An egg. Simple. No longer do you have to go out into your chicken-coop each morning, wary of the snakes or foxes that might still be lurking, and take the eggs left to you by the chickens who are demanding their breakfast in return for giving you yours. No, gone are the days when having eggs are the standard breakfast; who has time for it? We just go to the grocery store, buy a dozen, and are set for the week. Ah, but which size to choose? Farm fresh, organic, or generic? Grade A or Grade B? Brown or White? Extra Large, Large, Medium, or Small? A dozen or 3 dozen? The recipe for the brownies my son has to take to school for the fundraiser tomorrow just says 2 eggs. Nothing else…
In a bakery, eggs are as essential as air is for breathing. We know our eggs and how best to use them. Let me impart some knowledge gained.
Terminology: the yolk is the yellow center of the egg. The yolk is what has all the nutrients, vitamins, healthy fats, and cholesterol. The egg white is the exterior, which is what is used to beat and fluff to give the light and airy quality (found in omelets) to cakes.
Brown or White? The color of the egg is irrelevant.
Large? Extra Large? Any recipe that asks for ‘1 egg’ is asking for a ‘large, grade A’ egg. An extra-large egg is about 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 eggs. If you’re getting your eggs from a farmer’s market where the eggs are all different sizes, you measure the egg in a liquid measure. One Grade A Large egg is approximately 2 oz, for a base reference.
The smell. Fresh eggs have no smell, and they are clear. If the color of the yolk or egg white are opaque or cloudy, and / or have a strong odor, you have a bad a egg. Like an avocado, you can’t tell what’s inside until you crack it open. However, if you smell it unopened in the container – run!
Organic or commercial? For me, the argument is too compelling not to buy organic eggs. First of all, it’s the taste. Fresh, organic eggs have a much stronger flavor; you can literally taste the difference. It has been proven that healthy chickens, who live a lifestyle normal to their heritage and not stressed, lay tastier, better quality eggs. The color of the yolk is brighter and deeper. From an environmental stand point, large conglomerate egg companies do not take responsibility for the chicken waste that is produced on their farms (which is an enormous amount), by their commercial business. This is a huge disservice to our planet, and in my opinion, irresponsible. Also, it is my opinion, that the way they mistreat their chickens is awful. (Note: I am not a ‘tree-hugger’ as it were; but some things are just too inexcusable to ignore.) If you can afford organic – I encourage you to do so. The taste is far better and it supports the small farms trying to do the right thing for us and the environment.