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Want more amazing sous vide recipes?

Enroll in Cooking Sous Vide: Beyond the Basics.

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{"activity_order":null,"activity_type":["Science"],"assignment_recipes":null,"author_notes":null,"cooked_this":0,"created_at":"2014-06-26T21:35:30Z","creator":null,"currently_editing_user":null,"description":"[fetchTool egg_timer]\n<br>\n<h2>Visual Doneness™ for Eggs</h2>\nWhen it comes to cooking (or anything, really), what could be more empowering than the knowledge that your efforts will yield awesome results? Part of our core philosophy at ChefSteps is that using superior predictive tools—in combination with great techniques and recipes—will help us all become better cooks. We’re throwing serious brain power behind that belief, and it’s with considerable excitement that we introduce you to our very first effort: a predictive calculator that allows you to precisely control the texture of your sous vide eggs. Developed by mathematician (and ChefSteps hire) Douglas Baldwin, the Egg Calculator gives precise temperatures and times for slow-cooking eggs to produce consistent results—a job no egg timer can do.\n\nBaldwin, the author of the indispensable [link http://www.douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vide.html <i>Sous Vide for the Home Cook</i>], was an early adopter of sous vide cooking, and over time, he has become one of the foremost experts on the subject. In the glory days of the sprawling culinary forum eGullet (see links under “Further Reading”), he was a sous vide guru to countless curious cooks, generously sharing his pioneering time-and-temperature tables, food safety tips, and other insights. Now Douglas brings his mathematical muscle to predictive-cooking projects that promise to revolutionize the way we cook.\n\nLet’s be clear: this new tool is possible only thanks to the groundbreaking egg-viscosity work of food scientist César Vega (more on that later). And simple as it looks, it took serious mathematics, not to mention some seriously messy viscosity trials, to develop a technology that allows users to achieve eggs of any desired texture. Want fudgy yolks and runny whites? Runny yolks and custardy whites? Jammy yolks and tender whites? Whatever you’re after, this tool can help you achieve it by determining the precise time and temperature needed to make your perfect consistency happen. **Below, we’ve shared the full story behind this exciting new invention,** so sit down and have a read if you like. Then get ready to cook up some killer eggs.","difficulty":"","featured_image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/g31NFxl2S1WXS1XFYAtm\",\"filename\":\"egg-calc-gallery.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":77632,\"key\":\"9Hs9RZBQwCZP0YHrI8gG_egg-calc-gallery.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","first_published_at":"2014-07-08T23:03:45Z","forks":[],"id":4172,"image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ybgAAVFYQZamHV45Bm8D\",\"filename\":\"egg-calc-hero-4a.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":97640,\"key\":\"8OAru7vUScKiA1BEFTjp_egg-calc-hero-4a.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","include_in_gallery":true,"last_edited_by_id":331276,"likes_count":797,"premium":false,"published":true,"published_at":"2014-07-08T23:03:45Z","short_description":"With sous vide, it’s easy to get eggs exactly how you like them. Use our Egg Calculator to find your perfect egg.","slug":"the-egg-calculator","source_activity_id":null,"source_type":0,"summary_tweet":"","timing":"","title":"The Egg Calculator","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","upload_count":7,"used_in":[],"vimeo_id":"","yield":"","youtube_id":"","tags":[{"id":33,"name":"sous vide","taggings_count":308},{"id":1322,"name":"predictive cooking","taggings_count":1}],"equipment":[],"ingredients":[],"steps":[{"activity_id":4172,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-07-10T16:38:30Z","directions":null,"extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":113225,"image_description":null,"image_id":null,"is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":0,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"##Egg Textures:<br>The Road to Prediction","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","vimeo_id":null,"youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":4172,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-07-10T16:38:30Z","directions":"<b>(1)</b> If you are chilling the egg in ice water (rather than serving immediately), do so for at least eight minutes to ensure that the yolk doesn’t continue thickening due to “carry-over cooking.”\n<br>\n<br>\n<b>(2)</b> If you reheat the egg, heat it to between [c 55] and [c 60]. This will ensure your yolk thickens very slowly while keeping your egg safe and tasty.","extra":null,"hide_number":null,"id":113226,"image_description":null,"image_id":null,"is_aside":true,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":1,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Two things to remember when creating your perfect egg:","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","vimeo_id":null,"youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":4172,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-07-10T16:38:30Z","directions":"In the United States, there are three consumer grades for eggs: AA, A, and B. Grade As are the ones you’re most likely to run across in the grocery aisle. Eggs are graded based on the interior quality of the egg, plus the appearance and condition of the shell. Eggs of any grade will differ in weight and size. This tool works for grades AA or A.\n\nHere’s how they break down: \n\n**US Consumer Grade AA**: Whites are firm and thick, while yolks are round and nearly free of defects. These eggs have clean, uniform shells.