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How to cook an omelete

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm confused. I'm trying to learn to cook an omelete and have checked out some online videos, among other sources.

Most advice seems to say to use a medium heat pan, to avoid damaging the egg. However, I have also seen the suggestion to use a hot pan.

Just wondering which approach is considered the better approach for a novice cook.
post #2 of 22
I tend towards using medium heat, about a 4, 4 1/2 on a scale of 10 on the medium sized burner ( 6,000 BTU? ) on my home stove. I suggest you shy away from the higher heat until you've got a bit of experience with the basic procedure and your eating preferences. Do you want a soft, yellow exterior, a little bit of browning while maintaining a creamy smooth interior, or a nice GBD crust and a firm interior.

Gee, I get this feeling that the crazy French chef from Alton Brown's show should be sticking his head in my office and claiming that zee omelette must NEVAH have any browning on it. But you decide what it is that you like, and keep practicing.

Oddly enough, I find that making an omelette is actually a bit easier than making a REALLY good batch of scrambled eggs. Sure, I make good scrambled eggs all the time, but only a few times a year do I have a batch turn out that is perfectly light, fluffy, creamy and, well, just so eggy.

mjb.
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post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
What's a "GBD" crust?
post #4 of 22
GBD - golden brown and delicious

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
I just watched a couple America's test kitchen videos on cooking eggs.

The person in the video said that as you cook eggs, protein bonds change structure, and also water content is an issue somehow. If you overcook, the protein bonds get tough and the water content may not be held in the eggs.

He indicated that skilled cooks can use high heat (which has less leaway for error, I guess) but that less skilled cooks may want to use medium heat.
post #6 of 22
I tend to use medium low heat. There's nothing I hate more than brownish color on my eggs. I also don't stir in any milk, water, or cream.

I found that Good Eats' Alton Brown helped me make a great omelette. His procedures don't work for me usually but I stand by his omelette instructions.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 22
I've always used high heat.....cast iron or non stick pan....cast iron
preferred......cleared butter or oil......beat your eggs with a fork or very
lightly with a french whip.....add your eggs.....with a fork or spatula, stir
the eggs until they start to coagulate....strike the pan with the fork or tap
the the pan......flip.....fill.....turn out onto a plate.....some people like to
cook omelettes slowly.....lifting the side and building layers......until most
of the egg is cooked.....I find you get a lighter....more tender omelette when
using an extremely hot pan and doing it much quicker...IMOHO.....
post #8 of 22
See? I told you there are many ways to the good omelette and people settle on one that works for them that produces the particular results they want.

And really the only way to learn it is to do it. You'll make some bad omelettes, but that's ok. Eggs are fairly cheap and don't take much time.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
What's the downside of adding milk to the eggs? Is that related to brownish color?
post #10 of 22
The brown color is from over cooking. It's completely edible, some people want their eggs to turn golden brown, but I don't. To me the texture is rubbery and I don't like it.

I've heard that some people whisk water or milk or cream or sour cream or creme fraiche into their eggs saying that it makes them fluffier and tastier and they're right. The water or the milk "steam" within the omelette making it fluffier. The creams add distinct flavor, making it almost custardy. But me I just like my egg to taste eggy so I don't add anything except s/p.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #11 of 22
Milk makes the eggs tough. Tough eggs are easier to flip and/or fold for people who don't know how to make an omelette in any of its various forms.

FWIW, a French style savory omelette is made with two folds to make three layers, is not flipped before it is folded, and may be slightly browned. The cooked surface of the egg is smoothly textured, not airy or fluffy. The defining characteristic of the interior is the custard like texture of the interior that is neither liquid nor solid.

As a matter of fact, I made omelettes for lunch today. With an appropriate pan and a little practice, it's easy to make omelettes without using any utensil to flip or fold -- using only the shape of the pan's side walls to cause the omelette to fold neatly over on itself.

The traditional "best" pan for this style of omelette is carbon steel. It develops an excellent non-stick season, is far more responsive than cast iron, and far lighter (important when you're flipping by hand).

You may prefer some other style of omelette, perhaps cooked on both sides then stuffed and folded, like Stephen described. "Pancake style," which I like amost as much as French. Or, even "souffle" style like dessert omelettes. Different styles involve different techniques and some are best done with fairly specific types of pans.

Your question, "How do I cook an omelette?" gets the usual answer: It depends.

Alton Brown tends to oversimplify when he describes and rejects classic cuisine and technique. His methods are often (but not always) good, but the "information" he imparts regarding methods he does not use should be taken with many grains of salt.

BDL
post #12 of 22
FWIW, I'd suggest you find a copy of the Time-Life Good Cook series on Eggs and Cheese. It has great, classical information, scads of pictures, hundreds or recipes and techniques, and is usually less than $5.00 purchase price.

Amazon.com: Eggs and Cheese: The Good Cook, Techniques and Recipes: Time-Life Books: Books

The book was a motivator for me to start using a carbon steel pan, and lots of butter, and FINALLY, after many years of making eggs, make eggs that really tasted good. I never knew how good eggs could taste until I read the book and started to use some quality ingredients.

There's too much emphasis these days on using non-stick pans, small amounts of butter, margarine, or oil, and cooking "healthy." That's fine, but if you want GREAT omelets y'gotta break some eggs <LOL> Get thee to a great egg producer, get fresh eggs of high quality (walk away from the supermarket), get good butter - French butter, butter from New Zealand, artisanal butter - and use it generously, and by all means get a good omelet pan. And use one the right size for the number and type of eggs you'll be cooking.

