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Peeling hard-boiled eggs

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Though I ran a catering business for many years, I never acquired a good, fool-proof technique of peeling hard-boiled eggs quick and clean.

I use US Egg Board method: Start eggs in cold water, bring to boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes, drain but reserve hot water. Immerse eggs in a cold water bath for 30 sec, back to hot water for 30 sec, then coo and chill. Most of the time this method works but not always. I always make sure my eggs are not totally fresh (buying them from a market, they are guaranteed to be many days or weeks old).

Does anyone have a better method? Please let me know.

George (author of What Recipes Don't Tell You)
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post #2 of 22
sadly it's not 100% but I always peel my eggs under a tap of running cold water. Not fast or anything just a steady trickle , tap with a spoon till cracked all around then start at the top or bottom, use either the edge of the spoon or finger to peel away eggshell, the water grabs skin and shell pieces and leaves them in the pot  I'm peeling over. I usually get clean eggs and I feel the water helps break the surface tension between the cooked egg, the membrane and outer shell.
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post #3 of 22
I boil water and drop the eggs in for 8-12 mn depending on the desired result. Then I shock them in water and ice for about 1 mn. Never had a problem peeling them after that. I use the freshest eggs I can find .Not sure why you'd want to use older eggs for that purpose: older eggs have whites that are more.. liquidy (for lack of a better term), which can help in certain recipes, but not hard boiled eggs. Also, older eggs have lost moisture and will usually have a bigger air pocket, which is undesirable for a nice, fully rounded, nicely egg-shaped hard boiled egg.

In the rare cases where I have trouble peeling an egg like that, it's because I haven't succeeded in breaking the inner lining along with the shell. So I'm trying to take the shell out but the lining stays on the egg. Difficult to do, and not a good result. In that case I'll rupture the inner lining and start peeling it until the shell comes with it. Easy and a good result.
post #4 of 22
 I peel when still warm. They peel quick

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks. The reason for older eggs (not old, just not totally fresh) is an old kitchen wisdom. It says that in very fresh eggs the membrane sticks to the egg white more tenaciously. Since I never tried to use farm-fresh eggs, I have not tested them.
I have a neighbor with egg-laying hens--a good chance to test to old-wives' tale.
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #6 of 22
Hmmm... not a chef but I've been cooking for a long time.  I usually peel my eggs under a stream of running water so that even the tiniest egg shell can be washed away... so far so good!
post #7 of 22
Gerdosh, I have tested it and older eggs ARE more desirable for peeling.  Of course we aren't talking old eggs, just "older."  I prefer those that have been in my fridge 10+ days at least.  Those will always peel great (in my experience.)  I usually buy my home eggs 5-15 dozen at a time.  So by the time I get to the last dozen or two, they are aged perfectly.  

When you do have access to really fresh eggs, the membrane sticks horribly leaving pits in the egg white...even with ice baths, under running water, etc. 

Here is a tip that someone told me once to use when you are in a pinch and only have really fresh eggs in your fridge.  Add a few ounces of cooking oil to your water before boiling.  Cook using whatever method you normally use, and cool using whatever method you prefer.  Seriously, it works.  It is NOT PERFECT by any stretch of your imagination, especially with really fresh eggs.  But the difference is really noticeable and time saving.  The fresher the egg, the more cracks in the shell I make prior to peeling.  But other than that, you are all set. 

Again, not perfect, but time saving!
post #8 of 22
 Another theory older eggs peel easier is because as they age they loose moisture within..As they do the air space inside gets larger and when cooked tends to expand therefor slightly pushing shell more outward away from actual solids of egg. This theory can be proven by simply weighing eggs. The older the lighter even though same grade and previous size.was same.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #9 of 22
I have a few laying hens, always have fresh eggs. I won't boil an egg that has not been in the fridge for at least a week.... They just wont peel.

I have tried poking a small hole in the small end of the egg with the tine of a fork before boiling. Seems to help the shell release better.....But ask 100 people, you will get 100 different answers to this question. Everyone has their own theory.
post #10 of 22

I really liked this being added to the topics here.  It's always a problematic thing to accomplish.
Our kids come to me and ask me for advice when it comes to peeling HB eggs.
Sometimes they're asked to bring something to a buffet or picnic or whatever and all 3 love HB eggs.
As much as I think I know about cooking, this one deludes me as well.

One thing I have always heard for what it's worth, is the adage about using older rather than fresh fresh eggs
for the purpose of easier peeling.

Not noticed fresh from the farm or supermarket bought, makes a difference.
Also tried to use every method I've seen on tv or read in print and there isn't
a tried and true method that's foolproof as far as I'm concerned.
My good fortune times at peeling HB eggs may have had something to do with

running under cold water when peeling, holding under water in a bowl when peeling,

doing the peeling asap after cooling in the ice water so they're ok to touch, trying

to get the shells off in the minimal amount of broken pieces, so half and half would be ideal,

but not probable.

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post #11 of 22

 When I was younger(a long time ago) we were all told by the chefs and instructors not to use the term Hard Boiled Egg. They told us there was no such term. It should be called Hard Cooked and it should be simmered in fresh lightly salted water on the stove and even stirred. . I have always adhered to this. I find by boiling, the egg yolk turns color and the white is tougher. It is almost like poaching only it is in the shell.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Buchanan View Post

 When I was younger(a long time ago) we were all told by the chefs and instructors not to use the term Hard Boiled Egg. They told us there was no such term. It should be called Hard Cooked and it should be simmered in fresh lightly salted water on the stove and even stirred. . I have always adhered to this. I find by boiling, the egg yolk turns color and the white is tougher. It is almost like poaching only it is in the shell.


