When to use vinegar when poaching an egg?

Saw Bobby Flay using vinegar to poach an egg, but I am not sure what it does to the egg. Any idea?

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Mr_Vittles
Mr_Vittles February 16, 2012

The theory is that is helps keep the egg whites from spreading around the water. Add it to the water when it simmers, give it a quick stir, drop eggs. Plain distilled vinegar is the usual choice.

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Mr_Vittles
Mr_Vittles February 16, 2012

I say theory because no one has ever proven this. We tried to test it in class, but the results were negligible. It really matters what temperature the water is at.

Salute
Salute February 16, 2012

The vinegar aides in coagulating the egg white. Although you need to remind yourself that a little vinegar goes a long way. I've used white, cider and even red wine vinegar in a pinch...balsamic was not a good choice.

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pierino
pierino February 16, 2012

Yes, white vinegar is the best approach and add it just when the water hits the simmer point and then let the water come back to a simmer. Also use a fairly deep pot as this will help coax the albumen (egg white) to lift up and surround the yolk.

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June Apple Kitchen
June Apple Kitchen February 16, 2012

Harold McGee's technique is totally reliable, and doesn't require any acid added to the water. Tip your raw egg into a slotted or perforated spoon, and allow the thin albumen to drain away. When it does, you'll have just the thick part of the egg white and the yolk left. Slide that into your poaching water, and 3-4 minutes later: perfect poached egg, and no egg-drop-soup-ish mess. Works every time, and doesn't require vinegar, which can sometimes make your eggs, well, vinegar...y.

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Mr_Vittles
Mr_Vittles February 16, 2012

This is egg poaching related, but I just remembered this. The absolute best way to poach eggs, is not the technique (this is still very important), but using the freshest possible eggs you can. They have the tightest egg whites and the best flavor.

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