Trust me, novice, when you get the right ingredients and have honed your technique, you will enjoy the best omelets, scrambled, and fried eggs of your life.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Does it take a lot of skill to make the omelette and flip / fold it in the carbon steel pan without using utencils?
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Shel - thanks for the suggestions.

Yesterday I had a short lesson on how to make scrambled eggs and a little bit on omelettes. (I had placed an advertisement on craig's list and found someone who told me he had gone to CIA and he wasn't charging a lot).

First I had him watch how I've been making eggs. He called what I was making a "country scrambled egg" but saw that I was using EVOO and suggested I not use it for a few reasons: one, it is pricier than other oils / fats; two, he said that it would contribute flavor - possibly unwanted flavor - to the eggs; three; he said that generally the olive oils that have stronger flavor usually have a lower smoke point.

He told me that a lot of restaurants use something called Pomice oil.
post #15 of 22
Novice,
my daughter is 8 years old.....when she wanted to learn how to flip an omelette, I wrapped about 5 or 6 flour tortillas in plastic wrap and gave her a cold pan. Swish the tortillas around a little bit....and flip...when she got to real eggs she flips over the sink...still does....good luck....
post #16 of 22
Not a lot, no. It takes the willingness to stumble a few times on the path to enlightenment.

BDL
post #17 of 22
Extra Virgin olive oil has a lower smoke point than virgin or "pomace" oil, but so what. You're not going to be cooking eggs at those high temperatures. And yes, EVOO can impart flavor to the eggs. Is that a bad thing? Sometimes you may want the flavor, other times not. Great butter adds flavor to eggs as well ... mmmmm! garlic, onions, cheese, ham - they all add flavor to eggs. Some people make eggs precisely because they carry other flavors very well. I've not worked it out, but very good butter may be just as expensive as EVOO. A nice option that some people use is mixing EVOO with butter ...

Pomace oil is treated with chemicals for extraction and is the lowest grade of olive oil you can get for food service. If you're cooking for your family, use good ingredients - top quality ingredients. Trader Joe's has some very good EVOO selections for less than $8.00 and they'll last a long time when used in the quantity used for making eggs. There are numerous other brands that can be had without breaking the bank.
post #18 of 22
Oy.

Last things first -- "pomace" is another name for the last few drops of oil that can be steam-forced from a mass of olives after all the good oil has been taken. Don't bother looking for it, just use corn oil.

You don't have to worry about extra virgin olive oil's smoke point with eggs. You should be cooking well below that temperature for the sake of the eggs. Cooking eggs in extra virgin olive oil is a very Mediterranean take and not uncommon in Southern Italy, Spain, Greece, North Africa, and so on. However, MOST people who cook well enough to find their behinds in the dark prefer to use butter for omelettes and eggs. Your teacher, not to put too fine a point on it, is an idiot.

If you prefer not to use butter, and don't like the taste of extra virgin, by all means use something else. I usually mix a little extra virgin with butter.

Tender scrabled eggs depend on moderate temperatures. Scrambled eggs are not omelettes. It's important not to overcook scrambled eggs. The most difficult aspect of cooking scrambled eggs for most beginning cooks is learning to turn the frikkin' stove off when the eggs are not quite done, turn them shiny side down, and let them coast to a finish. When scrambled eggs lose their shine, they're overdone. When scrambled eggs excrete water, they're overdone. When scrambled eggs break into tiny pieces, they're overstirred.

Preheat the pan to medium or medium low, add butter and when the foam subsides, add the seasoned eggs. Let sit a minute, and when the eggs form a mass in the center of the pan, push the mass to one side so a new mass can form. Repeat until the mass is large enough to turn over, so the top can cook. When the mass starts to lose its shine, turn off the stove, turn the eggs and let them finish for a minute or two as the pan cools down.

Get it?

"Country scrambled eggs" my Aunt Sally! Get him to show you "Parisian scrabled eggs." That oughtta be rich.

BDL
post #19 of 22
I have in 40 years never worked in a place either upscale or a joint that used olive oil to cook eggs. What you want to do in a home is different, its your home .Suggestion to all, make eggs with olive oil then with butter and then you decide.If you are afraid of smokeing point use clarrified butter or try Butter-it or Whirl which are 2 commercially purchased cooking products that can't be purchased in local supermarkets. Also I am dollar concious but I would not use Pomace Oil, it is nasty.
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post #20 of 22
There are 1000’s of ways to cook an omelet and each has their own merits. When I think omelet I want a fluffy texture and not a scrambled egg omelet. Some prefer having a crepe consistency for their ideal omelet. It is a matter of taste.

For me to make a fluffy omelet I bring a teaspoon or more of butter to a liquid in my pan at medium high heat and pour into my egg mixture making sure it is blended well with a fork. Reduce the heat to medium and pour egg mixture into the buttered pan and cover for the first minute or two. When ½ set flip egg for another minute and you have a fluffy delectable start to add your creations to make a nice fluffy omelet of your choice. So many options and they are all good.
post #21 of 22
I sometimes add a very small amount of pancake batter to the eggs so they stick together better and in small amounts you won’t taste the batter. I learned this through my years as a cook at a breakfast chain restaurant.

If I am not making pancakes I use water.
Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamous? - Mitch Hedburg
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Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamous? - Mitch Hedburg
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post #22 of 22

Tips on breaking an Egg for Omelete

When separating eggs, break them into a funnel. The whites will go through leaving the yolk intact in the funnel. This is if you want the egg white for your omelete.
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