Anyone poach more than one egg at a time? Whenever I try (I have tried 2 at a time) one seems to be fine and the other - not so much, either it's white will go hang out with the other egg, or the BAD EGG (har har) will just not be as nice. I salt, vinegar, and swirl ... any other ideas? I would like to serve poached eggs to a group of 6 all at once if at all possible.



cookbookchick February 9, 2011
(And thanks to all you other poaching posters, as well!)
cookbookchick February 9, 2011
Thanks to both ChefDaddy and Incognito for such a vigorous and thorough discussion. I have never attempted to poach an egg, but now I feel I could give it a try with such complete information from both of you "passionate poachers"!
ChefDaddy February 9, 2011
Incognito- Thank you for the debate and I understand your point. I think anyone viewing your post has taken away at least one if not more good tips on poaching eggs. I think your right about the salt water ratio and luckily you found the information needed to correct what you saw as a problem. This has definitly made me crave poached eggs and will be having them for breakfast in the morning. : )
X February 8, 2011
Chef Daddy- I am able to make excellent soft poached eggs in boiling water- with the addition of a little white vinegar if I am not certain how fresh the eggs are. However, at some point - probably after reading in a cookbook that salt was a positive addition - I began adding a large pinch of salt to a smallish saucepan of boiling water when poaching eggs. The result was the unpleasant tiny holes in the egg whites which Michel Roux describes. After reading Roux' book I stopped adding salt to the water and was able to avoid producing the tiny holes. The likely reason your method does not produce these holes is due to the large proportion of water to salt. I am certain your method works beautifully when one is required to prepare large numbers of poached eggs. I will continue avoiding salt if using only a cup or two of water as poaching liquid.
ChefDaddy February 8, 2011
Incognito- It's seems that your example of what two people say are conflicting. Roux says it hinders the compacting (not the word I would use) but McGee says it speeds coagulation. Unless compacting means something different than coagulation. But, yes you need vinegar some prefer salt for increased speed. In my experience I have never had noticable tiny holes that would keep my from using salt. But, if you want you could always use an egg poaching pan but who wants poached eggs that resemble rubber. The method that I posted will give a sure way to poach an egg that will be tender and soft and that result is my desire.
X February 8, 2011
In Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking, he asserts that adding vinegar and salt to the water speeds coagulation, "but also produces shreds and an irregular film over the egg surface." He also cites an professional/restaurant method for poaching eggs which causes eggs cracked into a stockpot of boiling water to disappear into the depths and bob up to the surface again just when they are done. This is achieved by the addition of both salt and vinegar. "The vinegar reacts with bicarbonate in the thin white to form tiny buoyant bubbles of carbon dioxide, which get trapped at the egg surface as its proteins coagulate. The salt increases the density of the cooking liquid just enough that the egg and three minutes worth of bubbles will float."
ChefDaddy February 8, 2011
I've been poaching eggs for over 20yrs profesionally sometimes serving up to 300 guests eggs benedict at a time (resort) and not only did the salt NOT stud the eggs with tiny holes (I would never serve an inferior product) but I would have to do obviously alot at a time with out fail. So Michel Roux must be on drugs.
X February 8, 2011
In his book on Eggs, Michel Roux advises not to add salt to the water when poaching eggs "because it hinders the white compacting and studs it with tiny holes." He also advises against poaching more than four eggs at a time.
pierino February 8, 2011
Farmer's market for eggs. Big thumbs up! Part of the problem with stringy, threads could be that you've been using old eggs which will affect the albumen in not so good ways.
aargersi February 8, 2011
Thanks all! I will a) go to the farmer's market for eggs and b) try these methods. I will conquer the multiple poach!!!
pierino February 8, 2011
Per ChefDaddy, definitely use a deep pan which will encourage the egg white albumen to hold its shape. The "swirling" might be your problem. Vinegar also helps to tighten up the whites. 3 minutes is just about right.
ChefDaddy February 8, 2011
I forgot to give the water temp. which should be 180F. And about a depth of 6 inches of water or so gives a nice shape as they drop to the bottom. Also I try to drop them away from each other. Good luck!
betteirene February 8, 2011
Excellent instructions, QoS! You're hired!

You can refrigerate poached eggs for a few hours on a parchment-lined plate. To serve, heat water in a skillet, gently add eggs and cook just until heated through for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove eggs and blot on paper towels as before.

It helps to have the very freshest eggs you can get your hands on. When eggs are just-laid, their whites hold up high around the yolk--the older they get, the more the whites thin out and spread.

Or you could do one of those recipes where the eggs are poached directly (and keep their shape in) a very thick sauce that acts as a poaching cup.

And this was fun, but I haven't tried it yet:

ChefDaddy February 8, 2011
Step 1. Combine 1 gal water, 1 tblsp salt, 1 fl oz. of vinegar in a deep pan or stock pot.
Step 2. Break each egg into individual cups and slide eggs carefull into water and cook until whites are opaque ( about 3 min.).
step 3. Remove eggs from water and blot with a clean towel or paper towel, trim edges if dessired. Eggs are ready to serve.

Using this techique you should be able to do as many as twenty in a very short period of time.
Queen O. February 8, 2011
I have made poached eggs for 6-8 this way. I use them in eggs benedict and huevos rancheros ( I use vinegar, no salt and no swirl. The movement from the swirl is supposed to help make tight little pockets of eggs, but like you said, it only seems to work on the first.

Fill a large non-stick skillet, (which I have very lightly oiled) with cool water. with only enough to cover the eggs by about an inch. Bring to steady simmer & add vinegar. Crack each egg into a small dish and slide it into the water, pouring towards the outside edge of the pan. I do six. As soon as the whites begin to firm up, I carefully slide a slotted spoon under them to make sure they are not sticking to the pan. When whites are fully opaque, but yolks still seem liquid-y, remove to paper towels sitting on a cooling rack. (The thing I hate most about poached eggs is when they haven't been drained properly and the water makes everything soggy.) Then do the next round and repeat.

They can be held for a bit here and if needed briefly returned to water to warm before service.
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