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How to separate eggs

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Breaking eggs

Separating eggs is one of the most basic skills that a baker should have. There are many recipes for baked goods, including cakes and souffles, that require eggs to be separated. And it’s handy to know if you just want to whip up an egg white omelette for breakfast, as well. This is also a skill that can take a little bit of practice to master if you want to get cleanly separated whites and yolks, without bits of egg shell, every time.

I put together a little photo tutorial to help provide a visual of exactly how I separate eggs.

Breaking eggs 1

First, break the egg against a flat surface, such as the counter top. Breaking an egg on the side of a bowl can push pieces of shell inside of the egg – and those pieces can end up in your bowls. You don’t want to smash the egg, but you should use enough force to put a good dent in the egg shell. If you don’t break it quite enough, you can always give it another tap.

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Poke your thumbs into the flattened part of the egg shell and gently pull it apart. Do this over a bowl, so that you can allow the egg white to fall out (while keeping the yolk in the egg shells) into the bowl.

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Gently transfer the egg yolk back and forth between the shell haves once or twice, to loosen the rest of the egg white, then drop the yolk into a second bowl.

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If you are separating a lot of eggs, it is a good idea to do your separating over a third bowl just in case one of the egg yolks breaks over the bowl of egg whites. Once your eggs are separated, you can use them for any application you need. Remember to bring the whites to room temperature before whipping them. Unused whites and yolks can also be stored until you need them.

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  • Jane
    April 20, 2012

    Nice tutorial! Another thing some bakers don’t know is that the easiest way to get little broken bits of shell out of the bowl is to use the broken shell itself to scoop it out. Works like magic compared to trying to get those stray bits out with your fingers. Also, I find it easier to separate eggs cleanly if the eggs are not cold to start with; I put them in a bowl of very warm water for a few minutes to take the chill off before cracking and separating them.

  • Tiernan PaulinRae
    April 23, 2012

    good tutorial, could you make one for cracking eggs with one hand? ive seen chefs do it and it would be really useful to know how to do it, but anyways thanks for this tutorial.

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