Monday, September 10, 2018

Exploding egg whites—who knew?

I certainly never knew an egg could explode in my frying pan!

But that was just what happened to me this morning. I’ve cooked eggs for breakfast for years and never had such an experience. I’ve had eggs bubble up and pop and sputter in the pan, but this was different. It was positively explosive, even audibly. 


I like my eggs over-easy, but sometimes that causes the yolks to break. A broken yolk ruins my day, so I’ve begun covering the pan to allow the moisture of the egg to condense and essentially cook the yolk. Done right, the result is much like an over-easy egg, but guarantees the yolk remains in-tact. 

In this morning’s incident, just as soon as I picked up the lid, one of the eggs blew up, splattering onto the lid, spraying my upper arm, and on as well as around the stove. Oh, and the yolk was broken on one of the two eggs. The other was undaunted.

While I’m not accustomed to taking photos of dirty dishes, the picture at left, shows the remnants of my egg explosion. Some splattered in the pan, cooked by residual heat after I turned off the burner. There were portions of egg white on the counter and splattered onto the frying pan lid. The only thing not pictured was my arm where the bulk of the egg landed like shrapnel. I wiped it away quickly so I wouldn’t be burned.


What the heck happened?

My eggs were seemingly fresh, just purchased from a store that sells eggs from free-range chickens raised by local farmers.

One of the first things I did was to Google exploding eggs. Most problems with exploding eggs are associated with hard-boiled eggs in the microwave without puncturing the yolk to let the steam escape. That is a very different problem, since egg yolks condense when heated while egg whites expand. From what I can glean, this isn’t as unique as I thought. Simply, fresh eggs contain more moisture. The longer they sit, as do store-bought eggs, the more moisture is absorbed. I plan to exercise caution with my next breakfast adventure, including turning down the heat.

By the way, despite the broken yoke and somewhat unkempt egg white, breakfast was delicious.