\n\n**US Consumer Grade A**: Whites are “reasonably” firm and the yolks are, again, practically free of defects, while the shells are clean and uniform. \n\n**US Consumer Grade B**: The whites of grade B eggs are often thinner, and the yolks tend to be wider and flatter. The shells can be lightly stained. \n\nYou won’t find grade B eggs at fancy grocery stores—though they do show up at discount food shops—and you can’t use them with our egg tool. Or, rather, you <i>can</i>, but your results won’t be as reliable due to the smaller amount of protein in these eggs. \nTo learn more about the grading system, check out this [link http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3022056 useful USDA document], which we consulted to create the sidebar you have just now finished reading.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":113227,"image_description":null,"image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/TwwVmIJORu2Tp3ortkpL\",\"filename\":\"MK3_9341.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":2034170,\"key\":\"vH0EpErSMWjC07iNagaY_MK3_9341.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","is_aside":true,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":2,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"Grades matter.","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","vimeo_id":null,"youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":4172,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-07-10T16:38:30Z","directions":"Everyone has an opinion about eggs. Sit them down at a diner and even the most indifferent eaters will debate whether eggs taste best scrambled or rolled up in an omelet, soft-boiled or poached, fried over easy or sunny side up. And while eggs are among the most common, least expensive, and best-loved foods in the world, cooking them properly can be a confounding exercise. The tricky part comes in achieving desirable textures in both the yolk—which contains vitamins, minerals, and a good amount of fat and protein—and the whites—which are made mostly of water, plus protein and tiny amounts of minerals, fatty acids, and glucose. When heated, the whites will set first. The yolk, meanwhile, gels softly, becoming more and more firm as it heats.\n\nOver the centuries, cooks have found many ways to work around this textural conundrum, but consistency has always been an issue. A breakthrough came in the early aughts, when Parisian food chemist Hervé This (pronounced “Tiss”) popularized the 65 °C egg. Cooked slowly at that temperature, the egg’s white will coagulate but the yolk will not, so the former will have a smooth, custardy appearance and the latter will be soft but not runny. Once the internal temperature of the egg reaches that of the surrounding water, argued This, the cooking time does not further impact the texture of the egg—it will be the same after, say, four hours at 65 degrees Celsius as it was after one. Eggs cooked to around 65 degrees soon started showing up at high-end restaurants all over the world. Wylie Dufresne used a 64-degree egg to create his deconstructed [link http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/05/dining/reviews/05rest.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& eggs Benedict], for instance. Order a caesar salad at Lunchbox, Bryan Voltaggio’s casual sandwich spot in Frederick, Maryland, and it will arrive with a hen’s egg cooked at precisely 63 degrees. It seems that every chef has a very particular favorite temperature for slow-cooked eggs.\n\nIn 2011, an article appeared in the journal *Food Biophysics* that debunked the notion that prolonged cooking wouldn’t change the egg’s textures. Its author, food scientist César Vega, tested 66 different time-and-temperature combinations to discover whether even small variations in cook time would impact viscosity. His findings revealed that, in fact, the viscosity of an egg yolk increased linearly with time—meaning that it is possible to *predict* the texture of the egg based on temperature and time. To make this information useful to chefs, Vega offered qualitative comparisons of the viscosities of eggs cooked at various times and temperatures to the viscosities of common foods—from fluffy whipping cream all the way to Marmite, the gravelly yeast spread New Zealanders and the British eat on toast. Chefs could use those tools to customize the viscosity of their eggs more precisely than ever before.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":113228,"image_description":null,"image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/Po0BK1x7STK7XzlpEs1p\",\"filename\":\"MK3_9368.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":1149891,\"key\":\"BDdDg7qKTYy1aqvpbwPl_MK3_9368.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":3,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"The Egg Conundrum: Early Developments","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","vimeo_id":null,"youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":4172,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-07-10T16:38:30Z","directions":"Douglas Baldwin’s first experiments with egg textures began back in the eGullet days, when he developed tables to help forum members who weren’t satisfied with the yolk and white textures they were getting using slow-cooking methods. The tables were helpful, and he saw potential for further development in the field of predictive cooking.\n\nTo create a truly predictive algorithm, Douglas first turned to the numerical heating model he’d developed using mathematical methods similar to those he’d employed to model shock waves for his PhD thesis. Baldwin says previous heating models he’d seen assumed the surface temperature of the egg was equal to the surface temperature of the bath. In fact, it takes time for surface to come up to the temperature of the water, which Baldwin’s numerical scheme takes into account. It also accounts for whether you’re cooking your egg with an immersion circulator—which moves the water around as the egg cooks—or using a Sous Vide Supreme or pot on the stove—which keeps the water relatively still.\n\nOnce he had a good heating model, Baldwin set about figuring out how to quantitatively determine the viscosity of the egg yolks in a mathematically precise manner. Inspired by Vega’s landmark research, he determined a viscosity scale using foods like Hershey’s syrup, ready-made frosting, and pudding. Then he cooked 18 large grade AA, 12 jumbo grade AA, and 12 medium grade AA eggs at different times and temperatures, and, using his fingers, compared the viscosities.