Not sure if perfect is the right word here, since perfection when it comes to food is extremely relative and subjective, but I do like my eggs soft and tender and I am a fan of soft boiled eggs. Cooking anything sous vide can be a bit strange in the beginning but there’s nothing strange about this cooking method, it’s been used in the food industry and some high end restaurants for many decades and it’s becoming more common in home kitchens due to less expensive technology readily available.
An egg is a perfect starting point for anyone interested in trying the Sous Vide technique. Usually, this technique requires vacuum sealing food in plastic bags. The egg can be cooked in its own shell directly though. But vacuum sealing a raw egg isn’t out of the question either.
An immersion circulator is a very convenient piece of equipment to do this, but a good thermometer, a pot, some water and some careful attention can do too.
Egg whites set at a different temperature than yolks do:
Whites set at 80°C
Yolks set at 70°C
Just 10 degrees appart. Awesome, this means that yolks can be set while keeping the whites a bit softer. This can only be done by controlling the cooking water temperature carefully. If we hold the water at 70°C long enough, the yolk will be set (not over cooked which turns a bit greenish, has an off flavor, and its texture is dry) while the whites will still be slightly softer than hard boiled.
The poached egg consistency can be a tricky thing to achieve using the sous vide technique. Whites usually need to set while the yolks are still runny. This means that in order to cook eggs this way, we must rely on carry-over heat which isn’t really what sous vide cooking is about. If you want poached eggs, poach them, Heston Blumenthal has a really good tutorial on youtube.
Soft boiled eggs in the other hand are a great example of sous vide cooking. Because we want both the white and the yolk cooked only enough to have a great soft consistency. So here is what I did:
01: Add water to container and set immersion circulator to 63°C
02: Wait until temperature is stable and add eggs.
03: cook eggs for an hour.
04: drop eggs in ice bath for 30 seconds.
05: serve. The eggs should slip off their shells.
There are tons of great references on sous vide cooking on the web if you are interested:
My all time favorite: