plus, it helps keep the eggs separated from each other if you are poaching multiple eggs at one time.
4. One popular poaching technique is to create a “swirling vortex” by vigorously stirring the boiling water with a large spoon in circles until it continues to rotate on its own after you stop stirring.
Although this works well for a single egg, it is not ideal for poaching multiple eggs at one time. In that case, drop the eggs, one at a time, into the boiling water without swirling it first. For consistent results, set a timer and be sure to remove the eggs from the boiling water in the same order you added them.
Tip: The key to success when using a swirling vortex is to dump a single egg quickly into the center of the vortex, rather than outside the center. By dumping the egg into the center, the swirling action forces the egg white to close in around the yolk to create a nicely shaped outer layer without a lot of wispy white tendrils hanging off of it.
5. Cook time will vary depending on desired level of doneness. The images shown here were achieved with a 3-minute cook time. If runnier or firmer results are desired, adjust the cook time accordingly.
Tip: If the poached eggs are not going to be eaten immediately, reduce cook time by 30-45 seconds, then reheat later by dropping them back in boiling water for another 30-45 seconds.
6. When done poaching egg, remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess water. Gently pat dry before serving.
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