One of my engineering graduate courses in the fall 2016 semester was called "Design of Experiments," and for the term project we each had to design our own experiment. While it was perhaps expected to do something engineering-related, it was by no means required - so I seized my chance: I would run experiments to discover the optimal poached egg.
I ended up cooking about sixty eggs over the course of two months. I poached free range eggs and battery eggs, trying different techniques like “swirling” the water prior to poaching. I weighed the egg before and after poaching to determine the fraction lost during cooking. I varied poaching time and temperature. I made notes after breakfast about how done the eggs were, from undercooked, to perfect, to overcooked - assigning each a score on a "doneness scale." Finally I analyzed my data using tried-and-true objective statistical methods. Here are my results:
So there you have it. A perfect way to poach eggs. Proven by science. It's great that after five years of post-secondary and four years of practical engineering experience I'm able to "engineer" my breakfast.
PS: Marks came out today and I got an 90% in the course for which I did the poached eggs experiment. Eggsellent!
Free range versus battery eggs
One thing I noticed during egg experiments was the consistent difference in colour between free range eggs and battery eggs. The free range eggs’ yolks were golden orange while the battery eggs were pale yellow. For me, cutting into the poached egg is the best part - the yolk spills out and onto the toast, making a delicious mess. Even though it won't make a difference on how well the egg poaches (as shown by my experiment), the rich colour of the free range eggs’ yolks are, in my opinion totally worth seeking them out in favour of the battery eggs.
I'm Erik, the Burnt Chef. I'm a Finnish-born Newfoundlander living in Norway. I have a passion for cooking and a deep fascination for the culinary history of the North. Simplicity guides my cooking. Time, place, and history guide my storytelling. This is my personal blog about food.