Question: "...I tried dehydrating some eggs...and I was never able to get the yolks dry...I dried the yolkson an "old-fashioned" Teflon sheet. Could that be my problem? How should the yolks be? Should they stand alone?" -E.M.
Answer:Since our article on drying eggs in the July issue, a couple of readers have written us with problems drying eggs. To answer your questions, I went back to the kitchen and experimented with the egg drying process. I tried drying both freshly laid eggs and store bought ones. Here is what I found.:
Itís unlikely that your problems stemmed from the type of Teflon. The thickness and permeability of the material does not seem to affect the process. I used a standard Teflon sheet cradled in a sheet of aluminum foil.
More likely, your problem may be due to the amount of egg "batter" you dried per sheet of Teflon. Egg yolks have a high fat content which slows down the drying process. I found that I had better luck when I dried just a few eggs at a time. Try drying only 4 egg yolks per sheet and 4 egg whites per sheet.
Egg whites should be beaten until they form a stiff meringue. Egg yolks should be beaten until they are thick and foamy. I beat them for 1 minute a high speed with a small, electric hand mixer. Although quite thick, they did not stand alone.
You want the eggs to dry as quickly as possible. Spread your "batter" very thin. As the yolks dry, the top with dry first. This forms a thick "crust" which acts as a barrier slowing the further escape of moisture. I find that it is helpful to stir the "leather" several times during the drying process. This breaks up the crust and allows the yolks to dry completely.
Dry eggs in a very warm dehydrator. I found that the best temperature was around 115°. Place the yolk "leathers" on the lower trays.
Following all these suggestions your yolks should dry in about 12 hours. They wonít be crisp but should crumble easily with your fingers. I crumble my leathers and then dry them a bit longer before combining the yolks and whites.