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I live at 7000 feet, so when I want to make a soft-boiled egg, I either undershoot the boiling time when I follow times online, or over shoot it into hard boiled by adjusting too far up. Is there any real way to tell the doneness besides time (or the obvious crack one open)?

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Try an egg timer that measures temperature.

Here's an example (that I don't necessarily endorse): Egg Perfect Timer

The idea is, the device supposedly absorbs heat similarly to an egg, and gives a visual signal of the level of heat absorption. If the water is colder than typical, because you're at a higher altitude, the time it takes to heat the eggs and egg timer will lengthen, but the amount of heat the eggs and egg timer need remains consistent.

I had one very similar (perhaps that same brand) when I was much younger. I remember it being hard to read, but I think it was accurate.

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My parents never used a timer. They lifted the egg out of the water and observed how quickly the water evaporated from it. (This would be a measure of the egg's temperature.)

If you don't mind using a dozen eggs to find out, try lifting one up, timing how long it takes to dry, then cracking it open, do another, etc etc until you know what you're looking for. At first you might actually need to time this drying process but I am sure it's possible to learn "hm, yes, this egg needs some more time" vs "yup, just how I like it" within a few weeks of normal egg consumption.

(Found an answer (first one here) from a uk person stating that 10 seconds is the time for soft boiled - personally I would want to test to discover the time, but ok, and the person mentions living at altitude also.)

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    If you're going to cook a dozen eggs anyways, you could always just cook them all for different amounts of time and see which one works out. Seems easier than timing the drying process. – Elenna123 Sep 5 at 22:50
  • but having learned the drying trick, you never need to time your eggs again – Kate Gregory Sep 5 at 22:50
  • Fair. I'd rather know the time to cook them because then I can do other stuff in the kitchen without worrying about checking it every couple minutes. (And surely after "a few weeks of normal egg consumption" you get an idea of how long it takes anyways?) OTOH, your method has the advantage of still being useful if the OP moves to another city with a different altitude. – Elenna123 Sep 5 at 22:57
  • ok, but the question is "other than timing what can I do" so repeatedly commenting that timing is better (even with logical reasons) doesn't seem super helpful – Kate Gregory Sep 5 at 23:00
  • I might try an infrared thermometer. – Lee Daniel Crocker Sep 5 at 23:25

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