Craft & Design Science
The man who unboiled an egg

Herve This
Fascinating story about Hervé This, cooking scientist –

He can measure the pressure inside a chip and has worked out how to produce 24 litres of mayonnaise from a single egg…

His specialism is the science of cooking. For him, every foodstuff is ‘a chemical mixture’. ‘When aromatic compounds are formed on the surface of a roast,they are the result of a chemical reaction. When mushrooms turn black after being chopped, it is the fruit of a chemical reaction.’

Over the years, his musings on chemical reactions have led to a number of discoveries. He has worked out how to uncook an egg. He has calculated that you can produce 24 litres of mayonnaise with a single yolk. He has invented a Béarnaise sauce by replacing butter with melted chocolate, as well as ‘chocolate chantilly’ (a form of whipped chocolate prepared in the same way as crème chantilly). He’s baked an egg for an hour at 55°C, managing somehow to leave the yolk ‘exceptionally smooth and tender’.

The man who unboiled an egg – Link.

Related:
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  • Food hacking with the Food Jammers – Link.
  • Food hacking with Marc Powell – Link.
  • Hervé This – Link.
  • Hervé This, Food chemist – Link.

8 thoughts on “The man who unboiled an egg

  1. I thought it was impossible to repair the protein stuff in eggs after it has set. O.o

    If it is possible, can you not use something similar to repair acid damaged eyes?

  2. Hi Ed(Sweden)!

    From the link:
    “But what really intrigues me, of course, is exactly how he managed to unboil an egg. He explains that when an egg is cooked, the protein molecules unroll themselves, link up and enclose the water molecules. In order to ‘uncook’ the egg, you need to detach the protein molecules from each other. By adding a product like sodium borohydride, the egg becomes liquid within three hours. For those who want to try it at home, vitamin C also does the trick.”

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