Evaporation or Condensed Milk
May 25, 2009 5:50 AM   Subscribe

[RelationshipFilter]: Omelettes. Which is better to add to the eggs? I believe it's milk, and contend her family resorted to water as a result of poverty. What is the difference or is it just preference?
posted by Funmonkey1 to Food & Drink (39 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, the poverty comment is good old fashioned goofing, but I suspect there may be some history to it.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 5:53 AM on May 25, 2009

I use a splash of milk even though every source I've read says that water is better for the omelette texture. Milk or cream just feels luxurious, I guess. I readily acknowledge that I'm making an irrational choice.

That said, I've never noticed a huge difference either way, so if you're having fun arguing about this, why stop? But if you want truly luxurious eggs, try this.
posted by maudlin at 6:01 AM on May 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

The correct answer is "whatever the person eating the omelettte prefers." Anecdotally, I like to use a bit of milk because I think it makes the eggs fluffier; I have never heard of adding water to eggs.

Moreover, this is "CookingFilter," not "RelationshipFilter." If you intend to prove something to your girlfriend based on what a bunch of strangers on the Internet told you, I submit that you are seriously barking up the wrong tree.
posted by rkent at 6:02 AM on May 25, 2009

Water for omelettes, milk or cream for scrambled eggs.
posted by sid at 6:08 AM on May 25, 2009 [4 favorites]

I use neither!
posted by lunasol at 6:10 AM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Mastering the Art of French Cooking uses no liquid, which I understand to be classically French. Adding milk to eggs (ie liquid to turn to steam plus dairy fat) produces a different texture than water alone - water gives more fluff, milk produces a slightly heavier curd. The use of water or milk in an omelette or scrambled eggs is as likely to be cultural or a matter of training as a matter of money, as one tablespoon of milk is not exactly a bank-breaker.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:12 AM on May 25, 2009

The important thing is that you are cooking the omelette at high heat, thereby turning the water into steam. This will create a very fluffly, moist omelette. You should keep the omelette in the pan for a matter of seconds - you don't want it to brown at all.

This technique is, of course, for your classic French omelette.
posted by sid at 6:16 AM on May 25, 2009

I'm another one that uses neither...but then again my omelettes are true redneck omlettes, eggs + toppings boiled in a ziploc freezer baggie.
posted by Caravantea at 6:22 AM on May 25, 2009

No added fluids. And salt or other condiments added afterwards, not beforehand.
posted by ijsbrand at 6:23 AM on May 25, 2009

No added fluids for an omlet for me ... but Crème fraîche in the scrambled eggs. Mmmm.
posted by Comrade_robot at 6:29 AM on May 25, 2009

The classic french omelet, which is soft and luscious and without adornment of any kind, doesn't need the addition of either. (I hugely recommend trying Alton Brown's recipe, which is all about technique instead of ingredients. If you are used to big fluffy filled omelets, it will radically change the way you think of the dish. Some more AskMe discussion of omelet technique here.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:33 AM on May 25, 2009

Clarification. This isn't a question of money or not, it is something we have fun with. It does however impact breakfast in terms of seperate omelettes or to share the same one.

For the responders that point out poverty vs not, the question is not about that, and no offense is meant. It's a waking up on any day question that speaks towards the age old question of "what do you want for breakfast".

Personally, milk was the way forward, the significant other thinks water is best. We always joke, me usually the brunt of it, and then we laugh and have a really good day. Please don't turn something quite intended as tongue-in-cheek into a larger dynamic that doesn't exist.

It is indeed Relationship Filter. As in how to have a better breakfast together....
posted by Funmonkey1 at 6:40 AM on May 25, 2009

You haven't mentioned if you can tell any difference between the two.

