Sous-vide egg

For Easter it is a tradition in the Netherlands, as in many other places around the world, to eat lots of eggs. Conor’s post about poached eggs reminded me that I had not yet blogged about eggs sous-vide. Cooking an egg sous-vide was the first thing I tried with my sous-vide water bath about 15 months ago, that was basically the ‘christening’ of the water bath. At 64C/147F The egg whites came out a bit softer than I liked. I needed to go to 67C/152F to get the egg whites just set, but by then the egg yolk didn’t have the nice ‘custard’ texture anymore that is the whole point of cooking eggs sous-vide. I then tried to cook an egg sous-vide at 64C/147F first and then for a minute in boiling water to set the egg white while keeping the egg yolk soft, but it was almost impossible to get the timing right for that. So I had basically given up on eggs sous-vide.

I still thought I should blog about sous-vide eggs at some point, and since I don’t mind eating soft eggs as long as it’s on a slice of home-baked bread I thought Easter would be the perfect time for it.

Please note that since eggs are very sensitive to the exact cooking temperature, the calibration of the water bath may be an issue. I think it would be difficult to obtain consistent results if your water bath is less accurate than 0.5C/1F. The way eggs should be cooked is also a matter of personal taste. So it is well worth it to experiment which time and temperature are best for your taste and your water bath.

I made a small hole in the round side of each egg before cooking (thus opening up the air chamber in the egg) as I would also do for conventional boiling. This is to prevent the egg shell from bursting when the contents expand due to the heat.

Happy Easter everyone!

Egg sous-vide at 64C/147F for 45 minutes

First I repeated my first experiment: 45 minutes at 64C/147F. Perhaps this egg was less fresh than the one I did 15 months ago, because this time the egg yolk was still completely soft.

Egg sous-vide at 65C/149F for 10 hours

My next experiment was overnight, since I wanted to have an egg sandwich for breakfast without having to wait. After 10 hours at 65C/149F the egg white was still a bit soft, but the egg yolk was set (not unpleasantly so) and even had a bit of a dark edge as you can see in the photo. Since this egg yolk was mostly like an egg boiled for 4 minutes or so the old-fashioned way and the egg white was actually worse, I would prefer to just boil the egg for 4 minutes or so.

Egg sous-vide at 64.5C/148F for 1 hour

Something I had not tried yet, was to cook an egg sous-vide at 64.5C/148F. It seems a bit silly to cook something to half a degree, but since it’s a whole degree in the Fahrenheit scale I thought what the heck ;-) And I was glad I tried it, because this was the best sous-vide egg yet! The white was soft but set enough to eat on bread, and the yolk had a very nice texture. Perhaps I’ll try a slightly longer cooking time for an even better result next time.

5 thoughts on “Sous-vide egg

  1. I love this scientific approach to eggs. How about steak? How do you do the perfect fillet steak – rare? And come to think of it what about Victoria sponge? That sucker has had the better for me for years?!

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    • To cook a perfect fillet steak sous vide, rare, you’d cook it to 50C/122F. The time would depend on the thickness. Then sear it briefly in a very hot pan after letting it cool a bit. For medium rare, cook to 55C/131F. If the meat is not already very tender you could make the most out of the calpain enzymes by cooking it to 49C/120F instead, see http://stefangourmet.com/2012/02/27/sous-vide-to-the-next-level-tenderizing-beef-by-warm-ageing/.
      As for Victoria Sponge, I don’t think you could do that sous vide but I did blog about the perfect pound cake (which is the same as Victoria sponge as far as I know): http://stefangourmet.com/2012/01/15/pound-cake/
      Do you have a specific problem or question regarding Victoria sponge?

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      • Thanks (ps I didnt check what sous vide meant btw!) my problem with sponge is that it seems to come out a bit heavy – like it hasnt’t got much air in it – their doesnt seem to be much in the way of ‘bubbles’ in the sponge – it isnt under cooked because i nearly burnt it – perhaps the oven is too hot? Or maybe I over whipped the batter? Trial and error maybe…

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        • I am assuming that you did not leave out the baking powder? You could separate the eggs and whip the egg whites into a foam and fold that gently into the batter for additional bubbles, but I’ve never needed to do that for a simple pound cake. Overwhipping could be a problem, once you start adding the flour it’s better not to whip more than necessary. As for the temperature, you’d actually get more bubbles with a higher temperature. Did you check the cake during baking? If the temperature is too high, it could first rise too much and then collapse. Anyway, if this doesn’t help just send me a description of what you’re doing and I’ll be happy to help solve the problem.

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        • P.S. I just saw you posted the recipe on your blog. Should have looked there first, of course.
          The only thing that strikes me as ‘different’ from other sponge cake recipes I’ve seen or used is that you started with the flour. Most recipes start by whisking the butter and sugar, then add eggs one by one, and then add the flour using a wooden spoon rather than whisking.
          I’m surprised you didn’t get a light cake given that you used self-raising flour as well as additional baking powder. Did you perhaps use baking soda instead of baking powder? They are not the same, you can only use baking soda if you have something acid in the recipe like buttermilk or yoghurt. Also your baking powder could be old. To test it, pour hot water onto a spoonful in a bowl; it should bubble vigorously. If it doesn’t, discard it.
          Hope this helps! (And that you keep on baking!)

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