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Hi, you are watching VisiHow. Today, we are going to show you how you can crack an egg with one hand. Many times when you see people crack eggs they are cracking it incorrectly. Cracking an egg incorrectly means any time in which you strike it on a hard edge. This is a bad way to crack an egg for two reasons. The first being because when you crack it on a hard edge the shell is pushed into the egg where it can break off. Then when you open the egg, it falls out with the egg and you will have a piece of shell in your egg. The second reason this is a bad idea is that the sharp edge, that cracking an egg incorrectly creates, can cut open the yoke of the egg. This would prevent you from cooking the egg in any way, which requires an intact yolk, for example, over easy.
Cracking eggs quickly means cracking them one-handed. [Photographs: Vicky Wasik]
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I once had the honor of spending an afternoon cooking omelets with the legendary chef André Soltner. It’s a task that seems simple but of course isn’t, and for that reason making an omelet was what chefs would ask prospective employees to cook as an audition. As the well-known refrain goes, everything you need to know about a cook, you can learn by observing them make an omelet.
Interestingly, Soltner’s lesson didn’t start with the omelet. It started with cracking eggs. I’d been cracking eggs my whole life, but I had no idea just how detailed a person could be about the right way to do it. His method was rooted in extreme resourcefulness: Soltner grew up in wartime France, when food was often scarce. An egg, in those years, was beyond precious, a source of nutrition and sustenance like little else. To waste even a drop of it was unthinkable.
He showed me how to crack the egg, split the shell in two, dropping the white and yolk into a bowl, then cradle each half in his fingers, freeing his thumbs to carefully scrape every last bit of white from the shell halves. His method was deft, efficient, and beyond thorough.
Well, that’s not what I’m here to show you today. Instead, I’m going to show you the exact opposite. You see, there are times—such as war and perhaps a calm weekend morning when you’re taking the time to make the most painstaking omelet of your life for yourself and maybe, maybe a loved one—when that kind of care is essential. But then there are other times when speed, crude and rough, is all that matters.
As a guy who used to work a Saturday night dinner shift and then return to the restaurant early the next morning for a Sunday brunch that stretched into a dinner service, at least 15-hours on my feet working non-stop from start-to-finish, I know that sometimes you need to crack a lot of eggs as freaking quickly as possible.
For home cooks, speed-cracking is not something you need to do every day. But sometimes it comes in handy. Let’s say you’ve rented a house on a lake with your friends, a whole big bunch of them plus all the significant others. And you wake up one chilly morning and decide to make scrambled eggs for the crowd. Sure, you could break the eggs one-by-one, semi-carefully, the way most of us normally do. But this is a moment that is crying out for some badassery. This is when you want to stand there in that rented kitchen and bang those motherf-ers out like nobody’s business. Your friends will be astonished. They’ll also be fed more quickly.
To do it, there’s only one thing you need to know: how to crack an egg with one hand.
How to Crack an Egg With One Hand
This is one of those things that’s easier shown than with words, but I’ll try my best. First, a few observations:
- Not all eggs are created equal: Some eggs have firm, thick shells that are easier to split cleanly; others are soft and weak and will crush and crumble in your hand. You can do this technique with either kind, just be prepared to adapt to these differences in shell strength.
- There is no way of doing this technique that will guarantee you no shell fragments end up in the eggs. Heck, there’s no way to crack eggs carefully and have them always be shell-free. If you’re doing one or two dozen eggs, you can just pick out the few bits of shell that may get in the bowl; if you’re doing more, you can borrow a common restaurant technique of cracking the eggs into a China cap, then pushing them through by plunging up and down with the bottom of a ladle. Any shells will be strained out and your eggs will come out pre-scrambled from the other side (then be sure to pre-salt them for best results).
- This technique works best for eggs that you are going to beat, such as for omelets, scrambles eggs, frittatas, etc. If you want a sunny-side-up egg, you can do it one-handed, but there’s more risk that the yolk will break.
Winco CCS-12F China Cap Strainer, 12-Inch Diameter, Fine Mesh
A China cap can help catch shell fragments.
Okay, so now that we’re ready to get cracking, here’s how to do it. You basically have two choices: you can either crack an egg in one hand while the other reaches for the next egg, or you can break two eggs at once with one in each hand, then grab the next two, on and on. I’m a lefty, so if I were doing the first method, I’d single-hand crack with my left hand while my right was grabbing the next egg. But, because I’m a lefty, I’m also accustomed to using my right hand often (damn you, right-handed scissors!), so I’m comfortable taking one egg in each hand, banging them both out at once, and then grabbing the next two. You can do it either way, it really doesn’t matter.
The One-Handed Crack-and-Reach
Like a competitive hot-dog eater who reaches for the next dog with one hand while stuffing the first down the gullet, this move is all about carefully-timed coordination. Pulling this one off is like patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time.
