Wondering what I was going to have for lunch I realized that I had not had Egg Salad in quite some time. I remembered that Stuart had posted a short article to the website about Hard Cooked Eggs (Baking Versus Boiling). I figured it was time for me to try a recipe / technique contributed to this website by one of my friends. In lieu of boiling eggs for egg salad, I would risk the oven and bake my eggs for egg salad.
I read the instructions and selected nine eggs to be baked. I chose nine eggs that appeared to be free of hairline crack. I had this image of eggs exploding in the oven like firecrackers; egg whites, yolks and shells splattered everywhere with the missus of the house being very displeased with me. I placed the eggs on a cookie cooling rack which was on top of a baking sheet. This was to minimize any possible disasters from eggs exploding an spewing egg whites and yolk like a lava pouring out of a runaway volcano.
I preheated the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and once ready placed the eggs in the oven for 30 minutes. 14 minutes into the baking the eggs, I heard a crack. With trepidation I turned on the oven light and peered into the oven. Once of the eggs had lost part of it’s shell, but it did not appear that the interior of the oven was covered with the contents of this one egg. The expanding gasses in the interior of the eggs must have found a weak spot, but the liquid contents appeared to have already become firm.
After 30 minutes I turned off the oven, removed the tray of hard cooked eggs and immediately moved them to a bowl filled with ice and water. The eggs were hot and I would suggest using oven mitts (gloves) to transfer the eggs to the bowl of ice water. About half of the eggs were moved this way, with the remainder being handled with bare hands.
After the eggs had cooled for about 10 minutes, I started to peel the eggs. With the exception of the exterior of the whites being off-white (nothing significant) and two small brown dots where the eggs were resting on the cooling rack in the oven, the eggs appeared fine. They peeled easily and I would even say that they peeled better then when boiled. When peeling the eggs you will notice in the air pocket that always forms there is a discoloration on the interior of the shell. There is no odor and all I can determine is that the heat of the oven begins to burn the organic contents of the gases trapped in the air pocket. Personally, I would not think this to be an issue. The egg salad that I made from the hard cooked eggs had no odor or flavors not normally associated with hard boiled eggs and there was no apparent discoloration on the hardened egg white around the egg yolk.
Overall I was very pleased with the experiment and consider this alternative to hard boiled eggs to be practical and potentially a time saver. When making a large number (1 – 3 dozen) batch of hard cooked eggs (hard boiled eggs) for egg salad, deviled eggs or even for coloring Easter, I would recommend this alternative for you can bake more eggs at one time then you can boil.