Egg Separating Techniques That Will Save You Time and Money
When separating eggs your goal is to remove as much of the white from the yolk as you can without damaging the yolk (and thus getting yolk in your white). Other than getting the most out of each part of the egg there are some concerns that having any yolk in your white will reduce the white’s ability to form meringue (see “Meringue and fat” below).
The following details and articles should help you get started.
Using the shell
The basic technique shown in every home cooking demo. You crack the egg into two half-shells and use them as two cups passing the yolk from cup to cup until most of the white is removed. This is a great method when you don’t want to dirty a lot of dishes and you don’t have that many eggs to separate.
Good for separating a few eggs
No additional dishes to wash
Can be accurate with little to no loss of whites or yolks
Risk puncturing the yolk with the shell
Using your hands
Our egg separating method of choice. Whether cracking the egg into your hand and letting the white fall into a bowl or cracking into a bowl and picking up the yolk this method allows you to move quickly and get the best separation.
Good for volume
Can get an exceptionally thorough separation of the white from the yolk
Exposure of the egg white and yolk to your hands
For high volumes of eggs rigor must be applied to your workflow in order to reduce risk of getting yolk in your whites.
If you have a specialized tool and you love it our only recommendation is that master the two methods listed here. Your best M.O. as a chef is to have the skillset to work as lean as possible and master common toolsets found in kitchens. That means having the ability to do most of your work without specialized tools.
Meringue and fat
There is some convincing informal research surrounding the impact of fat on the creation of a good meringue (link below) . Take a look at the following article on Serious Eats and draw conclusions for yourself. For our purposes you should ensure that there is no yolk in your whites when you are making meringues.
What to do with extra yolks and whites
You are learning a number of skills as you grow your proficiency. Three that come into play here are planning, resourcefulness, and delight. What can you do with your extra whites and yolks?
- Make something with the extra yolks or whites that you can eat or share (buttercream to use of store for later use, custard, meringues, egg white omelets)
- Store them for later use (in the fridge or by freezing)
- Where possible plan your menus to incorporate the whole of your fresh ingredients
Whites can be frozen as-is and, when thawed, they will work as if they were fresh. It is best to use these for things that will be cooked like cakes, butter creams, and cookies.
Cooks magazine describes how mixing a small portion of sugar syrup (2:1, Sugar:Water) with your yolks at 3/4 teaspoon per 4 large yolks will stabilize the yolks for succesful freezing and thawing.