Eggs: A Delicate Subject

It’s common  knowledge that eggs are good for breakfast.  For me,  nothing says good morning like a sunny yolk looking up at me from my plate.  However; there is so much more to the egg than easy and delicious breakfast food.  Eggs provide color, moisture, protein and flavor to a wide variety of foods. But wait… there’s more.

Egg yolks contain lecithin, which in cooking terms means that adding egg yolks will help emulsify (combine oil and water substances); such as when preparing mayonnaise or aioli’s.  Egg yolks are also a natural thickener which is why you will see the use of just egg yolks in some sauces such as traditional hollandaise, custards and puddings, and occasionally in ice-cream.

Egg whites contain a water and protein called ablumen.  This helps produce structure (stability) in products such as meringues and angel food cake.  Egg whites can also be used as a glaze for baked goods to add shine as well as hold onto additional toppings if desired such as sesame seeds.  Egg whites are also a binder for cooking things such as meatloaf which helps to hold all the meat, grain crumbs (such as bread crumbs, cracker crumbs or oatmeal just to name a few that are commonly used when preparing meatloaf or meatball type dishes). When beating egg whites, the whites must be completely free from yolks and at room temperature.  Keep in mind eggs are easier to separate while they are still cold.  Separate eggs straight from refrigeration, then bring the whites to room temperature in a bowl.  The bowl and whisks must be completely clean and dry, any trace if grease or fat will prevent the whites from whipping.

Here are a couple of tips for preparing eggs.  The fresher the eggs, the more stable the yolk which makes it easier to keep the yolk in tact when frying or poaching.  When using boiled eggs, the older the egg the easier they are to peel .  To check the freshness of an egg if you do not have an expiration date handy is to place the egg in a cup of water.  The older the egg the more it will stand upright.  DO NOT USE AN EGG THAT FLOATS.

Egg Disclaimer: It is recommended that you do not serve raw or undercooked eggs to children, the elderly or people who are immune compromised.  Eggs have been known to carry salmonella which can be destroyed at temperatures of 165*.  If you decide to consume raw or undercooked eggs, use the freshest eggs you can find or simply buy pasteurized eggs that you can now find in most grocery stores.

Published in: on January 6, 2011 at 11:48 AM  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Fun fact: The Romans did not use eggs as a binder – they considered them a delicacy and never mixed them with other ingredients!

  2. Tonya, again a good read and well said. Are you sure you shouldn’t have gotten into communications? You are a talented writer and CHEF!! I appreciate the egg in the water trick, I did not know this before! Keep em coming and I will keep enjoying them!

  3. […] 3 large eggs, at room temp.  (see my post about using eggs here: […]

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