An Eggsellent Discovery

Sunday 11 January 2015 by

Eggs, Boiled eggs

Eggs.

I don’t know about you, but I use eggs quite a lot – in cake, for breakfast in various forms, to stick breadcrumbs to chicken, pancakes – the list goes on.

I had never really thought much about them before and certainly it had never crossed my mind that changing the way I used my eggs could change the way my cakes behaved.

Turns out, it makes a huge difference. My cakes have stopped being pathetic and started being, well, cakey ever since I made a couple of changes in my egg behaviour.

First up, using three eggs in a cake mix instead of just two helped make my cakes fluffier straight away. I had never thought of doing this before but a friend suggested trying it and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. It doesn’t work for every recipe, obviously, but in a basic sponge sandwich mix, it made a big difference.

The second and most important discovery though, came a little while later – don’t use cold eggs. Ever.

I have kept my eggs in the fridge since I have been in charge of buying and storing them for myself. I don’t know why, I just did. I always wondered though, why I was paranoid about getting them into the fridge at home when they were stored unchilled in the shop. So, after seeing a recipe that said in no uncertain terms to use room temperature eggs to make a cake, I did a bit of research into the fridge/not fridge argument.

It turns out that it doesn’t actually make much of a difference to their safety or shelf-life whether they are chilled or not. They stay equally as fresh on the condition that they aren’t in a place that the temperature varies wildly/gets massively hot. They don’t store eggs in fridges on submarines for example – just turn them every few days to stop the yolks from ‘settling’.

This is only true in the UK, however, in the U.S. eggs are treated very differently and need to be refrigerated. In the UK most chickens are vaccinated against Salmonella and eggs from these chickens carry the red lion stamp and are safe to store however you like within obvious reason – in the U.S. the chickens are not vaccinated and instead the eggs are heat-treated before they hit the shops and therefore have a shorter life and require to be kept cool.

I digress, what I really wanted to say was that switching from using eggs out of the fridge to eggs that were the same temperature as my kitchen was a complete revelation. Cakes rose better, even when I only used two, completely consistently. My disaster ratio dropped significantly and everything tasted lighter and better overall – it was so noticeable that it got commented on more than once.

It also made making eggs and soldiers infinitely easier – I can now make the perfect dippy eggs for breakfast each and every time I try without fail.

Room temperature eggs, placed into boiling water for five and a half minutes will give you whites that are set but still soft around the yolk which is thick and golden and deliciously runny. Every. Single. Time.

It is bliss. I had forgotten how much I loved a properly runny egg for breakfast – I stopped making them a long time ago, frustrated with my inability to get it right regardless of timings and advice. Now I have them at least once a week!

Eggs, Boiled eggs, Eggs and soldiers

It’s a simple thing but I was amazed how much of a difference it made – eggs always seemed like a bit of a hassle before but now they are a big part of my diet and I feel much better for it, too.

You can follow Carole on Twitter: @caroleheidi

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