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Breakfast Recipes Hand Picked Recipes How-To

Poach The Perfect Egg!

Learning how to make the perfect poached eggs is a cooking lesson every beginner needs. If you like your centre soft or hard, it’s all in your control once you’ve mastered the basics.


Poaching means to gently cook your ingredients through the heat of the liquid they are submerged in. It is one of the core cooking techniques that you’ll be able to apply to many dishes – it’s simple and super useful.

What is it?

In its most basic form, poaching is a type of moist-heat cooking. The items being cooked are partially or completely submerged in the cooking liquid and cooked very gently at a temperature between 75°C and 85°C. The liquid itself can add flavour to the foods being cooked in it. For example, you can poach using water, infused milk, spiced red wine or stock.

When poaching in water, it should be heated to just below a simmer. One way to tell your water is at the right temperature is to make sure you can see bubbles on the bottom of the pan but not so hot that they are rising to the surface.

Why it’s great

It is a method usually saved for foods that are delicate in flavour and/or structure, for example soft fruits, eggs, boneless chicken or fish. If you are looking for a method of cooking for a delicate dish then poaching is great. One example is if you were poaching a fillet of fish. Poaching is also considered a fairly lean method of cooking as it is rare for fats to be added during the cooking process.

As whatever you’re cooking is fully surrounded by the liquid, it’s a great opportunity to add flavour to the dish. For example, fish is often poached in milk, chicken poached in stock or fruit in wine. The trick is to add flavours that will complement the dish you are cooking. You can also use a liquid you’ve used to poach later in the recipe as this and make the most of the flavour imparted from the ingredient you were poaching.

Watch out

Once you have your water at the right temperature, make sure it doesn’t get too hot! If your water is boiling, whatever you are cooking will become either tough, or there will be too much movement in the pan and the delicate ingredient will break up – so make sure to keep an eye on it!

One disadvantage of this cooking method is that you cannot achieve any or much colour on the ingredient. Instead, the final result is often fairly pale looking. Unlike other methods such as frying, grilling, baking or roasting, the temperatures do not get high enough to create a golden-brown appearance from the browning of sugars or starches.


Author and Credits: SORTEDfood


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