Seeing as it’s World Egg day in October, I thought I’d try and find the best way to poach an egg. Yup, I know it’s not even February yet but a good poached egg takes time to perfect.

It seems everyone has their own little trick to poaching eggs, and I think it really says something if something so simple can be so darn technical.

Here are the top 4 ways I’ve found works best for poaching an egg:

With all of these eggs. I brought the water to a boil, turned off the heat, and put in the egg. No silly swirling/bog-washing of eggs- if they’re fresh, they’ll stay together.

Sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous.
Sometimes a little knowledge is dangerous.

 

The Vinegar method:

Meet your classic poached egg. I'm quite fond of the egg not looking "too" perfect, so this is my usual way of making it
Meet your classic poached egg. I’m quite fond of the egg not looking “too” perfect, so this is my usual way of making it

Method: Add a tablespoon of vinegar to an egg in a ramekin and swirl slightly so that there’s a layer of vinegar around the egg.

The trick with this is to get the egg surrounded from all sides
The trick with this is to get the egg surrounded from all sides

Time: approx. 5:30 min

  • Taste: 8/10
  • Simplicity: 7/10
  • Appearance: 7/10

Special equipment/ingredients: vinegar

Extra comments: It works because the vinegar reacts with the egg white and starts to change its proteins, which basically means that it starts to cook the egg so that when you add it to the hot water it will retain its shape better.

 

The Heston method:

This tastes pretty darn good, and there is a definite feeling of accomplishment that goes with making this.
This tastes pretty darn good, and there is a definite feeling of accomplishment that goes with making this.

Method: Ok, here we go!

  1. Fill your saucepan with about 5-7cm of water.
  2. Put in an upside down plate (this keeps the egg from touching the bottom), add some salt.
  3. Bring water to 80°C.
  4. Crack open a fresh egg (the fresher the better), strain with a slotted spoon to get rid of the spindly/watery bits.
  5. Put the egg into your 80°C water (on the plate), and keep the water at constant temperature.
  6. Cook for approximately 4 minutes.

Time: Approx. 4 minutes

  • Taste: 9/10
  • Simplicity: 4/10
  • Appearance: 8/10

Special equipment/ingredients: Thermometer (R75)

Extra comments: This method gives a lot of flavour because by cooking “low and slow”, you keep more of the flavour in and unadulterated by the hot temperatures.

 

The Poaching Pod method:

Looks more like a sailor's hat than breakfast...
Looks more like a sailor’s hat than breakfast…

Method: Super simple – lubricate poach pod, put in egg, and cook.

I must admit that getting the same (exact) results every time does have it's charms.
I must admit that getting the same (exact) results every time does have it’s charms.

Time: Approx. 4:30 min

  • Taste: 7/10
  • Simplicity: 9/10
  • Appearance: 9/10

Special equipment/ingredients: Poaching pod (R110 for set of  2)

Extra comments: I found that egg didn’t cook very evenly through so although it’s very easy to use, it doesn’t give me as much control over the cooking as I’d like  – While some parts where very cooked, there was still runny white bits.

Egg horror movie.
Egg horror movie.

 

The Sous Vide Method:

Like a yummy dumpling.
Like a yummy dumpling.

Method: Place cling film in a ramekin, lubricate, add egg, pinch closed and cook.

Yes. This is what it looks like.
Yes. This is what it looks like.
I only realised after this would have been an awesome photo if it wasn't focused on the knife.
I only realised after, that this would have been an awesome photo if it wasn’t perfectly focused on the knife.

Time: Approx. 5:20 min

  • Taste: 9/10
  • Simplicity: 7/10
  • Appearance: 9/10

Special equipment/ingredients: Cling film

Extra comments: To be honest, this just looks great to me and I had as much control as I could ever want over how much heat got to the egg.

 

Results:

All in all, it comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for:

  • Quick, easy and delicious, go for the Sous Vide.
  • Sciency and yum, go for Heston’s method.
  • Perfectly shaped every time, go for the Poaching Pods.
  • Simple but still tastes really good, go for the vinegar method.