Breakfast simplicity

Poached egg and toast.


Tips for poaching an egg.

  • It is good if the egg is room temperature.
  • Heat the water to just before boiling.
  • Add a little vinegar to the water.
  • Crack the egg into a small ramekin or large spoon.
  • Give the water a strong circular stir before sliding the egg into the center of the swirling water.
  • I give them about 3 minutes.
  • Have a piece of paper towel on hand.
  • Lift the egg(s) out with a slotted spoon.
  • Use the paper towel to dab up excess water.
  • Devour.

And drink your coffee in a WDTPRS mug!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Oh, man – that looks good.

    You say use a spoon or ramekin. How about these?

    [I haven’t seen those before. BTW… the way I poach eggs, they go directly in the water.]

  2. wanda says:

    Picture perfect breakfast. I’ve never made a poached egg. Is there still lots of liquidy yolk to dip your toast into after 3 min.? [Oh yes!] Have a wonderful Sunday, Fr. Z., it’s good to see one of your posts from the kitchen. Prayers, too.

  3. APX says:

    I tried this, but mine looked nothing like yours. Mine resembled something from egg drop soup. :( My kitchen is set-up for right-handed people and I bashed my elbow on the fridge as I was trying to slide the egg in and ended up dropping it in instead. It’s okay, though. It goes well with my slantedly sliced toast. *sigh

    [If at first you don’t succeed….]

  4. alec.brady says:

    And (for a Scottish touch) fry the bread. I butter both sides and then put it into a really hot, dry skillet. Flip once, and eat it hot when it’s golden on both sides. It’ll be slightly crisp on the outside, but still tender all the way through. Better than toast, and it perfectly matches the sumptuousness of the egg. [Sounds great!]

    Oh, heck, now I’m going to have to go back into the kitchen and make this.

  5. Joe in Canada says:

    do you recommend any particular type of coffee, Father?

    [Now that you mention it, try some Mystic Monk coffee! It’s swell!]

  6. skull kid says:

    Fr Z appears to have put the egg into the water without any container. I don’t know how that would work. Surely the egg would mix with the water?

  7. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    Wow Father, not only are you nourishing our souls, you are also providing life skills for us too. Don’t suppose you could put all your cooking recipes, tips, etc. in a new folder or under another type of tab for easy referral and/or searching?

  8. skull kid: Yes, the egg went directly into the water. This is why you give the water a swirl, around the edge, before putting in the egg in the center. That movement in the water keeps the egg together. Also, it is important that the water is NOT boiling. Get it to about 180F.

  9. gloriainexcelsis says:

    My almost-every-morning breakfast is a poached egg and a piece of toasted sprouted-grain bread (made with no flour). The bread is similar to the biblical Ezekiel bread that is popular in health food stores. Either of these breads is better at least lightly toasted to soften it, or regularly toasted. The toast gets decorated with applesauce or perhaps cream cheese. I’ve become lazy with the poaching. I spray Pam on one of those little bowl shaped things that you set in the pot of just boiling water , break the egg into it, let it do its thing, slide the egg onto a plate with the toast (or sometimes put it ON the toast if using the cream cheese or butter.) Your poached egg is more like I remember my grandmother making. I’m sure it’s better!

  10. Rosevean says:

    If you use a metal or china cup in a bath of simmering water, it’s not technically a poached egg, it’s a coddled egg. Yummy on a buttered English crumpet or pikelet. I’d prefer mine with Mystic Monk tea though – maybe it’s a British thing, toasted things with tea.

  11. Patti Day says:

    Father, Your egg is very neat and orderly looking. Mine generally have ragged edges.

  12. APX says:

    @Fr. Z
    [If at first you don’t succeed….]

    Try again, and if you still don’t succeed, just get dad to show you how, and have him fry up some bacon while he’s at it.

    My dog quite enjoyed the fruits of my failures. “My” third attempt worked after my dad showed me that if I keep turning the water the while I’m sliding the egg in, it’ll keep it together. They turned out just like yours. [Yes, that swirl of the water does the trick. Good for you!]

  13. Trad Catholic Girl says:

    But Fr. Z, doesn’t the vinegar make the egg tart? [Don’t use very much. But the vinegar helps because it changes the pH balance of the water, making it more acetic. This will cause the outer part of the egg white to solidify faster and will help keep the egg together.] Also, I prefer my bread quite burnt – I usually put it down in the toaster three times (at least) until it is so burnt that it falls apart when I apply the butter. Not sure why, just like it that way…

  14. brjeromeleo says:

    Mine always get ragged edges, too. Guess I am not swirling enough. Yours looks perfect, Father. Try poaching in beef boullion or stock sometime, with a little extra thyme added. It gives a richer flavor than just water.

  15. bookworm says:

    This may be, ahem, not exactly in keeping with the rubrics so to speak, but I poach my eggs in the microwave. Simply take a small plate (saucer or salad size) and lightly spritz or spray with cooking oil. Crack egg (or 2) on the plate, and cover with a second plate. Put in microwave for between 1 and 2 minutes. If you hear the egg explode… you waited too long to take it out. If you get it out at just the right time it’s quite delicious, and not much different from what you see here.

    Another delicious but more complex variation is to combine the egg and toast by cutting a hole in the bread, cracking the raw egg in it, and cooking the whole thing in a skillet. This is variously known as “eggs in a nest,” “gashouse eggs,” “Moon over Miami”, or “Moonstruck Eggs” (after the scene in “Moonstruck” where Olympia Dukakis cooks these for her daughter, played by Cher).

  16. Geoffrey says:

    I tried poaching an egg once. It was pretty easy and quite delicious. It did seem to get cold rather quickly… but I am a slow eater !

  17. I know that you are suppose to use a touch of vinegar when the eggs go directly in the water. Is there any perceptible taste of the vinegar in the egg?

    The swirl is something I hadn’t though of before. I may have to try this some day.

  18. OK – you answered the part about the vinegar and taste further up.

    I’ll have to try it once.

    [Not much influence on the flavor, in my experience. You don’t have to use very much vinegar.]

  19. jarhead462 says:

    There are a variety of ways to poach, but you should always use the vinager because it helps the white coagulate. Some people are nervous about the swirl, (I have seen eggs blown apart because of a too aggessive swirl). you can use a skillet with water, and no swirl, and drop the eggs in, then cover until done. I use the same method as Jacques Pepin- use a saucepan, drop the egg in, and for the first 30 secons or so, use your spoon to agitate the egg (so it does not stick to the bottom) and pull the white in on the egg by drawing it across the top. This helps to keep it together, an it works well for multiple eggs. When the egg is done, remove with a slotted spoon, and dunk in cold water. This helps stop the cooking, and remove any vinager taste. This method works great for doing multiple eggs. If using any of these methods, make sure to first break your eggs into a ramekin or teacup first, then place in water by getting as close to the surface as possible. You do not want to risk breaking the yolk or dropping an already broken yolk into your water- UGH! very messy!
    Semper Fi!

  20. irishgirl says:

    Your egg and toast looks yummy, Father Z!
    I usually just fry my eggs-and sometimes I make an omelet. As I’ve said before, I’m not much of a cook….
    Maybe the next time I go out for breakfast, I’ll order a poached egg.

  21. Monkeycounter says:

    You don’t need to swirl the water, or add vinegar, or make sure the water isn’t boiling, or do the Pepin scoop. You just need to make sure that the egg is fresh – if it’s only a few days old it just turns out like Fr Z’s with no effort whatsoever. If it’s 3 weeks old, you get egg drop soup & there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Simple!

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