Omelette from dehydrated eggs

When you have fresh eggs and a decent frying pan, basic omelette is one of the easiest dishes to prepare. Trying to prepare it from dehydrated eggs, with a mini Trangia camping stove, at -5 C (23 F) weather, may be not that easy. Do the rehydrated eggs stay in one piece when fried? Is the thin and flimsy Trangia frying pan too thin and flimsy for cooking those kind of things successfully?

Well, what there is to do but to try?

So, I begun by adding about 150 ml (5 fl oz) of room temperature water onto the powder of three eggs. For the next six hours, I shook the mixture for about a fifteen seconds every hour or so. The end result looked pretty much like beaten eggs. So far, so good.

Next, it would have been a time to add a splash of milk, but due to the lack of extra containers, I skipped the milk, oiled the pan, poured the eggs onto it, and seasoned them with some black pepper. Since I’m not a big fan of plain omelettes, I chopped some air dried salted meat onto the omelette. That was for texture, some additional protein, and of course the taste.

In order to avoid burning the omelette through the ridiculously thin Trangia pan, I held the pan pretty high above the flame, constantly moving it around. After few minutes, it was time to flip the omelette. I was truly sceptical about the outcome. Would it break to pieces? Would it stick to the pan? Would it be burned black?

To my great surprise, the omelette flipped easily in one piece, and the colour was very nice, no burned spots at all.

And most importantly, also the texture and the taste were great. There was no way to tell whether the omelette was made with dehydrated or fresh eggs.

Based on this experiment, I’m absolutely convinced that dehydrated eggs can replace fresh ones in pretty much any dish you can imagine. Well, maybe not the whole soft boiled, or sunny side up fried eggs, but you know what I mean.

How to dehydrate eggs

Eggs are wonderful things. However, from a hikers point of view, there are some issues with them. a) they are somewhat delicate to handle (you know, all of your eggs in one basket etc.), b) in comparison to their nutritional value, they are rather heavy, and c) even though they stay good at room temperature for quite a while, it still would be nice to find a way to store them for a little bit longer.

To get rid of all of the mentioned problems, one can easily dehydrate the eggs. Dehydrated egg powder does not break and soil the content of your back pack, the weight reduction is about 80%, and the egg powder stays good for months, if not years.

The process is ridiculously easy. First, take 3 to 5 eggs, and break them into a bowl. Beat the eggs with a whisk or a fork to a homogenous pulp. Then pour the eggs onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. (one baking tray can handle up to six eggs). Set the oven temperature to about 45 C (about 113 F). Be careful with the temperature. The goal is to dehydrate, not to fry the eggs. Then place the tray into the oven, and wedge the oven door open with a wooden or metal kitchen tool.

After about 6 to 9 hours, the consistency of the eggs should resemble that of the Kellogg’s corn flakes.

Collect the “corn flakes” into a bowl, and grind them to as fine powder as possible. It is possible to use the old fashioned mortar and pestle, as well as some kind of a sieve and suitable grinding tool to obtain the egg powder, but based on my experience, an electric mixer is the most convenient tool for the job. If you decide to use the mixer, cover the grinding bowl with a lid, saran wrap, or something like that, otherwise you will end up having half of the dry egg flakes all over the table (trust me, been there, done that).

Once the the eggs are in the form of powder, store them in a cool, dry place, protected from light.

Due to the fact that most of the recipes in the world measure the amount of eggs in the number of the eggs, it is advisable to split the egg powder into separate “one egg” portions.

In comparison to other commonly dehydrated ingredients, rehydrating the eggs takes a bit more time and effort. If you pour boiling water on your egg powder, like you would do with practically any other dehydrated stuff, you end up having denatured, cooked egg protein, which is still edible, but not good for anything you would use the fresh eggs for. Start the rehydrating process by adding about 0.5 dl (1.7 fl oz) of no warmer than the body temperature water per one dehydrated egg. Close the container (a small freezer bottle or an empty plastic soda bottle are good for this purpose) , and shake it well. Keep on shortly shaking it every now and then for the next few hours. As I mentioned earlier, rehydrating eggs properly, really takes some time. Therefore, in a hiking or camping situation, if you wish to enjoy crepes in the evening, start rehydrating around lunch time. That may sound like a lot of work, but during the day the eggs will practically rehydrate themselves in your back pack. Just a little shake every hour or two, and that is all.

As with any other food related stuff, keep your containers and utensils clean, and use only the cleanest water. If you are located in warmer parts of the world, to avoid the growth of unwanted bacteria, reduce the rehydrating time accordingly (you should be able to get decent rehydrated eggs in less than four hours).