Of course boiling eggs are easy, but getting it soft, medium or hard boiled takes a timer and getting the egg to peel into a smooth oval shape without pieces missing has a few secrets. ;0) So, here are my tricks or secrets that I have figured out through trial and error over my years of cooking.
*Note the best way to get your desired eggs exact, is to experiment with a timer yourself. Take one hour out of a day to play with eggs. It will be just you, your sauce pan, water, vinegar, a timer, and your choice of egg (size, brand, fresh, organic, free-range, or regular grocery store variety). I decided to take a morning and play; I used three timers set one minute apart (using one timer twice). I took the cooked egg out of the pan and put it under cold running water while peeling it within one minute of the next one being done (that way the cooking stopped and I didn't have a cold egg, which putting it on ice would give you). I cooked each fresh brown cage free organic large egg 2, 3, 4, and 5 minutes on my gas top stove.
A closer view shows the two minute egg on top is runny, and progressively gets more solid up to 5 minutes (the bottom sliced egg).
I'll begin with a chart for cooking times. (I usually use large or extra large eggs). Try the different times below, so you can hear yourself say, "Ah, now that is just right;" be like Goldilocks! Every morning at breakfast, you will wonder why you waited so long to "use that one hour it took" to learn what you like, getting the perfect eggs for you and your family.
Egg Size Cooked to Order Boiling time
Medium Soft yolk .75 minutes
Medium Medium yolk 2.5 minutes
Medium Hard yolk, but not green 8 minutes
Large Soft yolk 1 minutes
Large Medium yolk 3-4 minutes
Large Hard yolk 9 minutes
Extra Large Soft yolk 2 minutes
Extra Large Medium yolk 4-5 minutes
Extra Large Hard 10 minutes
1. I used a larger pan than necessary for the purpose of pictures for this blog; a smaller saucepan would be fine too. Pour cold water into pan with raw eggs. Note: You do want to allow the eggs to move around a bit, because if they are too crowded, you will have flat sides due to the stationary egg cooking in a settled position.
2. I add vinegar to the pan, it helps the peel to come off easier. Baking soda added to the water works too, just don't let it soak in water to long, as it can make the egg white "meally."
3. Bring to a full boil. Place lid on pan (optional, I didn't in my experiments), turn off heat. Note: If you use a lid, it will take a second more of your time to lift lid... since I only had one minute to peel each egg, I didn't use a lid. To be frank, I usually don't use a lid because 1, 2, 3 minutes until done is fast enough! A lid will hold in the heat and could speed up your cooking times.
Lol,, ever try to take a pic of boiling water? Camera lens steams up & the eggs & water move.
5. Refill with cold water to stop the cooking process. The water will loosen the shell off the soaking eggs while you get set to peel them. I place one bowl out next to the sink for the shells (I compost, or you can let them go down the garbage disposal) and another bowl placed on the other side of the sink for the freshly peeled eggs.
6. Peel from wider end. I pore running cold water over the egg while I peel it; the running water will get under the membrane skin making it much easier to peel off with the hard shell. (This is my secret to smooth deviled eggs).
water will push it's way under the egg membrane shell, separating it from the egg for easy removal. ;0)
See film in upper right hand corner & along the top of the egg? You want to work on peeling this, not focusing on the hard part of the shell because it will take the hard with it, making it so easy to remove.
7. The following are images for you to pick your "Cooked to Order" desired doneness:
As soft as they come, 1.75 minutes on an Extra Large egg:
You can also find adorable egg servers to serve them in their shell. Purchase shell cutters or carefully use a knife to cut off the top. --(Found these two pretty images on The Food Network, one of my fav sites & shows):So Cute! Don't ya want to just dig in?
Medium Egg, (Large egg for 4 minutes).
Medium Well Egg, (Extra-Large egg for 7 minutes) the shell half on lower front right; my fella ate the other half before I could grab my camera, lol. ;0)
Hard Egg, (10 minutes for Extra Large egg) on left side. They're sliced with a simple fork.
17 minutes. Green Eggs mean over-cooked; not "Green eggs and Ham."
Four hard boiled Tips:
--The egg whites on hard boiled eggs will become rubbery if you over-cook them. ;-) Green eggs are the sulfur in the whites (which cook faster than yolk in a quick heat or hot water method) reaction to the iron in the yolk. Keep the temperature of the white and yolk the same during the cooking process by beginning with cold water and eggs in the pan. A slow raise to boil; then do not "overcook" them.
--Notice fluffy texture & pretty yellow color of the yolk; not green, due to over-cooking. ;0)
--Older eggs are much easier to peel than fresh ones, but I've done these steps with eggs from my friends' hens & did fine.
--On a normal day I do not do the "pin into an end" trick, but it does work to let the air out, as well as it ensures that the egg will not have a flat side. I'd do it, if a famous chef came to my house to eat, though, lol. ;-) Note: a large enough pan that allows eggs to roll around during cooking will eliminate a flat spot too.
Now Enjoy your Breakfasts...