If you can get the help of a friend you could do some testing. Have the friend make two omelettes, one with water and one with milk. Cut into pieces, let each of you try several pieces of both omelettes blind, look at the results. Or, if you think personal omelette-making skills are important, both make one water and one milk omelette each, then do the blind testing.
posted by bjrn at 6:59 AM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Omelettes are best made individually anyway, so why bother arguing? Each have it exactly the way you like.
posted by thread_makimaki at 7:09 AM on May 25, 2009

Actually, if it's just about taste preferences, you might want to give my redneck ones a try. Everyone can have an individual omlette, just the way they like it, and they're all done at the same time.

Boil large pot of water. Put two eggs in a freezer baggie (must be freezer baggie, a thinner plastic might melt) add any toppings you like, then boil for 13 minutes. They're not pretty, but they taste just as good, everyone gets just what they want, and everyone gets to eat at the same time without anyone's food going cold. And there's a lot less cleanup.
posted by Caravantea at 7:13 AM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

[few comments removed - OP: better word choice next time please?]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:27 AM on May 25, 2009

No milk, no water. Microwave. Seriously.

(Omelets and scrambled eggs are the only foods I know that come out better microwaved than really-cooked. Tidier, too.)
posted by rokusan at 7:31 AM on May 25, 2009

I prefer whole milk. But Nth on technique making all the difference in any egg-based dish.
posted by a halcyon day at 7:44 AM on May 25, 2009

'Nother note for Neither.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:53 AM on May 25, 2009

Hmm, another never either here. But lots of cheese. Some hard sharp parmesan whisked into the raw egg. Sharp cheddar and feta as a filling and very thin sliced provolone melted on top. Yes an egg optional omelet ;-)
posted by sammyo at 8:10 AM on May 25, 2009

Another purist here. Three eggs, lightly mixed (not whisked), a pinch of salt, fried in 30 seconds or so in a knob of butter in a searing hot pan.

The rest is just frou-frou nonsense!
posted by stenoboy at 8:27 AM on May 25, 2009

My preferred omelette takes no water and is thin and dense, like a crepe made with eggs, Japanese or French style, as you prefer. Two-to-three eggs whisked together, cooked in a very lightly-buttered pan, scraping back the edges as the eggs turn from translucent to solid, bunching in the middle. Toppings are striped down the middle and the whole transferred to the service plate folded. My preferred topping is fresh salsa.

In contrast, a fluffy omelette can can be made as one would make a soufflé; separate the eggs, whip the whites, blend the yolks with a bit of milk, then fold back into the whites. Cook the whole over low fires (taking much longer than the French style), then transferred to a plate unfolded. This style is excellent topped with fresh sharp cheese, such as an old cheddar, and can benefit from a minute or two under the broiler.

Two different styles of omelette, both good, though very different. I sure there are more.
posted by bonehead at 8:38 AM on May 25, 2009

It's simple: whoever makes it, makes it their own way. The other eats it that way.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:03 AM on May 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

What sid said - water is the classical method and what you find done in restaurants that take a generally classical approach. The idea is to turn the water to steam as soon as the batter hits the pan, lifting the protein strands in the egg and creating an airy texture.

The water in milk will do the same but will leave behind milk solids, which create a 'meatier,' heavier egg texture which some Americans do like, especially because we generally like to load up our omelettes with heavy fillings too, and the milk makes the eggs tougher and more likely to hold together.
posted by Miko at 9:05 AM on May 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

I like a really fluffy, dry omelette with no browning. I add kefir to the eggs instead of milk and let the mixture stand on the counter for half an hour before cooking. As the kefir warms up and begins to metabolize, it makes bubbles in the mixture like yeast in bread, and when you cook it, it rises like bread. I cook it slowly at low heat.

