How to Soft Boil An Egg

  • 01 of 08

    How To Soft Boil An Egg - What You Need

    How To Soft Boil an Egg
    What you need for soft-boiled eggs. J.McGavin

    Germans eat soft boiled eggs for breakfast on a regular basis. There is a whole cult of egg cups, egg warmers, individual salt shakers, egg timers, and punches, etc. But the minimum that you need for soft boiled eggs is:

    • An egg
    • A pan of boiling water
    • A sharp pin or punch
    • A clock or timer or instinct for time
    • Salt or salt substitute

    Nice to haves are:

    • Egg cups - these hold the egg upright and can be very cute or color coordinated.
    • Egg spoons - small spoons that fit inside the top of an egg.
    • Egg warmers -...MORE small caps that fit over the egg. Often handmade in various whimsical shapes from felt or yarn. See Flickr photos of egg warmers.
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  • 02 of 08

    How To Soft Boil An Egg - The Egg Punch

    egg punch
    Egg Punch. J.McGavin

    The egg punch is a very convenient product. You need a hole in the egg so that the egg doesn't crack under pressure during cooking. An egg punch cradles the wide end of the egg so that the hole is placed centrally. It minimizes accidental cracking of the egg when you try to pierce it with a pin or needle.

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  • 03 of 08

    How To Soft Boil An Egg - Punch a Hole in the Egg

    Punching a hole in an egg
    Punching a hole in an egg. J.McGavin

    Place the wide end of the egg over the punch, which is resting on a hard surface. Push down firmly but gently on the egg, until the yellow (in the picture) holder is pushed down and the needle quickly punches through the eggshell. Then release pressure and pull the egg upwards, until it comes off the punch.

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  • 04 of 08

    How To Soft Boil An Egg - What the Hole is For

    A perfect hole and no cracks in the shell
    A perfect hole and no cracks in the shell. J.McGavin

    Hard boiled eggs are placed in cold water and brought to a boil. (Boil 10-12 minutes, then cool quickly under cold, running water.)

    Soft boiled eggs are placed in boiling water. Piercing the eggshell of an egg we wish to soft boil allows the small amount of gasses between the egg and eggshell, which expand quickly when heated, to escape and keep the egg from cracking. A small hole can relieve the pressure. A cracked egg can still be eaten, but the presentation is not as good.

    The hole is usually...MORE made at the wide end because it is stronger than the small end or the sides and can withstand our meddling better.

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  • 05 of 08

    How To Soft Boil An Egg - Place the Egg in Boiling Water

    A pan of water, a spoon, an egg
    A pan of water, a spoon, an egg. J.McGavin

    Use a spoon to gently lower all your eggs into the boiling water. Sometimes a little egg white escapes from the pinhole, but that's alright. It is customary to have the raw eggs at room temperature before cooking since it was only in the last twenty years that Germans started refrigerating their eggs, but you may also use eggs directly from the refrigerator if you boil them a little longer.

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  • 06 of 08

    How To Soft Boil An Egg - Is A Timer Necessary

    Those hourglass timers are cute but never tell you when they run out. J.McGavin

    A famous, German comedian (Loriot) once wrote a skit about the four-and-a-half minute egg. In it, the housewife cooks four-and-a-half minute, soft-boiled eggs for her husband's breakfast. The problem is that she cooks them, not with a timer, but from instinct (Gefuehl).

    This leads to various outcomes, sometimes too hard, sometimes too runny, to which the husband objects. For some reason, this classic skit has become cult and Germans (for the most part) find it hilarious. "Das Ei" (in...MORE German) by Loriot - YouTube 2 1/2 minutes

    If you are trying out soft boiled eggs for the first time, you will probably want to cook large eggs about 5 minutes. If they are cold, add a minute to the time.

    Undercooked eggs have runny egg whites. Soft boiled eggs have hard egg whites and runny yolks. Waxy eggs have yolks that are not runny, but the yolks haven't turned light yellow yet. Hard boiled eggs have light yellow yolks.

    Electronic timers are a good investment, because of the alarm at the end when the time runs out. Hourglasses must be watched carefully. Have your ten-year-old run the hourglass so that you can put the rest of the breakfast on the table.

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  • 07 of 08

    How To Soft Boil An Egg - Peeling the Egg

    How to peel an egg
    How to peel an egg. J.McGavin

    After the allotted time, remove the eggs from the boiling water and ​cool them briefly under cold, running water. Dry them and set them directly in the egg cups if breakfast is ready. Otherwise, keep them together in a towel or place egg warmers over the eggs to keep them warm.

    There are two ways of opening a soft boiled egg. The first is to tap the top of the egg with a spoon or knife until it breaks, then pick off the top fifth to third of the eggshell. Many people put the egg shell bits in the...MORE bottom of the egg cup to keep the mess to a minimum.

    The second is to "decapitate" the egg with one, ​a swift stroke of the knife (not pictured), then spoon the egg white out of the top as well as the bottom of the shell. Sprinkle your egg with salt or other flavor sprinkles (here-gomasio) and spoon the egg to eat it.

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  • 08 of 08

    How To Soft Boil An Egg

    Soft boiled eggs are delicious
    Soft boiled eggs are delicious. J.McGavin

    Gomasio is a Japanese food that was first introduced to me when I lived in Germany. It is made of 5 (to 15) parts roasted sesame seeds to one part sea salt. It is a great flavor enhancer for many foods and is found in macrobiotic diets as well.

    Roast 5 - 15 tablespoons sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until they are brown and fragrant. Add 1 tablespoon salt (preferably sea salt) and heat with the seeds. Allow everything to cool to lukewarm, then grind them in a mortar and pestle or...MORE clean coffee grinder (blade type) until the sesame seeds are cracked and the oil coats the salt. This keeps at room temperature for 2 months, sometimes longer.