Superfast scrambled eggs

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Miss Silvia is full of surprises! She’s been around the house for a year, but only now did she reveal one of her hidden capabilities. Did you know that you can make scrambled eggs with the steam wand of your espresso machine? Me neither. It’s a brilliant idea and one can wonder why no one has done this before. I mean, espresso machines have been around for a while. And as it turns out – according to Kelly’s comment below this was done in San Francisco back in the 90′s. It seems as if the credits for rediscovering these scrambled eggs should go to Chef Jody Williams (and thanks to Jessica at FoodMayhem for posting this). I’ve tried it several times and it works very well. I’d even say that this gives you another reason to purchase an espresso machine with a proper steam wand! Many other reasons can be found in my first post about Miss Silvia.

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This is how I make the scrambled eggs: I crack 3 eggs in a 600 mL pitcher (normally used for steaming milk) and press the steam button on my Rancilio. After approx. 10 seconds I empthy the wand of water and wait for another 30 seconds to allow pressure to build up before I start steaming the eggs. Notice that I didn’t even whisk the eggs with a fork – the whirling effect of the steam wand is strong enough to get the eggs properly mixed. With my Miss Silvia it takes about 50 seconds before the steam breaks through to the surface. The eggs actually set in the pitcher and I used a spoon to scoop the eggs out and put them on a plate. Scroll to the end of the post for a video illustrating the whole process.

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Make sure you clean the steam wand very well after using it for eggs. The best way of softening the protein residues is to immerse the steam wand in cold water.

I have tried to add a little milk to 3 eggs before steaming, but interestingly I wasn’t able to get this mixture to set properly. I say interestingly, because even though the scrambled eggs failed I figured that steaming perhaps could be a good way of preparing custards. Holding the pitcher one has pretty good control of the temperature, and also very efficient aeration. It could even that this is a more robust way of preparing a custard? This needs experimenting – and you are more than welcome to join me! And why stop with custard? How about a sabayon? Basically any egg based sauce could be prepared with a steam wand.

Update (added on October 25th)
scrambled_eggs_4 In the comments there was a question about what would happen with egg whites. I had 3 leftover eggwhites so I added some sugar and tried to steam them. They fluffed up very fast and I was not able to control the process. I spooned the result onto a plate and as you can see the result was quite regrettable. The whites lost a lot of liquid.

I also tried to make a simple sabayon using 1 egg yolk, 30 g sugar and 60 mL of white wine. I got a frothy texture, but when I poured into a glass it separated quite fast. I think the main problem here is scale – on such a small scale it’s really difficult to control the temperature. I presume that this could be easier to control by tripling the amounts.

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[Found via the Norwegian food blog Ordentligmat]

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Filed under: equipment, experiments, molecular gastronomy, recipe, tips & tricks

Comments

  1. Chemgeek Says:

    Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

    All I need now is an eggs-presso (Sorry, it was too easy).

  2. Vladimir Says:

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    ..thinking of extra non-expresso usage of the steamer….

  3. Kelly Says:

    We were doing this at a cafe I used to work at in San Francisco way back in 1990, so I assume it’s been around longer than that. Just goes to show that there is not much that’s really new in this world. Shredded cheese is a nice add-in. I would speculate that the reason the eggs+milk didn’t work is because the steam is so hot that it immediately curdles the egg proteins. You don’t really have great temperature control with a steam wand-you just have good control over how long the wand is in the liquid. If you overheat the water in a bain-marie, the mixture at the bottom of the pot will tend to curdle. And the steam from a steam wand is hotter than boiling.

  4. Martin Lersch Says:

    Kelly: That’s really interesting – thanks for the details! There’s nothing new under the sun… Regarding the curdling – what surprises me is that the steam-curdled eggs don’t expell water. Could it be that the whirling action of the steam is so good at distributing the heat that you never really get a local “overheating” of the eggs? I tried to heat the egg + milk mixture that didn’t set with steam in the microwave too see what happened – it separated and expelled a lot of water…

  5. fooducation Says:

    Neat. Just neat :)

  6. Dan Says:

    This is one of those things that restaurant chefs have been doing for eons (or at least since espresso machines were invented), and we just never think about it as something “different” – it was a standard first thing in the morning quick breakfast when we were starting our shift.

