When it comes to breakfast food, scrambled eggs are pretty much as classic as it gets, but that doesn't mean a great thing can't be made better. People are constantly looking for ways to make their scrambles stand out — whether it's about making them faster with a mug and a microwave or even using a cappuccino machine.
When it comes to texture, some cooks swear by cream and others use milk to ensure a consistent batch. But the latest scrambled egg trick that's gaining a devoted following involves adding a surprising ingredient to eggs that makes them fluffy.
That ingredient is ... baking powder.
The idea has been floating around social media for years, with many home cooks swearing by its simplicity and reliability.
But is adding a dry chemical to eggs really a good idea?
While adding baking powder — which is mixture of carbonate or bicarbonate and a weak acid — does marginally help incorporate carbon dioxide into a scramble, it is an "unnecessary" ingredient that can carry with it an unwanted and acrid chemical aftertaste, cautioned Nick Korbee, chef of New York City-based Egg Shop.
"Eggs are a marvel of natural molecular composition," Korbee told TODAY. "The profound protein structure of the albumen (egg white) is enough to support two times its own volume when incorporating air by the basic operation of whipping."
Baking powder is used to lighten the texture and increase the volume in baked goods, so it's understandable that it would help lighten up eggs, too. But eggs, unlike the myriad of ingredients used to make muffins and cakes, are very susceptible to being tainted by other flavors.
So what should we do if we want truly fluffy eggs without risking a chemical taste?
“First, try separating the yolk from the white then whip the whites to a soft peak with a whisk. Then fold the yolks in gently before cooking over low heat with a bit of melted butter,” said Korbee.
Frank Proto, director of culinary operations at the Institute of Culinary Education, agreed that it is ultimately unnecessary to add baking powder to eggs to make a scramble fluffier.
“Baking powder is used to add air to baked goods. It does not taste good and that flavor is usually covered by the many other flavors used in baking like sugar, vanilla, chocolate and more,” Proto told TODAY. “When it comes to eggs, there is only that one flavor and it could go horribly wrong if all you taste is eggs and baking powder.
Ultimately, when it comes to eggs, both chefs agreed that less is more and keeping things simple is best.
“Let eggs be eggs and always opt for technique over chemical manipulation," said Korbee.