The only thing that matters for perfect poached eggs

Last edition we discussed what vinegar does to poached eggs and whether or not you should use it. But that’s not the most important factor in how your poached eggs will turn out.

It’s not making a vortex in the water or the right temperature either (but around 180-190F/82-88C is ideal). It’s all about the freshness of the egg. The sooner you can get the egg from a chicken’s cloaca (yes that’s what its called, and yes, their poop sort of does come out of that hole too) into your pot, the better.


Eggs have yokes and whites. But the white, or albumen, can be split into 2: the thick albumen surrounding the yolk, and the thin albumen surrounding the thick albumen. When an egg is laid, the ratio of thick to thin albumen is about 60-40. As time goes on though, it trends towards 50-50.

For poached eggs, all we’re looking for is the thick albumen. The thin albumen are those wispy white bits you see floating around the water - yuck!. Since we want to maximize the amount of thick albumen in a poached eggs, fresh is best.

Even fresh eggs have thin albumens though. You can get rid of them before poaching by cracking the egg into a fine-mesh strainer and swirling around. The thin albumen will fall through, leaving you with just the yolk and the thick albumen.

How to tell if an egg is fresh? Put it in a cup of water. It should sink. If it floats, it is very old and probably shouldn’t be used.

Happy Poaching!

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