Introduction to Sous Vide: One-Hour EggsNovember 29, 2018
- Gregory GuyWords
Water freezes when your thermometer hits zero, and boils when it reaches a hundred. We all learn both of those figures early on in school, but what about all the other numbers in between? What do those do? Would something as minor as a one-degree change in temperature actually do anything?
If I asked you to choose between cooking your egg at 63 or 64 degrees, which temperature would you pick? There is a difference, but to actually see it, you need a machine that even most professional chefs can only dream of having. It’s called an immersion circulator and this device can heat water to precise temperatures (in increments as small as 0.1 degrees) for days on end.
Immersion circulators are the foundation for sous vide (a French term that means “under vacuum”) cooking. In sous vide, food is sealed in an airtight bag in which the air has been sucked out. It’s then submerged in the immersion circulator’s hot water compartment where it can cook for as little as a few hours to as long as several days.
Why cook food this way, you ask? Precision. Cooking always involves controlling two very important factors, time and temperature. With the sous vide method, you can perfectly manage these two factors with complete accuracy, thus eliminating most blunders stemming from human error. Never again will you have to deal with raw chicken thighs or over cooked steak. Your meat will be cooked to perfection each and every time.
To help you understand how large an effect even minor temperature variations can have on protein, we’ll show you how eggs turn out after an hour of cooking at different temperatures. Fortunately, since the eggs already come with its own natural airtight casing, we don’t have to bother with using a separate plastic bag. The eggs will be fine submerged in the water on their own.
At 62 Degrees
The egg will be completely cooked through but still remain very runny. This is the ultimate soft-boiled egg, perfect on toast for breakfasts. Try slipping this egg into a cup, adding a touch of mushroom soup and some chopped parsley. It will be the best egg shot you’ve ever had!
At 63 Degrees
The white will be soft, with the yolk runny and creamy. Use this egg for a frisee salad or a ham benedict. The yolk will act as a thick sauce, sticking to everything on your plate, and adding a creamy texture to each bite!
At 64 Degrees
The egg whites and yolk will be set but soft. With its custard-like consistency, this yolk is perfect to put in ramen.
At 65 Degrees
The egg whites and yolk will be completely set. This is how a medium boiled egg should look like. Mix this with diced chicken and mayonnaise to make a very creamy chicken sandwich filling.
At 66 Degrees
The yolks at this temperature are firm enough for you to use on its own. Just remove the egg whites and you can roll the yolk out into sheets to use for plating, or cut it into small cubes for garnish.
If you can’t get your hands on an immersion circulator, you can try using a large pot of water with a thermometer to control the temperature instead. If it gets too hot, add ice cubes. Too cold? Then crank up the heat. You will need to position the pot so that only a small portion is in contact with the flame. Keep constant watch to make sure the temperature is stable. Unfortunately, this method cannot guarantee the same results. Temperatures on an open flame can fluctuate from 5-10 degrees.
Stay tuned for our next post on sous vide and how to cook the perfect steak!
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