I'm fascinated by old cookbooks that describe cooking techniques before food processing took over, which began to happen in the 1920s and then exploded after World War II. I've mentioned my favorite, Miss E. Neil's cookbook, in this post on recipes. She's writing at a time when there weren't many standard measuring devices, certainly no digital scales, no instant read thermometers. A common instruction that fascinates me is to "make a brine strong enough to float an egg." I've always wondered how much salt that would be.
So I asked my trusted culinary assistant, James, to weigh out three different weights of salt in the same amount of water to make a 5% brine, which is what I use as a standard brine for everything, whether for a chicken or to pickle vegetables or corn beef, a 10% brine which is a good strong brine, and a 15% brine, 75 grams of salt in 500 grams of water.
The above not-by-donna photograph is a little hard to make out, but the egg on the left, in the 10% brine is not floating while the egg in the 15% brine is. 15% brine is very strong, you'd have to use it judiciously. I'm glad I have a scale!
Also, I've always been curious about what happens when you brine an egg. Can you preserve them this way? I've heard you could. Must they be cooked first, then brined? When I left both eggs in the 10% brine for a few days, they both evenutally floated.
Anyone know why this would be? Anyone brine eggs before? What's going on here? I have to assume there's a reason people aren't soaking raw eggs in brine all over the place. I'll leave them in for a week and see what happens.