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Egg science

I just bought some farm fresh egg and set out to poach one for my lunch. I cracked one open, and let's say it was uncooperative. I opened another to poach using my regular method in simmering water. The albumen almost immediately separated from the yolk and formed a raft. The yolk seized up into a tight, not runny little sphere. What's going on here.

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

asked over 6 years ago

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8 answers 1864 views
Reiney
Reiney

Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 6 years ago

What condition is the albumen in? Is it possible that it's an old batch of eggs? I know you just bought it but...

I had that happen to me when trying to strain off the watery white. I assumed that was the reason (and that the yolk seized on me because it wasn't protected from the heat by the albumen).

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ChefOno
added over 6 years ago


I'm thinking in the same direction as Sarah, old eggs. Was the carton stamped with a pack date?

Another possibility would be jostling / agitation which can thin the whites (one of the reasons for not storing eggs in the refrigerator door).

You could try the old float-the-egg-in-cold-water test (sinking = good, floating = bad).

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ChefOno
added over 6 years ago

Pack dates often in three-digit Julian format

pierino
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 6 years ago

No dates on the carton. As I said, these were farm fresh. It didn't occur to me to give the eggs the float test in advance just because I only bought them two days ago. Age could be the enemy here. Or something else.

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bigpan
added over 6 years ago

Nothing is nicer than a fresh just-layed egg ... but with "farm fresh" at a farmers market you don't know if they have sat in a hot barn for a week before.
Get to know - and trust - the vendor(s).
Toss them out if you don't trust them to be as fresh as advertised. Be safe and avoid the bathroom.

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boulangere
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 6 years ago

I suspect as well that you've experienced a bait and switch: if they're "farm fresh" they must be, well, fresh. The only reason I can imagine for the membrane between the firm white and the yolk to separate is age. Which as we know, is a bitch.

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pierino
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added over 6 years ago

Actually I didn't buy the eggs at the farmers market but refrigerated at a store that specializes in natural, locally produced farm and meat products. I've always had good luck with this label. The eggs are never uniformly sized and are variegated in color. I did finally locate the use by date and they are guaranteed until July 29. I decided to test one for freshness this morning in a bowl of water and it lay perfectly level on the bottom without tipping upward. I'll have to ask at the market the next time I'm down there; maybe today.

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Linn
added over 6 years ago

Taking the eggs back to the retailer sounds like a good plan to me. I am not aware of any other reason for the egg white to separate from the yoke except age, but I will circulate the question one of my listservs.

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