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Is there a better way to crack an egg?
March 24, 2009 6:24 AM   Subscribe

Is there a better way to crack an egg?

Every morning I fry myself up an egg. I crack it open on the edge of the pan and inevitably, a little bit of the yolk dribbles down the side on to the cooktop. Is there some egg-cracking skill my mom never taught me?
posted by Zoyashka to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't crack it on the edge of the pan, crack it on the flat countertop.
posted by amro at 6:26 AM on March 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


Also, there are a ton of how to's if you google "how to crack an egg."
posted by amro at 6:27 AM on March 24, 2009


I do it like this; if you're quick, it doesn't dribble.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:29 AM on March 24, 2009


I hold the egg in the palm of my hand and wack it with a knife (heavier, sharper ones work the best).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:29 AM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crack it on the flat of the pan, not the edge.
posted by bcwinters at 6:31 AM on March 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Amro (and everyone else that said crack it on a flat surface) has this right...if you crack it on a flat surface not only are you preventing the yolk from dripping down your cookwear, but you are no longer introducing whatever was on your cookwear into your egg. This is more of an issue in busy breakfast restaurants than in your kitchen, but that is another reason to crack eggs on flat surfaces.
posted by schyler523 at 6:37 AM on March 24, 2009


Again, crack flat on the countertop; cracking it on the edge gets gross shell bits in your eggs and causes a mess and is just terrible.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:37 AM on March 24, 2009


Doesn't cracking it on a flat surface make all kinds of tiny shell parts that fall off? Or am I doing something wrong?
posted by jwells at 6:43 AM on March 24, 2009


Don't crack it anywhere. Tap it lightly on the edge of the pan to dent the surface without actually breaking through to the liquid, then pull apart with your thumbs over the pan.
posted by fire&wings at 6:50 AM on March 24, 2009 [12 favorites]


I'd nth the flat surface technique. Never had a problem breaking the yolk or getting egg shell bits everywhere that way, possibly by only hitting it hard enough to crack, not to actually dent it at all.

Also, the knife method works well, as you break the shell very cleanly, and the break is held upside, so as to stop it from dribbling any albumen.
posted by opsin at 6:55 AM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I whack with knife too.
posted by schwa at 6:55 AM on March 24, 2009


I hold the egg in the palm of my hand and wack it with a knife (heavier, sharper ones work the best).

Oh, EndsofInvention and Schwa, I'm glad I'm not the only one! People be looking at me like I'm tripping when I'm cooking them breakfast.

This one has the advantage that unless the egg is very, very old,* it's almost impossible to accidentally break the yolk. If I'm scrambling I'll crack them any old way, but if I want sunny-side up or I'm dividing yolks and whites for baking, this is the best way to do it.

*As the egg ages, the vitelline membrane that encases the yolk weakens, and becomes easier and easier to break.
posted by Juliet Banana at 6:58 AM on March 24, 2009


You also may want to try different brands or types of eggs. I've noticed distinct differences in how well certain types crack over others. The standard big-store white eggs seem to crack easier than the organic brown ones from Whole Foods. I'm not sure why.
posted by odinsdream at 7:00 AM on March 24, 2009


Doesn't cracking it on a flat surface make all kinds of tiny shell parts that fall off? Or am I doing something wrong?

I also don't get the 'crack it on a flat surface' thing. For hard-boiled eggs sure, but raw eggs?

I crack it on the edge of the pan or counter, but it doesn't go all the way through the membrane into the part of the egg that I'm going to eat. It just puts a crack in it, so that I can open it up with my thumbs over the pan.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:03 AM on March 24, 2009


The standard big-store white eggs seem to crack easier than the organic brown ones from Whole Foods. I'm not sure why.

The shells of the organic eggs are thicker, due to less stress on the chickens and a better diet. (That might be just rhetoric, but it makes some sense.)

Personally, I'm an edge-of-the-counter cracker. And quick, to avoid drips while traveling to the pan.
posted by wg at 7:18 AM on March 24, 2009


Regardless of what surface you strike the egg on (or strike the egg with), there is an issue of strength. If you strike too hard, you get a mess. The goal is to create cracks in the shell and then pull the shell apart into two pieces. One problem with a thin edge is that it doesn't take very much power to break right through the shell, shoving pieces of shell into the egg, which are hard to get out. Another problem is that it's very easy to break all the way through the shell on one side without so much as a crack on the other, resulting in egg dripping onto the surface (though using a knife to crack the top edge fixes this part of the problem) as well as difficulty in pulling the shell apart (because there's no crack on the other side). Also, if the edge pushes into the egg, or the yolk tries to drip out the small opening, the yolk can break. I switched from using edges to flat surfaces myself a few years ago. Using a flat surface took a little getting used to because I was afraid I would just make a big mess on the table. But while I have occasionally (not recently, though) struck it slightly too hard and got some dribble (not much), I've never actually gone and blown open the shell (the sticks together pretty well under blunt trauma, which is sort of the point). Also, when I'm too timid, I'm usually able to get a second strike without disaster.
posted by ErWenn at 7:19 AM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]



The shells of the organic eggs are thicker, due to less stress on the chickens and a better diet.


No, we give our hens a calcium supplement, and in the weeks when they go without their eggs noticably weaken. Last time we sort of had to back down as they were becoming almost unbreakable, and then after holding back a little over winter due to fewer layings, the eggs had gotten to the papier mache stage again...
posted by opsin at 7:23 AM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


methinks the crack-on-flat-surface may also have something to do with avoiding salmonella contamination from the egg shell surface into the cooking egg ... J
posted by jannw at 7:24 AM on March 24, 2009


Count me among those who crack without breaking the membrane, and then pry. Any surface will do, but I prefer an edge.

I might have to give the knife method a whack, so to speak.
posted by owtytrof at 7:42 AM on March 24, 2009


I used to literally makes omelets nonstop at my old cafeteria job. There were days I made over a hundred easy.
The trick is a quick, precise hit to the lip of the pain, lift the egg, and quickly open up the egg with your thumb to let the yolk out. The idea is not to do it too softly so you just create a hairline fracture. Do it to hard and the yolk will splurt out on you. Just right enough oomph at the right angle.

methinks the crack-on-flat-surface may also have something to do with avoiding salmonella contamination from the egg shell surface into the cooking egg

Interestingly enough, precisely due to this, we were forced by the health inspector to crack our eggs into a second dish, and then transfer it to the pan. Nevermind that if shell bits did crack into the second dish, that they'd probably transfer into the pan.
posted by jmd82 at 8:29 AM on March 24, 2009


Good one-handed egg cracking video.
posted by cda at 8:58 AM on March 24, 2009


I like cracking mine one-handed on the edge of something, because I saw it on TV when I was little and my mom let me make scrambled eggs and muffins and such whenever I wanted! so that I could practice. If you do it fast, you don't get drips.

If you do get shell bits into your cracked egg, using another piece of shell to scoop it up works like a charm.

Yes, my mom was indeed deviously taking advantage of my sudden interest in egg-cracking to get me to cook.
posted by desuetude at 11:35 AM on March 24, 2009


The one-handed trick is indeed fun, and not too hard to learn. Though it isn't fundamentally different than doing it with two hands, just a little trickier.
posted by ErWenn at 8:04 PM on March 26, 2009


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