The EGGsperiment – Sous Vide Eggs 75 @ 64

by Doc-G on August 5, 2010

Eggs are wonderful…eggs are good…and sometimes, eggs can be obsessive.

Poaching Eggs – Sous Vide style

I’ve always liked eggs, but it was only when I attended my first ever Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery whilst doing my Masters in Gastronomy that I fully appreciated the versatility and variety of foods that eggs are used for. Without going into too much detail just remember this, eggs are REALLY important in food and cuisines from all over the world. Secondly, eggs due to the myriad of things that one can do with them are somewhat magical.

The programme in 2006 was eggs and one of the guest speakers was a guy called Herve This. Now if you’re in food, you’ve heard of him. He’s one of the grand daddies of Molecular Gastronomy and has written books and has spoken all over the world on the topic. So when he spoke about eggs at this conference, everybody listened. Amongst many things, he mentioned the use of Sous Vide style cooking to slow poach eggs. Sous Vide (meaning ‘under pressure’) cooking is normally done with food vacuum packed into heat tolerant bags and then held in a bath of water at a specific and constant temperature. Just google it. There are lots and LOTS of articles on it and what it is about but Herve on this particular day talked about slow poaching eggs. This was what got me interested in this idea and it was only a few days ago due to work allowing me to experiment with an immersion circulator that I was able to start some of my own experimentation with this wonderful way of cooking the humble egg.

Herve talked about the creaminess and texture of these eggs and to be honest, it had me salivating and whilst reading David Chang’s book, ‘Momofuku’ who also describes slow cooked eggs, I just about blew my lid and thought to myself, ‘That’s it…enough is enough’ and sought to try it for myself.

So, you can find many tables and ideas on how this works just by Googling ‘Sous Vide Egg Chart’. I found these two to be useful:

Sous Vide for the Home Cook
Low Temp Charts

Anyway, I decided to go for the 64oC version. So I preheated by water and when it reached the set temperature, I placed them in the bath and waited…and waited and waited and waited. Those 75 minutes seemed to go on forever.

Anyway, when they were done, I cracked a couple open and took a few shots. This one below has a little cracked black pepper and salt which is how I usually have poached egg (but without the bacon and hollandaise!!!!).

Egg Perfection?

As far as flavour goes, it tastes funnily enough like an egg. However, where it comes into its own is with regards to texture. They are creamy and rich like custard and have a similar texture all the way through. How often are your conventionally cooked eggs either perfectly cooked with the whites and raw yolks or with hard dry sulphurous deathtrap yolks? This is because when you cook in boiling water, you have to decide when the egg is cooked. When cooking Sous Vide, you set the temperature and let your ingredient come to the the temperature you want it to. Also, because you are cooking it slowly, there is enough time for both the egg white to come together but without the yolk overcooking. This means you get consistency and when your making eggs that you can get the most velvety, soft and unctuous little precious thing to ever enter your mouth!

One thing to remember here however is food safety. Read up on it and at the very least get some books on the subject before you go headlong into Sous Vide cooking. Poisoning your friends is not a good look and I dont recommend it as a means of making friends and influencing people.

Some books on Sous Vide cooking are available here:

There are other articles out there on this exact topic and I’m a little late to the party, but hey, at least I’m here.

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