The key is being able to direct your non-dominant hand for the next egg, while you’re simultaneously firing off the current one in your main hand. If you were an archer, it’d be like shooting an arrow with one hand while grabbing the next from the quiver. That’s a badass move if I ever heard of one. With the cracking and reaching happening at once, as an onomatopoeia it would go: creach, creach, creach. or maybe, rack, rack, rack.
Okay, But Wait, How Am I Actually Cracking This Egg in One Hand?
Ah, I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that. I have a feeling each person may do this a slightly different way. But I’ll tell you how I do it: I cradle the egg in my hand, in a grip that’s somewhere between all-fingers and full-on palm. I make sure that I have my pinky and ring fingers gripping the bottom (wider) half of the egg, and my middle, index, and thumb on the top half. Using this grip, there should be one side of the egg still exposed and not covered by your hand or fingers—I whack that exposed part against whatever cracking surface I’m using. Then, holding the base of the egg steady with my pinky and ring finger, I pry the top half open with my other fingers. The egg should drop out into the bowl or China cap below.
It’s not unlike the motion you might use to pop a soda can open one-handed, except with a soda can the thumb usually joins the ring and pinky fingers in steadying the can while the index and middle fingers (or maybe just the index finger) pry the tab. Here the thumb and middle fingers are helping out on that prying action.
Is this making sense? Yes? Great! No? Go grab an egg, I guarantee you that you’ll figure it out. Or just look at the photos and gifs we’ve included here.
The Two-Handed Smash-and-Bash
For some folks, especially those with one hand that’s way more dominant than the other, the One-Handed Crack-and-Reach may be the way to go. For those of us who are more ambidextrous, the Two-Handed Smash-and-Bash can be easier. Why? Because commanding one hand to do one thing while sending brain signals to the other to do something totally different is way trickier than it should be for Earth’s most intelligent life form. If you have good control over both hands, it’s way less taxing on your brain to have them mirror each other. And that’s where the Two-Handed Smash-and-Bash comes in.
Here, you’re going to grab one egg in each hand, then simultaneously crack them against your cracking surface. It’s freaking gorgeous.
And that’s it! Granted, this is not an essential kitchen skill. It may even be forbidden in the pristine galleys of Per Se, Noma, or the Fat Duck. But there’s a time and a place for everything. Sometimes you need the precision of a brain surgeon, and sometimes you’ve got ten guys bleeding out from gunshot wounds and slow-and-steady just ain’t gonna cut it.
In those moments, you Crack-and-Reach and Smash-and-Bash your way to some hardcore badass renegade Rambo eggs.*
* Legal disclaimer to be speed-red in a lawyerly voice: No matter how fast you crack your eggs, you are still responsible for how you cook them: scrambled eggs should still be softly cooked and moist; omelets should have minimal-to-no browning and be slightly runny on the inside; frittatas should be as tender and delicate as a baby’s bottom.
Daniel cooked for years in some of New York’s top American, Italian and French restaurants — starting at the age of 13, when he began staging at the legendary restaurant Chanterelle. He spent nearly a year working on organic farms in Europe, where he harvested almonds and Padron peppers in Spain, shepherded a flock of more than 200 sheep in Italy, and made charcuterie in France. When not working on, thinking about, cooking and eating food, he blows off steam (and calories) as an instructor of capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art.
A short and quick tutorial on how to crack an egg with one hand.
“Can you show us how to crack an egg with one hand?” asked my classmate in the Le Cordon Bleu cooking class. We were doing a session on how to cook eggs (sunny side up, over easy, scrambled, omelettes, poached and shirred) but, as usual, it was the little simple things that caught my attention and made me take note. I’ve always been the sort of person envious of those cooks that can crack an egg with one hand, it looked so bad ass and casual at the same time. But I’ve never thought to ask anyone to teach it to me.
Turns out, the reason cooks do it’s so casually is because it’s pretty easy to do. The first trick is to make sure to crack the egg firmly on a flat surface. If you crack the egg on the edge of a bowl (which a lot of people do) there’s more chance that a stray piece of shell will break off and that means a higher chance of broken yolk or worse having to fish the shell piece out of the bowl or pan (a nearly Sisyphean task).
Once you’ve cracked the egg, you make a motion similar to snapping your fingers, but with the egg in your hand. The idea is to keep your thumb and index finger on the top half of the egg shell, while the middle finger anchors the bottom half of the shell against your palm near the your thumb. Pull up with thumb and index finger while holding onto the bottom half of the shell and release egg into your bowl or pan. Simple right?
Of course, pictures can only explain it so much, so I made as short tutorial video as well to help you crack eggs single handed. Soon you’ll be an insouciant bad ass in the kitchen cracking eggs one handed with abandon.
This past week I shared tips, tricks and recipes that I learned while taking a class at Le Cordon Bleu. You check out some of my other posts from this week. Thanks for stopping by!