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Foods -- Eggs

How are eggs safely cooked?

Rating: 80

Cooking whole eggs for use in recipes. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the eggs and either sugar, water or other liquid from the recipe (at least 1/4 cup sugar, liquid or a combination per egg). Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the egg mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film or reaches 160 F. Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the egg mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe. Cooking egg yolks for use in recipes. Because egg yolks are a fine growth medium for bacteria, cook them for use in mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, chilled souffle, chiffons, mousses, and other recipes calling for raw egg yolks. The following method can be used with any number of egg yolks. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the egg yolks and liquid from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons liquid per yolk). Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the yolk mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film, bubbles at the edges or reaches 160 F. Immediately place the saucepan in ice water and stir until the yolk mixture is cool. Proceed with the recipe. Cooking egg whites for use in recipes. Cooking egg whites before use in all recipes is recommended for full safety. The following method can be used with any number of whites and works for chilled desserts as well as Seven-Minute Frosting, Royal icing and other frosting recipes calling for raw egg whites. In a heavy saucepan, the top of a double boiler, or a metal bowl placed over water in a saucepan, stir together the egg whites and sugar from the recipe (at least 2 tablespoons sugar per egg white), water (1 teaspoon per white) and cream of tartar (1/8 teaspoon per each 2 egg whites). Cook over low heat or simmering water, beating constantly with a portable mixer at low speed, until the whites reach 160 F. Pour into a large bowl. Beat on high speed until the whites stand in soft peaks. Proceed with the recipe. Remember that you must use sugar to keep the whites from coagulating too rapidly. Test with a thermometer as there is no visual clue to doneness. If you use an unlined aluminum saucepan, eliminate the cream of tartar or the two will react and create an unattractive gray meringue. Making an Italian meringue by adding hot sugar syrup to egg whites while beating them does not bring the egg whites to much above 125 F and is not recommended except for dishes that are further cooked. However, if you bring the sugar syrup all the way to the hardball stage (250 to 266 F), the whites will reach a high enough temperature. You can use a sugar syrup at hardball stage for Divinity and similar recipes.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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