Wednesday, July 19, 2017

IS ONE EGG AN OEUF? - EUROPEAN-AMERICAN EGG "TRANSLATION"



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When I started reading American cookbooks and food magazines, I noticed that their recipes almost always call for large eggs, whereas the typical egg in German recipes is medium-sized (Kl. M).

Though (supposedly) everything is bigger in the US, I was wondering about this. Why should American cooks and bakers in general use larger eggs than their European counterparts?

My experiences with the differences between European and American flour types and dairy products taught me that I should better not automatically assume that a "large egg" in Maine is the same as "ein grosses Ei" in Hamburg.

Contrary to what some people believe, size doesn't always matter - at least not for eggs - it's all about the weight!

The typical American recipe egg is "large" - but only medium-sized!


        EU-STANDARD                                                     US-STANDARD  

Class      Weight per Egg                                   Class       Minimum Weight per Egg
XL              73 g or more                                     Jumbo                   70.9 g (30 oz)
L                 63 g - 73 g                                        Extra Large           63.8 g (27 oz)
M                53 g - 63 g                                        Large                    56.7 g (24 oz)
S                 53 g or less                                       Medium                49.6 g (21 oz)
                                                                             Small                    42.5 g (18 oz)


Okay, then a US standard "large" egg equals an European "medium" egg. Right? Well, it's a bit more complicated.

When I want to know the weight of cups and tablespoons of baking ingredients, I check my friend The Rye Baker Stanley Ginsberg's NY Bakers' Ingredient-Weight Table (based on the USDA Nutritional Values Database.) And there I find a regular "large" egg listed with a weight of only 50 grams/21 ounces. That's almost 7 grams/0.25 ounces less!

The New York Times and other newspapers, as well as foodie magazines, like Cook's Illustrated or Bon Appétit, all base their recipes on this average Joe 21-ounce egg.

Whether your breakfast egg is standard size or not - who cares!

But should you really care whether your breakfast eggs meet the standard minimum weight? Probably not.

These little differences matter if you bake egg-rich pastry (where the difference compounds), or need to work with halves, or fractions of whole eggs.

To adapt large cakes to smaller versions - which I often do, since we are only two people - I use the practical Pan-Conversion-Tool von Keiko's Cake. For this calculation I need to know the weight of each ingredient.

With miniature cakes, like the glorious Bohemian Hazelnut Torte or traditional Dresden Rhubarb-Eierschecke-Torte, a difference in the egg content does have an impact on the results.

Miniature Bohemian Hazelnut Torte

Before I knew better, I would have simply taken either the yolk or white to get to 1/2 egg. But too much egg yolk makes a batter tough and dry.

And, after once being served a low-cholesterol scrambled egg, made of egg whites only, I knew why you should better not divide an egg like that: the white scrambled egg was bland and tasteless!

How do you divide an egg? Very easy: you crack it into a cup, stir well with a fork, and then weigh the desired amount.

Dan Lepard's Ale Crust Potato Pasties with a golden, egg washed crust

The egg leftovers you can work into your next scrambled eggs, or use as glaze for other pastries, for example Dan Lepard's tasty Ale Crust Potato Pasties.

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