Turns out there is more than one way to unboil an egg. This time, it’s with the stuff that’s in your pee. Seriously

Report image
Image: Scientists unboil an egg (with the chemical in your wee)

Clarice / CC-BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr: bakethebread

What, we hear you cry? Unboiling an egg! Has the world gone mad? No, it's just got a bit scientific on us.


French chemist and molecular gastronomy giant (and inspiration to Heston Blumenthal) Hervé This discovered some years ago that it is indeed possible to unboil an egg with the help of some sodium borohydride.


Prepare your mind to boggle some more because a new bunch of scientists have discovered that they can unboil eggs with another chemical too – the stuff that’s in your pee.

First things first, what happens to make your egg turn from goop to good? Well, when an egg is heated the proteins in the egg white tangle together to form a solid. Got it?


When scientists from the University of California Irvine and the University of Western Australia added urea (yep, this is where the pee comes in) to a hardboiled egg, they found that it broke down the proteins and returned the egg to its liquid form.


And why would you do this? Well, the answer won’t be much use to the food world as it was originally designed to help reuse the “gummy proteins that you spend way too much time scraping off your test tubes.”


However, they did hint that this process could be used in cheesemaking. The study said: “Industrial cheese makers, farmers and others who use recombinant proteins also achieve more bang for their buck.” 


Cheese with urea, anyone? Mmm. We. Can't. Wait.