\n\nTrials completed (and kitchen cleaned), Baldwin had an algorithm that could tell users the *precise* times and temperatures to use to achieve the exact yolk and white textures they desired. But it occurred to him: What would users do with the egg once it was cooked? Would they take it out of the water right away and eat? Would they plunge it into an ice bath and then leave it there for a few minutes? Even in the ice bath, he knew, the egg would continue to cook for a while. So he developed a way to adjust the time and temperature to account for this difference.\n\nEnter ChefSteps. Like Douglas Baldwin and César Vega, we spend a lot of our time thinking about how to account for the nonlinear way that heat behaves in the kitchen. In fact, we’re completely fascinated by the complexities of heat transfer and a little obsessed with finding ways to simplify them for everyday cooks. Our team of scientists, software engineers, designers, and chefs teamed up with Douglas to apply his intricate algorithms to a simple, user-friendly web app. We filmed hundreds of outcomes and implemented them in a visual interface for a two-step “calculator” (with three supplementary steps for fine-tuning), and voilà: the ChefSteps Egg Calculator was born. The app will adjust time and temperature depending on how you want your egg, and—talk about worry-free cooking—whether you want to serve it now or later.\n\nSo grab a dozen eggs and start playing around with this new tool. We can’t wait to hear what you think.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":113229,"image_description":null,"image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/HP2CZsZTSze5MvfOeiHL\",\"filename\":\"MK3_9369.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":1329468,\"key\":\"Sq9Z1VYtRUaAVwRHTPv4_MK3_9369.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":4,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"The ChefSteps Egg Calculator","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","vimeo_id":null,"youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":4172,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-07-10T16:38:30Z","directions":"There are actually two parts to an egg white, and often the outer white—the section outside the membrane—won’t fully coagulate during cooking. Most of us like our eggs free of watery, goopy bits, which the slots in the spoon drain out handily. Simply lift your slow-cooked egg with a slotted spoon, drain the unwanted bits, and serve.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":113230,"image_description":"Slotted Spoon","image_id":"{\"url\":\"https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/QtMKu17eTOOvFKpQ1Nu7\",\"filename\":\"SPOON.jpg\",\"mimetype\":\"image/jpeg\",\"size\":3734933,\"key\":\"I0mbz9nZRyiDHW93Mkz3_SPOON.jpg\",\"container\":\"chefsteps-production\",\"isWriteable\":true}","is_aside":true,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":5,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"CHEF’S TIP: Use a slotted spoon.","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","vimeo_id":null,"youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":4172,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-07-10T16:38:30Z","directions":"Our work on the Egg Calculator is just one contribution to the growing field of predictive cooking. We’re already hard at work on other solutions for predictive algorithms, but here are some researchers who are doing important work on the egg.\n\nOur pal Kenji over at Serious Eats has an [link http://www.seriouseats.com/2013/10/sous-vide-101-all-about-eggs.html in-depth article] on slow-cooked eggs, with photographs that show their viscosity at various times and temperatures. \n\nRead about the groundbreaking egg-related research that César Vega and co-author Ruben Mercadé-Prieto published in [link http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11483-010-9200-1 <i>Food Biophysics</i>], or pick up a copy of [link http://www.amazon.com/The-Kitchen-Laboratory-Reflections-Perspectives/dp/0231153449 <i>The Kitchen as Laboratory: Reflections on the Science of Food and Cooking</i>], edited by César Vega, Job Ubbink, and Erik van der Linden.\n\nThis widely read [link http://blog.khymos.org/2009/04/09/towards-the-perfect-soft-boiled-egg/ 2009 blog post] from Martin Lersch offers lots of insights into the science and history of developing the perfect soft-boiled egg. The article introduced many chefs and scientists to Vega’s work. \n\nTo check out Douglas’s groundbreaking eGullet work, start with the [link http://douglasbaldwin.com/sous-vide.html#Figure_4.1 “egg matrix,”] move on to his [link http://egullet.org/p1778348 initial egg calculations], then proceed to his improved calculations—found [link http://egullet.org/p1783864 here] and [link http://egullet.org/p1910741 here].\n\nOur friends Alex and Aki at [link http://blog.ideasinfood.com Ideas in Food] have also worked tirelessly to perfect sous vide eggs, including the [c 75], 13-minute egg detailed in their first cookbook.","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":113231,"image_description":null,"image_id":null,"is_aside":null,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left"},"step_order":6,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"##Further Reading","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","vimeo_id":null,"youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]},{"activity_id":4172,"audio_clip":null,"audio_title":null,"created_at":"2014-07-10T16:38:30Z","directions":"[fetchActivity 75-c-egg]\n\n[fetchActivity hazelnut-ragout-pappardelle]\n\n[fetchActivity perfect-yolks]\n\n[fetchActivity carrots-and-perfect-yolk]\n\n[fetchActivity hollandaise]","extra":null,"hide_number":true,"id":113232,"image_description":null,"image_id":null,"is_aside":false,"presentation_hints":{"aside_position":"left","width":"wide"},"step_order":7,"subrecipe_title":null,"title":"##Get inspired:<br>Other sous vide egg ideas.","transcript":null,"updated_at":"2017-01-12T00:17:03Z","vimeo_id":null,"youtube_id":null,"ingredients":[]}]}

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