  7. Leylnad Jacob Says:

    It does work very well, but be careful of the syphon that takes place when you turn your steam wand off. It has potential to ruin your steam wand if you suck eggs or anything else back up there. Always make sure to purge your steam wand after, so that it doesn’t harden and clog your steam wand or so that the next time you go to make a cappuccino you don’t squirt out a little egg into your milk :)

  8. Weekend Carnivore Says:

    You just got to love it when you learn something new and it gives you one of those ‘duh’ moments.

  9. Frank Says:

    What happens if you steam just egg whites? Do you get a solidified egg foam? Do whites and sugar result in a soft meringue?

    I don’t have a steamer wand, but I’d try it if I could…

  10. Ege Says:

    Hehe – simply an excellent idea. Can’t wait to try this out.
    The steamer on Ms Silvia is also good for foaming sauces containing cream instead of an immerison blender.

    I have been reading your blog and webpage for a while, Great stuff!!!

    Looking forward to see what’s next out of Norway.

    Regards
    Ege

  11. Martin Lersch Says:

    It really seems as if this has been a “trick of the trade” for chefs :)

    Frank: I tried eggwhites + sugar. They separate. I’ve added a picture of it in the post.

    I also tried Sabayon now, but since I only did 1 egg yolk + 30 g + 60 mL white wine I had no chance whatsoever to stop the steaming in time. I’ve added a picture of this as well.

  12. Vídeo: ¿Cómo hacer huevos revueltos con la cafetera? By Khymos | El Blog de Bertus Says:

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  13. Moscool Says:

    Hi there

    Tried this for a few weeks a couple of years ago but eventually gave up: not enough temperature control resulting in uneven curdling and also it’s a real dog to clean the steamer (unless it’s used all day long).

    My preferred solution for fast yet smooth scrambled eggs is the good old microwave! Here’s my tip: swirl the beaten eggs with a spoon before switching the power on so that you always have movement in the bowl. Do it in 20-30 second increments. Each oven has its own ‘speed profile’ so you’ll need to try things out a bit. The only danger is that as soon as the eggs hit the hardening point you get a mass of fairly hard rubber! – Expect to have a couple of failures but the result is worth it…

  14. Verdens raskeste eggerøre? Says:

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  15. Bill T. Says:

    Interesting, Moscool. Does one cover the eggs before putting them in the microwave or leave them uncovered?

  16. Moscool Says:

    Uncovered is fine: they will not splatter, simply harden if left too long. I find that keeping movement in the bowl improves the texture.

  17. scrambled eggs with a coffee machine — cafedave.net Says:

    [...] I don’t know if I’d be prepared to do this, but here’s how to make scrambled eggs with a coffee machine. [...]

  18. hylan Joseph Says:

    Be very very careful with this process, it’s really neat ,but if the egg back flows into your espresso boiler, it’s a monster to get out and can damage the pressure system in your machine. Particularly smaller machines like the miss sylvia. make sure you bleed the steam wand for ten seconds after steaming the eggs.

  19. Bob Says:

    I also recall the Medici Cafe in Hyde Park (Chicago, near the University of Chicago) having just this thing on their menu for a very long time, certainly the early ’90s, probably earlier.

    Good stuff!

  20. Ben Lines Says:

    This is not a very good method of making scrambled eggs, as you get a hard lump of egg. The reason for this is because egg proteins solidify at about 65-68C. The steam is over 100C and therefore you are over cooking the eggs.

  21. Moscool Says:

    @Ben:

    Ah yes, one can be a purist… What most people call scrambled eggs are actually ‘failed’ scrambled eggs. Proper ones are made in a bain-marie, have no hint of lumping and are eaten with a spoon out of a soup bowl… However, for the sake of time some of us are prepared to compromised by getting some soft lumps yet still quite a lot of creaminess! These days I only use the traditional method if I make ‘speacial ones’ (e.g. with truffles)

  22. Charlie Crystle Says:

    There’s a cafe in NY between 4th and 5th streets near bowery that has done it for years. When I moved to Lancaster PA I asked a local cafe to try it; they did and put it on their menu.

    I’m looking for a decent steamer that’s JUST a steamer…thanks for the video!

  23. Charlie Crystle Says:

    Mission Cafe on 2nd Ave