Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How to crack an egg

When I learned to cook, I was taught by my mother, and her mother, to crack an egg on the side of the bowl (or pan). Sometimes, with a particularly unstable bowl, the corner of the counter came into play.

So there I was having breakfast with a bunch of food professionals and the topic turned to how to crack an egg (I guess because we were all having eggs for breakfast). I was surprised to discover that half the folks there cracked eggs flat on a counter--the theory being that this way you minimize the shardage (ooh, I like that phrase).

This made me wonder how other people crack eggs, which is why I ran a little poll to see. It turns out that it's about 50-50, flat-crackers to rim-crackers.

Feeling a little like the last one to learn a secret, I decided to start flat-cracking. The method definitely cracks the shells in larger pieces that are less likely to fall into the bowl, but (and maybe because I'm not adept at it yet) it also left small pools of egg white on the counter.

I consulted Howard Helmer, who has the distinction of having been in the Guinness Book of World Records three times as the world's fastest omelet maker*. (I think he might also be in the book for being the most enthusiastic person in the world.) Here's what Howard explained:
When I'm on the road doing my omelet-making demonstrations, I put on 3 shows a day for three days, and for each show I crack three dozen eggs. That's 324 eggs!

For me, because I have to work so fast, cracking eggs flat on the counter slows me down (and what a mess it makes, too). So I'm an edge-of-the-pan/bowl man. I crack my eggs on the edge of a bowl two-at-a-time in both hands and I do it by bringing the eggs down to the lip of the bowl hard. The real trick is to not do the "wussy" rap, rap rap method, because then you're guaranteed to end up with unwanted eggshell shards.
Watch Howard making an omelet:

*427 omelets in 30 minutes


  1. He made it look soooo easy...mine always end up looking like a train wreck! Guess I need to practice more!! LOL

  2. Apparently, I just need to stop cracking mine like a wuss. :)