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Experiments: An April Eggsperiment
When I heard that this month’s theme was ‘experiments’ I immediately thought about what I could write about that was the opposite of this, as I tend to do; but, alas, Blythe got there first (just wait for it). So I had to change tactics.
Good thing I have a love for southern chefs like Paula Deen and Alton Brown, who never cease to amaze and amuse me with their recipes and experiments. Not the mention their accents; gosh golly, I love the accents when I am not surrounded by them!
While I was contemplating what to write about, Alton Brown mentioned something via twitter that seemed apt for the job: in honour of Easter, I would bake eggs!
What an eggsperiment! Though, I admit that I was a bit behind the normal Easter (I made Blythe do the experiment for his family egg rolling), but luckily my Greek friend stepped in and came over with a batch of Greek egg dye which was lost in a time warp for a year, as it was mailed to her for Easter in 2011 and just arrived a couple of weeks ago in 2012. FYI: Greek Easter is usually a week after Easter here; different religious calendars and all that.
What better way to get ready for dying eggs than going for a long training walk and getting to see the very early morning sun over the waters at Crammond? Nothing, except following it up with a trip to see the Munch exhibit at the Modern Art Gallery. I was totally set for my eggsperiment.
Part 1: Baking the Eggs
Eggs (as many as your wee heart desires)
Egg dye (optional but good messy fun)
Put the eggs in the oven, directly onto the racks. I had to put my sideways so they wouldn’t fall through. Put a pan under them just in case you have a jumper or popper.
Turn the oven on to 160 C; 325 F; or Gas Mark 3.
Bake for 30 minutes with occasional pauses to take photos and wonder why the eggs are leaking.
Remove from oven and put in icy water to cool down.
Then dye till your heart’s content and your kitchen is covered in ridiculous colours.
Part 2: Boiling the eggs
Let’s skip to the chase:
Cool in water
Part 3: The Comparison
Here’s the yolk of it all. What it boils down to is the question of whether it matters if you boil or bake the eggs. I found a few key differences. It turns out that the eggs that were baked seemed to have that odd seepage during the baking process which washed away in the dying process. But when we stripped the eggs, the baked eggs were less spotted with dye than the boiled eggs (it would be interesting to see if the different eggs [these were free range] had different reactions in the oven).
As you can see, the colours seemed to take quite well to the baked eggs, just as I would have hoped.
It may seem like the shells of the baked ones are slightly lighter, but this isn’t really the case. The boiled ones were just fresher out of the dye and still wet. The looked pretty much the same now that you cannot see the weir, weepy bits of the baked eggs.
After the eggs sat and cooled down completely, Jo and I each chose and egg (I chose the pretty baked one) and we knocked them together nose to nose, as is Greek tradition. Whichever egg doesn’t break is the ‘winner’. My egg reigned supreme that day, but to be honest, I knew it would. Blythe came across the same thing when he was challenging his other family members’ eggs, some of which were baked. We decided that in the baking process something happens to help harden the shell. Or, conversely, the boiling processes weakens the shell, but I have no idea what those processes are.
Regardless, once we peeled the two eggs, there was a noticeable colour difference in them: more dots and dye on the boiled eggs, a brownish hint to the baked ones.
As you can see, the baked egg was over-cooked and developed the greenish ring around the yolk that is a result of the sulfur and iron compounds in the egg.
The boiled egg was the perfect consistency.
The baked egg was a bit dry.
The eggs both tasted good. Nothing wrong there.
I learned 3 things during this eggsperiment:
- That if I want to win an egg rolling or egg bashing contest, I should bake the egg.
- If I want the eat the egg after winning, I should bake it less than 30 minutes in my temperamental gas oven.
- That for those of you who are scared to boil eggs, this is a simple and easy alternative. Just don’t forget they are in the oven. Unless you want to do an eggsperiment in how to burn baked eggs.
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