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The humble poached egg – not just an Instagram favourite but a favourite brunch choice across the world.
They might taste great, but they can be tricky to get right, often ending up rock hard or completely underdone. Here are some tricks on how to nail poached perfection every time.
First things first – the fresher the egg the better the result so make sure you’re using the freshest eggs you can. They generally have the best flavour and the firmest whites - don’t be beaten before you’ve even started, it’s no yolking matter.
Get your water ready! Bring a pan to the boil and then turn down to a simmer. Next, add a splash of vinegar (apparently this helps stop the whites spreading) and then finally, stir the water so you get a whirlpool going on – this helps the whites to wrap round the yolk so it has a good shape.
You can’t just throw an egg in some water and hope for the best! Instead, crack eggs into individual cups or ramekins and then slowly tip them into your swirling water – dropping them in from too high the whites are more likely to go everywhere and you’ll lose your shape.
There is no hard and fast rule on this – everyone likes their eggs differently and it depends on the size of the egg. A good rule of thumb is to leave for 3-4 minutes for a medium poached egg (firm white and runny yolk) and around 2 minutes for a soft poached egg.
If no matter what you try you can’t seem to poach properly, try wrapping your eggs in lightly oiled cling film and then dropping them in the pan – they keep their shape and you can just snip off the cling film and unwrap the egg when they’re done – voila! Check this out for better instructions.
You can also use a microwave if you’re really struggling – crack your egg into a cup or bowl of water, cover and cook for a minute, then check if it’s done enough. See here for more information.