Make it Yourself - Using Eggs

Eggs From Don and Bonnie's Homestead
Eggs are really the all-purpose ingredient.  Besides the usual breakfast fare, they are an important ingredient in cooking and baking.  In baking, they give any dish richness, flavor and color, they thicken sauces and custards, and they are the leavening in cakes like sponge and angel food cakes, and in soufflés. Eggs are excellent sources of iron and protein, and are part of a healthy diet.   
Most cookbooks are standardized to use “large” eggs.  The Barefoot Contessa is one exception that I can think of…she uses extra large eggs.
Weighing large eggs
How to measure eggs?  They are standardized by the federal government, and large eggs weigh about 2 ounces without the shell and 2 ¼ ounces in the shell.  Because I get farm eggs, I always weigh them, usually in the shell, to make sure I get the right amount for the recipe.  A little too much egg is almost always better than not enough egg.
The white of a large egg measures about 2 tablespoons, the yolk measures about 1 tablespoon.  One cup of whole eggs takes about 6-7 large eggs.
Separating eggs for souffle
To halve an egg for a recipe, break it into a cup, beat it, and measure out 1 ½ tablespoons.  If you are making half a recipe of muffins or most regular cakes, a small or medium egg will work fine as a substitute for a half an egg.   I save the small farm eggs I get for “half eggs”.  
Measurements for eggs are the most important in recipes like angel food and sponge cakes, custards and custard-based dishes like bread or rice pudding (for thickening), soufflés, and meringues.
Cooking eggs:
Perfect egg white
Always at moderate to low temperatures.  They will become dry and rubbery if the heat is too high or they are cooked too long, even at a low temperature.
Fresh or Stale?
The white should be thick and the yolk should be rounded.  If the yolk is flat and the white runs thinly, it is past its prime.  Of course, they should smell clean, not offensive.  Stringy white fibers are found in the white of very fresh eggs, they are intended to suspend the yolk in place.
Storing eggs:
Keep fresh for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Eggs should be separated when cold, it’s easier.  If you wish to beat them, then let them come to room temperature.  If you wish to fry or poach them, they keep their shape better if they are still chilled.
Don's girls and THE rooster
Buying Eggs:
I would encourage you to check out local egg sellers; get acquainted, be friendly, ask to see their chickens and chicken house, and buy eggs locally from someone you trust.   You can ask friends and coworkers or you may have to turn in at that “eggs for sale” sign along the road and visit.  Ask how they keep their feed (to keep pests out), see if their chicken house seems reasonably clean, ask what they feed their chickens, find out how long they keep eggs before selling them.  You’ll find that the time is much, much shorter than “store” eggs.
Don't insist on "free-range" only, a pen keeps out predators.  You may get them cheaper if you don't insist on all large eggs.
Buy a few and check out the high yolks, thick whites and golden color.  Be friendly, and set up a regular time to buy eggs.  I don’t think you’d go back to eggs from your local supermarket.

1 comment:

  1. Love "the girls" & rooster photo. Very interesting egg information. Never thought about how much an egg weighed or if I was using the "right size" egg for a recipe. When I have to buy them at the grocery store, I always get "large". Right now, with Farmer's Market, am able to buy them there and they do run the gamut from small to extra large. I have, also, found most of them have a runny white, which I'm not too happy about, as compared to store bought. Both have the rounded yolk, so I suppose that is all that matters? The coloration is a whole other story. Most Farmer's Market have a gorgeous orange yolk, whereas, the store bought range from sunny yellow to pale yellow, but the white does hold it shape in the frying pan. Enjoy your blog and recipes, although I don't comment too much - and, yes, I know I should do more. M

    ReplyDelete

Hi...we'd love to hear from you.