A Crackin' Good Time - The Right Way To Crack an Egg

If you want to absolutely destroy several cartons worth of eggs, you go ahead and throw a Parisian-themed bachelorette party complete with enough crème brûlée and quiche Lorraine for about twenty guests. Throw in a cherry clafoutis for good measure and you’ve easily cleared the entire hen house of its fruits.

The point here is this: I cracked a lot of eggs to cook for this party...
and successfully separated egg yolk from egg white with nary a speck of shell falling into either batch. This is by no accident. There is a right way (well, a better way) to crack an egg and a wrong (or less successful) way. 

The definitively wrong way? Firmly holding an egg in the palm of your hand and smashing it with a butter knife. If it sounds aggressive, well, it certainly looks aggressive. I knew a guy who actually cracked eggs that way. Sweetest, quietest guy you've ever met. But when he cracked eggs, he looked like he had rage disorder. And there was usually shell in his eggs. 

The more appropriate way of cracking an egg is hitting it against the edge of a bowl and letting it all spill out. But there’s a good chance shell is going along for the ride and arriving in your omelet. 

The best way to crack an egg is to simply tap the side of the egg on a flat surface (your counter typically) until dented and you hear a crack. All you need is one firm, but light tap. Then, holding the egg over the bowl, press your thumbs into the dent and swiftly pull apart, letting the egg fall into the bowl.

There’s a science to this egg-cracking business--something involving the geometry of the egg and a mechanical property called rigidity. We won’t talk physics though. That’s no fun. Imagine the hashtags: #biomechanics #appliedforce #loadsharing (#snore #EarthScienceWasEasier #whenislunch?).

But understand this! The weakest part of the egg is around its equator, or middle. The crystalline structure, composed of a substance similar to tooth enamel, with added support from an inner membrane made of collagen, makes the shell resistant to cracking. So to crack an egg without shattering it, all you need is a single, sharp smack against a hard surface, targeting the dead center of the egg. Hence, egg-cracking favors a flat surface. You’re more likely to apply just the right amount of force to just the right spot of the egg. Voila! Now go on and make something egg-y. I’ll be eating crème brûlée and quiche (I said I made enough for twenty guests; what I didn’t tell you is that I only invited seven! #leftovers #ImNoFool).

On a related note, there is only one way to eat a hard-boiled egg. Only one. And it’s the best way. I’ll let Faye Dunaway demonstrate.

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