We need to talk about scrambled eggs. Those plump, silky things so inviting on top of toast. You’ll need some tomorrow morning.
A lot of people put milk in their scrambled eggs. Ask someone near you. They probably do it.
In a recent poll on a BuzzFeed article about egg opinions , more than 60 per cent said they add milk when cooking the dish. Doing so "makes scrambled eggs creamier," apparently.
The thing is, according to chefs, adding milk is slippery and tragic. Never has the culinary sentiment, "Scrambled eggs are easy to make, but difficult to do well," sounded truer.
So how do you make the perfect scrambled eggs?
Before we go any further, let’s remember that food is a matter of taste and, frankly, you can do whatever you like. They’re your eggs, after all.
But it was interesting to learn that so many people add milk to their mixture. Surely you just melt lots of butter in a saucepan and cook the eggs on a low(ish) heat, stirring infrequently, so that they gently emulsify and clump together.
Afterwards, season with lots of salt and pepper, and maybe some chives, and then you’re sat in front of a smooth, rich, slightly runny mountain of gold like an excited hobbit on a hot day.
But what do chefs say?
We asked some about their scrambled eggs
Dan Joines, who runs several award-winning restaurants in London, told me: "Never add milk to your scrambled eggs – it dilutes the flavour and makes them more likely to turn out rubbery.
"It’s always butter for me. Make sure your butter is golden, but not brown, before you put your eggs in. Keep stirring on a medium to low heat.
And Luke Selby, chef at the much lauded Hide restaurant in London, agreed: "Putting milk in your scrambled eggs is a cardinal sin!
"It just makes them too wet, like school dinners."
Not so appetising
Food writer Rachel Phipps said: "While putting milk in your scrambled eggs may make them go a little further, they become pretty flavourless, and take on the sort of colour you’d expect from a mass catering facility."
Like most cooking, there’s a science behind technique. Basically, adding liquid to eggs is ultimately unnecessary, and probably came about when everyone suddenly became scared of butter and fat. But milk dilutes the flavour, and can cause the mixture to separate during cooking.
What’s more, it means it’s far easier to overcook the eggs – you’re either left with a floppy, soggy mess, or that bitty, white scrambled thing you might associate with well-known hotel chains. The ones with the urns of orange juice and incredible hash browns.
Should you add anything to eggs?
While milk is a big no, some chefs like to add cream or crème fraîche to their scrambled eggs. Gordon Ramsay is one example, as is Delia Smith, who follows the legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier in her recipe.
Laoise Casey, a food writer and chef from Ireland, says butter is the key to beautiful eggs. But she has another trick up her sleeve.
"While I’m not a fan of milk, milk powder is a whole different thing.
"I learnt this tip from one of the chefs, Eloise, I work with at [restaurant] Paradise Garage.
"Whisk in a teaspoon of milk powder with the eggs and the result is a wonderful almost cheese-like scramble. In fact, milk powder can enhance a lot of dishes…from ice cream to pastry and butterscotch sauce."
We’ve added some other tips and tricks when making scrambled eggs below
Do you put milk in your scrambled eggs?
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Don’t cook on a high heat; remember to occasionally stir; try to use fresh eggs; don’t whip up too early; but wait until you’re about to put into the hot pan.
Finally, season at the end as, according to Gordon Ramsay, doing so means there’s no risk of the salt "breaking down the eggs" and making them watery.
This article first appeared in November 2016
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