I'm doing a food tech assignment and I need to know how adding sugar to the water effects the coagulation of protein when poaching eggs.

  • That's a bit of an odd question because sugar isn't generally used in the poaching of eggs. A lot of people use vinegar in the water, but not sugar. Even a Google search didn't show any examples of recipes calling for sugar in egg poaching water. That doesn't mean your question as written isn't answerable, it's just odd.
    – Jolenealaska
    Jun 14, 2014 at 10:05
  • I can't help with the sugar question, but you might find this helpful anyway, even though there is no mention of sugar. cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/57/…
    – Jolenealaska
    Jun 14, 2014 at 10:14
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    Does this mean we've finally reached the level of StackOverflow when people start asking homework questions here? Jun 14, 2014 at 14:15
  • @Jolenealaska just because it is not commonly added, it doesn't mean it won't have an effect if it is added. So, it makes sense to ask what will happen if we were to add it.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 14, 2014 at 15:32

1 Answer 1


Sugar stabilizes proteins and reduces foaming (salting in). I'm not sure how much sugar you'd need to add to your egg water to reduce dissipation and strand formation, but some protein structures are affected positively by sucrose concentrations below 30 grams per liter.

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    The source you linked tells us about foams in liquid protein. When we poach eggs, they don't foam. So, while I accept that sugar has an effect in modifying the protein unfolding behavior, I am not sure this is connected to poaching, where the proteins aren't unfolding anyway.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 14, 2014 at 15:35
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    The proteins in the egg are unfolding/denaturing when you put them in boiling water. That's a normal part of the cooking process. Under those conditions, sugars will still form nice hydrogen bonds to amino acids at the surface of the egg blob, stabilizing it a bit whilst the middle starts cooking/denaturing and gelling up. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denaturation_%28biochemistry%29 which includes a series of nice pictures of egg albumin denaturing as it is cooked. Jun 14, 2014 at 16:33

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