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6 ways to cook perfect poached eggs

by Julia Pal

published on 4 October 2013

Eggs are easy, right? So, why is it that cooking poached eggs casts fear into the heart of so many home cooks. We’ve rounded up half a dozen of our favourite cookery authors to tell us how they get their poached eggs perfect every time.

Rick Stein

I use a milk pan with water and white wine vinegar, about a tablespoon to 300ml water, because I like the taste. I season with half a teaspoon of salt, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer, swirl the water with a wooden spoon and drop the egg into the centre so a reasonably compact shape is formed. Poach for about 4 minutes and serve on buttered toast.

Genevieve Taylor, urban hen-keeper and author of A Good Egg

I use a deep frying pan rather than a saucepan. Bring the water up to a rolling boil then turn it down to the gentlest simmer possible. Take the freshest egg you can get your hands on (happily, this is where my ‘girls’ excel and my eggs are can be literally minutes old) and crack it into a little cup. Lower the cup as close to the water as possible and gently, gently slide it in. Leave it completely alone until it is set to your liking. Now a confession. I don’t particularly like runny egg yolks, so I poach mine until they are set to a soft ‘fudgey’ consistency.

Bruno Loubet, chef and author of Mange Tout

First use an extra fresh egg so the white is all together and not runny. Bring salted water with a dash of vinegar to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmering. Break your eggs in a small cup and slowly slide on the side of the pan and cook.

Alexis Gauthier, chef and author of Vegetronic

Seasoned then wrapped in cling film lined with olive oil. Poach for around 4 minutes depending on egg size.

James Morton, Bake Off 2012 finalist and author of Brilliant Bread

I’m a fan of popping your egg (shell and all) in your simmering water for 10 seconds before you start, meaning it keeps its shape much better. No vinegar or swirls or any of that silliness – then just remove the pan from the heat, crack your egg in and cook until done.

Wendi Peters, Celebrity MasterChef pudding queen

I’m afraid I cheat and use a poaching pan, I’ve never got the hang of boiling, stirred water etc..

So, how do you cook your poached eggs? Do you use one of our author’s methods or do you have your own fail-safe technique? Tweet us @thehappyfoodie with your egg-cellent poached egg advice.

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