kottke.org posts about hervethis

How to boil an eggAug 27 2008

French cookery scientist Hervé This says that the 10-minute boiled egg is the wrong way to go about cooking your eggs. Temperature and not time is the governing factor to gloriously boiled eggs.

Recall that when an egg cooks, its proteins first unwind and then link to form a rigidifying mesh. But not all its proteins solidify at the same temperature. Ovotransferrin, the first of the egg-white proteins to uncoil, begins to set at around 61 degrees Celsius, or 142°F. Ovalbumin, the most abundant egg-white protein, coagulates at 184°F. Yolk proteins generally fall in between, with most starting to solidify when they approach 158°F. Thus, cooking an egg at 158°F or so should achieve both a firmed-up yolk and still-tender whites, since at that low temperature only some of the egg-white proteins will have coagulated.

"Cooking eggs is really a question of temperature, not time," says This. To make the point, he switches on a small oven, sets the thermostat at 65°C, or 149°F, takes four eggs straight from the box, and unceremoniously places them inside. "I use an oven in the lab; it's easier. But if the oven in your kitchen is not accurate, cook eggs in plenty of water, using a good thermometer." About an hour later -- timing isn't critical, and the eggs can stay in the oven for hours or even overnight -- he retrieves the first egg and carefully shells it. "The 65-degree egg!" he announces. The egg is unlike any I've eaten. The white is as delicately set and smooth as custard, and the yolk is still orange and soft.

(via biancolo)

Basic kitchen elementsMay 23 2008

Kitchen chemist Herve This' 10 basic elements of kitchen knowledge.

The other day I posted a linkFeb 19 2008

The other day I posted a link to an article about Hervé This that mentioned how to unboil an egg.

He explains that when an egg is cooked, the protein molecules unroll themselves, link up and enclose the water molecules. In order to 'uncook' the egg, you need to detach the protein molecules from each other. By adding a product like sodium borohydride, the egg becomes liquid within three hours. For those who want to try it at home, vitamin C also does the trick.

Michael Pusateri tried it out (using vitamin C) and it didn't work so well.

The egg was whole and appeared completely unaffected. The texture of the egg outside felt normal and in no way 'unboiled'. While I am a professional engineer, I am a amateur scientist. There are several reasons this process might not have unboiled the egg.

Any molecular gastronomists out there want to give this one a shot?

How to unboil an egg:Feb 14 2008

How to unboil an egg:

He explains that when an egg is cooked, the protein molecules unroll themselves, link up and enclose the water molecules. In order to 'uncook' the egg, you need to detach the protein molecules from each other. By adding a product like sodium borohydride, the egg becomes liquid within three hours. For those who want to try it at home, vitamin C also does the trick.

That's from an article on Hervé This, a French chemist whose medium is food.

Tags related to hervethis:
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