Troubleshooting the Hard-Boiled Egg

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Too many hard-boiled egg experiences are spoiled by a variety of faults ranging from the serious to the trivial but still really annoying. As a bit of a perfectionist I've tried to compile the definitive trouble-shooting guide to the hard-boiled egg. Some of these things are obvious, but then all trouble-shooting guides, especially those contained in the back of TV manuals, contain the blindingly obvious as well as the more obscure. `The problem with making something foolproof is underestimating the ingenuity of complete fools'. Anybody know who said that first? It just seems to be a phrase everybody knows.

Grey-edged yolkYuck! This is a really horrid symptom which afflicts a worryingly large number of hard-boiled eggs, especially those produced in large quantities. It happens when the eggs aren't cooled quickly enough. When they come off the boil you should put the saucepan in the sink and run cold water into it for at least a minute to kick off the cooling process. When they're going to be kept for a time before eating, put them in the fridge as soon as they're cool enough.
Runny yolkThis isn't nice if you wanted a hard-boiled egg, but it's easy to fix. Cook the egg a few minutes longer.
Solid yellow yolk which is slightly powderyNow you've cooked the egg too long. Personally I like the yolk only just set and still smooth. Cut a couple of minutes off the cooking time. You'll have to experiment to get it just right.
Gouged whiteBits of eggshell often gouge the white of the egg when it is being peeled. You'll have to be more careful next time, because it's so much nicer to have an ungouged white. When peeling, tap the egg onto a hard surface all over to crack the shell thoroughly, then try and slide the shell off, keeping the membrane underneath intact. I'm not saying it'll work, but it's what I do.
Bits of shell leftEww! This is really nasty, although not as bad as a grey yolk. Peel your egg under cold running water and make sure it's well rinsed before serving. You can dry it if you want to but don't let any bits of kitchen paper get stuck to it.

If you have any comments or more problems/solutions to add to this article then please mention them in the forum and I will see whether I want to include them or not. If I do include a suggestion you will be credited. It's only fair, after all.

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