Cooking with Eggs
The humble egg is made up of the white and the yolk, and both play an important part in cooking and baking.
The egg white is made up of 90% water and 10% protein and works as a leavening agent. It also holds the structure of many baked goods such as meringues.
The yolk carries a lot of fat, and this is what will lend richness and moisture to baked goods. It also carries lecithin, which is a natural emulsifier.
To Refrigerate or Not?
In the 1980s, eggs got a bad rap in the UK because of their potential for food-borne illnesses such as salmonella. Treated with a little bit of care, eggs should not be a problem and are now heralded as an exceptionally healthy food.
Storage, however, is important. In the US, eggs are washed, which erodes the cuticle and makes them more porous. Because of that, the eggs should be refrigerated and will last for up to 14 days. In Europe, the eggs are not washed and the cuticle remains intact, so eggs are fine stored outside the fridge and are safe for 21 days.
Eggs should be brought to room temperature before using. If you forget to take them out the fridge, then just pop them in a warm bowl of water before using.
If you are going to whip your eggs, wipe the bowl with a drop of white vinegar, followed by hot water, to ensure there is no grease of fat on the bowl. Eggs can be whipped to a soft or medium peak, and you should start off gently, then increase speed.
You will know if you have over-beaten them as they howl for mercy and separate. They also look dull and grainy. Only start beating your eggs when you are ready to use them. They don’t like to stand and wait around for you!