If you do any cooking at all, sooner or later you'll come across a recipe that calls for you to separate an egg. What that means is separating the yolk of the egg from the white.
Sometimes it's the yolk you're after, as when making sauces such as hollandaise and mayonnaise, or custards, like crème brûlée or zabaglione, or even fresh pasta or gelato. Egg whites, on the other hand, are used in making meringues, soufflés, icings, and mousses, or for clarifying stocks and consommés.
Watch Now: The Easy Way to Separate Eggs
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Crack an Egg
Believe it or not, there could almost be a whole tutorial on how to crack an egg. But in short, it's best to crack an egg on a flat surface like a cutting board, not on the edge of a bowl. Why? Because cracking an egg on the edge of a bowl can drive any bacteria or other contaminants on the shell's surface into the egg itself. Cracking an egg on a flat surface is less likely to do that.
Once you've cracked it, hold the egg over whichever bowl you want to collect the egg whites in.
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Split the Shell in Half
Try to split the shell into two pieces that roughly equal in size. Also, ideally you'd make a clean crack right across the egg's equator, without any jagged pieces that might pierce the yolk.
Carefully cup the yolk in one half of the shell and simply allow the white to drain into the bowl below.
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Tip the Yolk Into the Empty Half of the Shell
Now you've got the empty half of the shell in one hand, and in the other half, you have the egg yolk. But there's likely still a bit of white around the yolk, too. We're going to carefully tip that yolk into the other half of the eggshell.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Let the Egg White Fall Away Into the Bowl
Depending on how fresh the eggs you're working with are, the white may fall away quite easily, or it may hang on a bit more stubbornly. (The less fresh an egg is, the more easily the white will fall off.) If you have to give it a jiggle to loosen it, that's okay.
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