As we all know, I have a thing for soft boiled eggs (oh Mappen how I love you!). But rather than making a trip into the city every time I want a soft boiled egg fix, I decided to conduct my own experiments regarding how to get that perfectly soft boiled egg at home.
Everything I've read about soft boiled eggs had processes that were very involved. There were very specific steps that you had to take — the eggs at to be at room temperature (which room are we talking about exactly?) and when you left the eggs n hot water to cook n the residual heat (but how hot did the water have to be exactly?), there were differing times. Surely you could do all of this without gadgetry and extended steps. How do mothers do it in the morning to feed their children? I know that my morning routine simply cannot accommodate a fussy egg cooking process, but I don't feel like nicely cooked eggs should only be part of a leisurely weekend breakfast.
Out of all the instructions I've found online, Heston Blumenthal's seemed immediately doable. It was simple, and when Heston says that it works every time, then I'm happy to trust him. He said to cover a room temperature egg with just enough cold water and bring it to a boil fast, over high heat. After that, turn the heat off and leave the egg to cook n the residual heat for 6 minutes. Slightly involved, but it sounded doable.
The other method that I tried was one that has been working for me every time. Bring a pot of water to the boil, then take an egg out of the fridge (which is where most of us keep them for convenience sake) and put it in the boiling water and reduce the heat to low so the water is simmering, for 6 minutes.
The results? Heston's method seemed to produce a really nice hard boiled egg, but hard boiled nonetheless. My method produced a hard boiled white, but with a runny yolk.
I'm not too sure why exactly, but I think the going theory at the moment is that the eggs were too small — I used medium sized eggs, the smiley faces on them got to me! — and maybe too big a pot, because that meant that the water took longer to get to a rolling boil. My method got a consistently runny yolk, but I've been experimenting with decreasing the boiling time and increasing the resting time to get to a soft, just-cooked white as well.
I'll keep you updated on the eggy eggsperiments, but I'm absolutely open to suggestions! What are your secrets to a perfectly set soft boiled egg?