The Perfect Egg

Germans are egg connoiseurs. I once heard a hilarious Toastmasters speech about how Germans have all sorts of gadgets in the market with one goal in mind: To engineer the perfect breakfast egg.

While foreigners scratch their heads about what is the big deal about boiled eggs, for Germans it is a matter of national interest every Sunday. Egg piercers, egg guillotines, egg cookers, egg timers…and the list goes on.

eggThe German idea of the perfect boiled egg is neither hard-boiled nor soft-boiled. It is somewhere in between. It should be a gelatinous mass, deep yellow. It can be molten at the center. It is a mortal sin to serve hard-boiled eggs with light yellow yolks. Serving such eggs does not speak well of your establishment, according to the Germans.


So how do you go about cooking the perfect egg? You could read a thousand recipes online, and truly, every single person has their own style of boiling eggs. My mother-in-law’s technique involves piercing an egg at the bottom part, where the air pocket is located, and placing it in a pot of water in a rolling boil for precisely 2.31 minutes, then putting the egg under cold running water for 30 seconds.

My technique is much more simple. First, I always take refrigerated, medium-sized eggs (it says so on the carton, so we don’t have any argument what constitutes a medium-sized egg). I pierce them at the bottom part to prevent them from cracking in the heat. I fill a small pot with enough cold water from the tap to cover the eggs. I place the eggs in the pot, pot on the hob, turn the heat up to 9 (The maximum allowable heat!), then wait until the water comes to a rolling boil (meaning seriously big bubbles, not tiny soda bubbles).

When the water comes to a rolling boil, I turn the heat off and let the eggs sit in there for three minutes. Comes in handy when preparing breakfast. Then I take the eggs out of the pan and into the egg cups. If using L or XL, I lengthen the time to four minutes then place them under cold running water for 30 seconds to stop the eggs from cooking.

I was so glad to see that the technique I developed to be validated by Slate. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who thought about this. I mean, it is common sense not to place eggs in boiling water, and scalding yourself in the process.

Germans normally eat this with salt, or if you have it, supermarket caviar. It may seem luxurious to people outside of Europe, but caviar is widely available here. Beluga caviar, on the other hand…

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