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The great boiled egg dispute


If there’s one question that really divides the cooking industry, says Guy Kelly in The Daily Telegraph, it’s how to boil an egg. Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay drop theirs into boiling water for five minutes, but Nigella Lawson starts hers in cold water, brings it to the boil for one minute, then turns the heat off. (She also puts a matchstick in the pan to stop any white escaping a cracked shell – something to do with the phosphorus in the match head).

The British Egg Industry Council – “the authority on all things eggy” – also starts with the egg in cold water. Once it’s boiling, leave it three minutes for a “really soft-boiled yolk”, four minutes for a “slightly set yolk”, and five minutes for a firmer yolk. They also advise spinning the egg to see if it’s ready: if it wobbles, the yolk and white are still “somewhat liquefied”; if it spins in place, it’s fully cooked. But it’s all subjective. The average time of the recipes I looked at was three and a half minutes, but the longest was 11, “which I’m fairly sure would result in an egg you could play 18 holes with”.