Yeah I was told not to let the temperature of the water go over 185 degrees or your eggs can become sulfurous and have a gray dry yolk. I still have trouble peeling them sometimes though I always roll them in the pan to develop cracks and then peel them in the ice bath. I have not added salt or stirred them so I will try it next time.
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post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Benrias--did you say 5-15 doz eggs for your HOME kitchen? What do you do with that many eggs and do you have a walk-in for your home? Or your family eats nothing but eggs? That's awesome. I am curious to know the answer.

Thanks for the suggestion and also your explanation of older eggs vs. younger eggs on peeling.

(author of What Recipes Don't Tell You)
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Buchanan View Post

 Another theory older eggs peel easier is because as they age they loose moisture within..As they do the air space inside gets larger and when cooked tends to expand therefor slightly pushing shell more outward away from actual solids of egg. This theory can be proven by simply weighing eggs. The older the lighter even though same grade and previous size.was same.
 

This is a very good working idea--combined with fresh eggs having more clingy membrane between shell and white, these explain the difference in peeling.
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Buchanan View Post

 When I was younger(a long time ago) we were all told by the chefs and instructors not to use the term Hard Boiled Egg. They told us there was no such term. It should be called Hard Cooked and it should be simmered in fresh lightly salted water on the stove and even stirred. . I have always adhered to this. I find by boiling, the egg yolk turns color and the white is tougher. It is almost like poaching only it is in the shell.


This is true--the American Egg Board has been fighting a losing battle to have people call HB eggs hard-cooked eggs. Of course, professionals don't boil eggs but the term is so much ingrained among home cooks since time immemorial that we might as well accept and use the term HB eggs.
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #16 of 22
@Gerdosh: 

*sheepish smile*  Yes...5-15 dozen at a time.   I found an egg distributor in the LA area that sells quality eggs for roughly $1.10/doz depending on the market at that time.  Its cash only, and they close like at 10am or 11.  Minimum size is 1 box of 15 dozen.  I do keep up a pretty intense home cooking menu (long story) so having the eggs handy helps immensely.  But don't worry, by buying 15doz at a time, I can split it with my sis-in-law who is about as intense as me.  So I usually can get myself down to 7-8 dozen.

Most weeks I stick with the 5 dozen eggs from Costco--and they last about two weeks.  A little more pricey than the distributor in LA, but I don't have to worry about splitting my stockpile. 

Sounds looney...but we bust through them rather quickly. 
post #17 of 22
Now now - once anyone says long story you gotte fess up. hehe - Be forthcoming, seems like a lot of eggs!  Or not to be forthcoming, just curious is all.  We have 5 peoples here and get thru maybe a dozen hmmm dozen and a  half a week.  I really don't do well at peeling....even after cooling, cracking, soaking.  Ah well, the hungry ones gobble them up anyways, no matter how many fingernail holes are in the whites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BenRias View Post

@Gerdosh: 

*sheepish smile*  Yes...5-15 dozen at a time.   I found an egg distributor in the LA area that sells quality eggs for roughly $1.10/doz depending on the market at that time.  Its cash only, and they close like at 10am or 11.  Minimum size is 1 box of 15 dozen.  I do keep up a pretty intense home cooking menu (long story) so having the eggs handy helps immensely.  But don't worry, by buying 15doz at a time, I can split it with my sis-in-law who is about as intense as me.  So I usually can get myself down to 7-8 dozen.

Most weeks I stick with the 5 dozen eggs from Costco--and they last about two weeks.  A little more pricey than the distributor in LA, but I don't have to worry about splitting my stockpile. 

Sounds looney...but we bust through them rather quickly. 
 
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post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Note that if you are making anything with HB eggs where they will be crushed or chopped, peeling is not necessary (something all professional know). I just cut the unpeeled eggs into halves and scoop out the egg part from the shell--they are ready for egg salad, chopped eggs sprinkled over soup, and so on.
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #19 of 22
 That is hard way to.     For volume, break eggs first into 2 inch S/S hotel pan  put in steamer till hard cooked (like hard poached) cool in ice water drain and chop . No shell at all.  no spliting, no peeling, no touching.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #20 of 22

I know this may be a little late, but I thought I would add this just for the conversation value.  Below are some pics that I took of peeled, hard boiled eggs at different stages of aging.  I forgot to take one of a fresh-from-the-store-bought egg that was simply boiled in regular water.  But otherwise, below, you will see that aging your eggs even slightly can still yield fine results.  You can always learn something new...as I did when I saw Ed's hotel pan suggestion!  I don't think I have needed to boil enough eggs to need that technique, but now I want to do it anyway!  Anyways, see the description below each picture for more details: 

 

Hosted by imgur.com

This is a pic of a hard boiled egg that sat 4-6 days in my fridge AFTER purchase (i.e. I can't guarantee with certainty how long it sat at the farm or on the grocer's shelf.)  This used my previously mentioned technique of adding oil to the water before boiling.  As you can see, shell with no pits.

 

 

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This is a pic of an egg that sat 10-12 days in my fridge AFTER purchase.  This was WITHOUT using oil in the water.  Again, no pits and only the slightest degradation of shape from moisture loss.  I would still feel perfectly fine using this slightly misshapen egg for presentation purposes such as deviled eggs. 

 

 

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This last one is at least 15 days old.  This was done without the oil in the water.  Generally, still decent shape, but obvious flaw.  And if you look carefully, there is a pit or two--that was my fault for rushing, but the rest of the shell fell off in one or two big chunks.  And I do normally peel under running water to catch all small pieces.  

post #21 of 22

my 2 cents:

 

I peel HB/HC eggs in a bowl of cool water.  Not running water, but similar idea.  Works perfectly every time.

post #22 of 22
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