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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 about 4 years ago
8 answers 1554 views
0bc70c8a e153 4431 a735 f23fb20dda68  sarah chef
Reiney

Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 4 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).

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added about 4 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).

A9f88177 5a41 4b63 8669 9e72eb277c1a  waffle3
added about 4 years ago

Pack dates often in three-digit Julian format

C4c10cd5 69e8 4d54 b39c c5870da2826b  james joyce 1
pierino

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

added about 4 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.

516f887e 3787 460a bf21 d20ef4195109  bigpan
added about 4 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.

F8c5465c 5952 47d4 9558 8116c099e439  dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added about 4 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.

C4c10cd5 69e8 4d54 b39c c5870da2826b  james joyce 1
pierino

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

added about 4 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.

56c2251d 87e7 43a2 8b06 91ece1405fcb  2016 03 27 06 17 14
added about 4 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.