On the other hand, I've never found a recipe for a good relationship which included teasing about class differences in the list of ingredients.
posted by jamjam at 9:13 AM on May 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Perhaps her family used to watch the Frugal Gourmet. He said that using milk in your scrambled eggs makes them watery (i.e., makes liquid tend to seep out of the cooked eggs), so, he said, you should use water instead.
posted by Ery at 9:17 AM on May 25, 2009

Cook's Illustrated did a "remastered" French omelette recently and used butter. In the omelette, not just the pan. You know, so you can have a 3rd option.
posted by O9scar at 9:48 AM on May 25, 2009

I've used both. Prefer water. Water makes them light, fluffy and airy. That's more the classic/preferred method. Milk makes them more substantial and richer. Fine if you want a heavy meal, but most people think "fluffy" when it comes to omelettes.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:24 AM on May 25, 2009

I've been mixing cottage cheese and leftover quinoa in with my eggs before filling the pan and it produces a great tasting omelette that is fluffy and easy to cook "just right"....
posted by cinemafiend at 10:56 AM on May 25, 2009

I generally use neither, but you can add either to taste. One thing to note: the proteins in dairy can seize up under high heat, making the eggs noticeably tough. However, the proteins in eggs will do the same thing, and so beaten eggs, whether scrambled or as omelets, should be cooked over moderate heat at the most.

You can easily see this effect if you overcook scrambled eggs. The curds will noticeably weep water as the proteins seize tighter and tighter, squeezing out the water.
posted by ewagoner at 11:28 AM on May 25, 2009

In fact I would go the other way and take some water _out_. Eggs actually aren't just 'white' and 'yolk', there are two different consistencies of white - call them thin white and thick white. What you want for substantial egg dishes is the thick white. Crack your eggs into a fine strainer, and whatever falls through is thin white. Get rid of that and make your omelets with what's left. Fresher eggs (ideally from a farmer's market eggs) will have a much higher proportion of thick white. Old supermarket eggs may have next to none.
posted by Caviar at 11:52 AM on May 25, 2009

Chiming in: no milk or water, pan at high heat with a good coating of oil+butter, don't overbeat the eggs (just break up the yolks). Gives a denser and creamier omelette rather than something light and fluffy.

But of the two, I've only ever heard of people using milk.
posted by teresci at 1:13 PM on May 25, 2009

Would seltzer mixed with egg produce an omelette of unquestioned superiority in the fluff department?
posted by HotPatatta at 2:46 PM on May 25, 2009

I've never heard of adding water, and while I've heard of adding milk, I don't actually do it.
I just add lots of pre-fried veggies and cheese. But I'd make separate omelettes for each person anyway, to be the right size/ have the right filling...
In reality I usually just make fried eggs and mix it with veggies /etc after the fact. Seems faster & I like the yolk separate...
posted by mdn at 3:10 PM on May 25, 2009

Another vote here for 'neither'. I whisk the eggs well with a fork and grate a bit of cheese on top when the omlette is almost cooked, then fold over. Yum. If you're adding milk you're getting into the scrambled eggs category as far as I'm concerned.
posted by andraste at 4:12 PM on May 25, 2009

I use whole milk, or barring that half-and-half; I think it makes the eggs set up a little more easily than if nothing at all is used. I always assumed that doing them with nothing at all -- just eggs and whatever you want in the omlette -- was the "right" or more-hardcore way to do it, and adding the milk was sort of a cheater/insurance way of doing it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:22 PM on May 25, 2009

Preference. My mom made ours with milk, her sister who babysat us a lot made them with water. I use either or neither depending on what's in the fridge and how lazy I'm feeling.

If this is indeed Relationship Filter, the answer should be quit being such an annoying prick who has to go to the internet to prove that he's right. Make your girlfriend's omelette the way she likes it because you love her.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 6:50 PM on May 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

Presumably, Gordon Ramsay's Sublime Scrambled Eggs could be adapted to omelettery. Just add cheese, mushrooms, etc., at the end, in the place of the ludicrously rich crème frais he uses.
posted by Decimask at 7:28 PM on June 7, 2009

Any liquid will allow you to make the eggs a little bit fluffier. Water is sort of the standard, milk or cream are a little less effective at fluffing the eggs but add a certain richness. Vermouth or white wine also work and add a nice flavor which should be complemented with some fine herbs or whatever fresh herbs you have available. There is no "right" answer, it all depends upon what you prefer.

(as for Gordon Ramsay, I refuse to watch that pig.)
posted by caddis at 8:31 AM on June 10, 2009

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