Many people are scared of making poached eggs ( including B&B owners ) and rightly so in my opinion! They are the type of egg most likely to go wrong. There can be nothing worse, when you have a full english ready to go, you pop your egg into poach & it goes terribly wrong.
There are, of course, egg poachers & pods & cling film methods. But I find most guests like to see a poached egg made in water with the egg white perfectly enclosing a runny yolk. So here's my method. I'd like to call it foolproof but that would be telling porkies. It does, however, have a high probablity of working out ok.....
First, choose your chicken. Your poached egg will work much better if you choose an egg from a young hen. As the hen gets older I find their eggs don't quite work so well. If you don't have your own chickens in the garden make sure you buy nice fresh free range eggs.
The eggs do need to be as fresh as possible. I try only to make poached eggs with eggs that are a few days old. The older the egg, the thinner the white and the more chance that they'll spread & disperse in the pan. I always use room temperature eggs but I know other people swear by cold eggs......my blog, my recipe :0)
Now you need to take a small pan and fill with water. Add a good slug of vinegar. I've seen some chefs using white wine vinegar but I just use ordinary white distilled vinegar.
The water needs to be at a fast simmer, so lots of bubbles on the top but not boiling. Break the egg into a small bowl. Stir the water so it's swirling. Don't go mad here or you could just find the egg being dispersed around the pan. Slip the egg quickly into the water and cross your fingers. Hopefully you'll get a lovely shaped egg. Simmer for about 3 mins 45 seconds. This will give you just set egg white & a runny yolk.
The trick I use to take the stress out of poached eggs is to pre cook them before I start on the rest of the breakfasts. Take a bowl & fill with water & lots of ice. As soon as your egg is ready plunge it into the iced water. This means you can prepare all eggs up front then, when the rest of your breakfast is ready, just reheat for a minute in boiling water. Use a slotted spoon to take the egg out, rest on kitchen towel to absorb the water then serve.