We’ve had laying hens for years. Eggs from your own chickens are the best thing in the world. They’re fresh and rich, the yolks are creamy yellow and the whites are thick.
But the one bad thing about fresh eggs is they’re nearly impossible to peel when you hard boil them. We’ve tried every trick under the sun, all guaranteed to produce easy to peel eggs, and every one has failed. We always ended up spending minutes per egg, prying the shells off in tiny pieces and taking chunks of white with them.
Until yesterday that is. We finally found a method that worked. We hard-boiled 3 eggs, very fresh eggs, gathered this weekend. And they peeled like a dream, large chunks of shell coming off at once leaving the whites smooth and intact behind. Amazing.
Here’s the technique, from Cooks Illustrated.
Bring 1 inch of water to a rolling boil in a pan. If you have a pan with a steamer, put the eggs in the steamer and put the steamer in the pan. Otherwise lower the eggs carefully into the boiling water. Cover the pan, turn the heat to medium-low, and set a timer for 13 minutes.
After 13 minutes put the eggs in an ice bath for 15 minutes to stop the cooking. After 15 minutes you can peel the eggs, or put them in the refrigerator to peel later.
According to Cooks Illustrated the method works because starting the eggs in hot water or steam causes the membrane separating the white from the shell to draw away from the shell, making them easy to peel.