Cookbook:Poached Egg

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Poached Egg
CategoryEgg recipes

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A poached egg is an egg cooked by poaching an egg, as opposed to boiling or simmering. A well-poached egg is soft and delicate, with the egg whites solidified around a runny egg yolk.


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  1. Fill a saucepan with about 1 cm of water. Optionally, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar, which helps prevent billowing, though this may impact taste.
  2. Bring the water to a "shrimp eyes" stage. It should be about 70–80 °C (155–175 °F) and you should notice small bubbles form on the base of the pan, then rising to the top.
  3. Gently stir the water in a circle to create a gentle "whirlpool" effect. This helps prevent billowing.
  4. Crack an egg into a strainer and gently shake it to drain the excess liquid whites. Then, lower the strainer into the water and gently roll out the egg. The yolks should set in around 2–3 minutes.
  5. Repeat as needed for each egg, waiting 10–15 seconds between eggs, to prevent them from sticking.

Notes, tips, and variations

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  • Fresher eggs keep their shape more easily than older eggs.
  • Use a heavy-based saucepan, since the heat distribution on its bottom is more even.
  • A tablespoon of vinegar can be added to the water, since this helps the eggs to set rapidly and prevents the egg white from billowing.
  • Agitating the water slightly by making a small whirlpool helps to prevent billowing as well as sticking
  • Leaving 10–15 seconds between adding eggs helps prevent them from sticking, particularly in small pans, as the earlier egg will have lightly set on the outside.

Common issues

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  • Proper cooking: A fundamental issue is how long eggs are cooked and at what temperature. These considerations are similar to boiling or coddling eggs, but because the egg is more spread out, it can cook more briefly.
  • Billowing: Poached eggs are ideally compact, rather than spread out or “billowed”, as these latter are delicate and messy. Gently adding the eggs to the water and using vinegar helps reduce billowing.
  • Yolk: Similarly to frying, the egg yolk should remain intact. Make sure to not pierce the yolk as you're cracking the egg.