Sunday, August 29, 2010

Using Medium Eggs

We were sent the following note from a dear patron. You may find it useful:

I have been buying the Medium eggs for three years now, and I do not miss large eggs at all. After reading your note about your large egg shortage, I thought I 'd write up some notes about using medium eggs in recipes that are standardized for large eggs. I wanted to post this as a comment on the blog, but I didn't see any posts where an egg sizing guide comment would make any sense.

Standard recipes assume that large eggs are 50 grams each. If a recipe calls for 3 eggs, you want 150 grams of egg. A gram is a very tiny amount, so if you weigh 4 medium eggs and come up with 145 grams, or 160 grams, you still have the amount you want. I have found that Polyface Medium eggs average about 40 grams each. So for a recipe calling for 3 eggs (150 grams) four medium eggs (160 grams) is just right. For a recipe calling for 4 eggs (200 grams) I use 5 medium eggs (200 grams).

The tricky bit comes when the conversions aren't so close. If a recipe calls for 2 eggs (100 grams) do I want two mediums, or three (80 grams or 120 grams)? That depends on the recipe. For a custard or something that is supposed to be very eggy, like yorkshire pudding, go for 3 eggs. For breads, you can use 2 eggs. Or you can separate one egg and use the yolk, saving the white for another use.

The egg sizes in the mediums vary from about 36 grams to up to 45 grams, so if you want to be very accurate, you can use a kitchen scale. I like this one, which is not expensive and is very easy to use. When my scale suggests that I use half of an egg, I use the yolk because egg whites are easier to save.

When I first began using medium eggs, I weighed a lot of eggs! I found that if I want to weigh eggs without breaking them, I could assume that the egg shell weighs 10 grams. If you prefer to weigh your eggs in the shell, remember to subtract 10 grams for each egg:

recipes calls for 4 eggs (200 grams)
four medium eggs in the shell weigh 200 grams
subtract 40 grams, you have 160 grams of egg for your recipe, you need one more egg!

Polyface medium eggs are priced so reasonably that adding more egg to baking recipes is still an economical choice.

Egg white freeze beautifully! Everyone is worried about food safety right now, but eggs whites can be saved and re-used with a very high degree of safety. Separate your eggs while they are cold. The egg whites can be frozen in clean plastic containers with lids, or they can be frozen in ice-cube trays and transferred to plastic bags after they are frozen. They will keep up to three months this way. To thaw, move them to the refrigerator and leave them there over night. Do not thaw egg whites at room temperature. Thawed egg whites can be used in any recipe that cooks them to a temperature of 165 degrees or higher; they are perfect for baking. Omelets and scrambled eggs are not the best way to use them because these preparations typically leave some of the egg cooked soft - which means it hasn't reached a high enough temperature. Instead, use them in bread pudding, strada, cakes, breads, dinner rolls. I love angel food cake and I make one whenever I have 350-400 grams of egg whites.

Angel Food Cake:

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups egg whites
1 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup sugar (superfine is best but plain sugar works)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sifted cake flour (or all-purpose flour sifted x3)
3/4 cup sugar

10-inch tube pan, very clean, with "legs" so that it can be inverted after baking. You need the two-part type pan for this cake.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together 3/4 cups of sugar and the sifted flour. Be sure these are thoroughly blended.

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks just begin to form. Continue beating while adding the remaining 3/4 cups sugar, one spoonful at a time. Beat until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. By hand, fold in the sugar-flour mixture. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the mix at a time over the eggs and use a rubber spatula to gently combine.

Carefully scoop the batter into the tube pan and run the spatula through the batter to remove large air pockets. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until the cake is risen and brown and springs back when you lightly press it, about 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately invert the cake to cool upside down. Remove the cake from the pan when it has cooled completely.

Submitted by Trish
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