Ideal toast soldier should be margarine, not butter, experiment reveals

04 October 2011

Science has proved that the ideal toasted 'soldier' to be dunked in your breakfast boiled egg should have margarine on it and not butter.

The 12-girl chemistry experiment, conducted by the Royal Society of Chemistry, at a new 2.5m science facility at Sherborne Girls' School, Dorset, established some vital facts about boiled eggs and soldiers.

For a scientifically-exact boiled egg breakfast you will need:

  • A large egg (room temperature)
  • Boiling water in a pan
  • White bread
  • Margarine
  • Toaster
  • Knife
  • Kitchen timer


  1. Set your kitchen timer for 3:30
  2. Gently lower your room-temperature large egg into your pan of boiling water
  3. Start the kitchen timer
  4. Slice/prepare your bread for toasting
  5. When the timer runs out, reset it for 2:30, restart the timer
  6. Immediately start toasting your bread on a medium heat
  7. When the timer runs out, remove the egg from the water and place it into an egg cup, and remove the toast from the toaster
  8. Spread margarine on your toast and cut into 1.5cm strips
  9. Serve and enjoy

Girls holding boiled egg and toast solider

Sixth-form student (above right) Rosanna Younger, 17, whose hypothesis that "applying margarine to toast will produce stronger soldiers than applying butter" added: "It has been really interesting find a strong trend in such a short time. We kept the experiment simple, focusing on one aspect of boiled eggs and soldiers. I love butter on my toast but I might just have to swap over to margarine in future to ensure strong soldiers!"

By considering the individual variables under the supervision of Professor Hal Sosabowski, the girls established the following:

  • Margarine makes a stronger soldier than butter 
  • White bread makes more effective dunking soldiers
  • Optimum toasting time is 2.5 minutes
  • The perfect soldier dimension is 1.5cm in width
  • The perfect boiled egg takes six minutes to cook from room temperature in boiling water  

Links of Interest


Kitchen Chemistry

Looking at chemistry that is used daily in kitchens both in homes and restaurants, and which makes the food we eat more pleasurable.


Chemistry in your Cupboard

The chemistry behind nine different household products from Nurofen to Dettol

Related Links

Link icon Secret of cooking the perfect boiled egg cracked
A group of schoolgirls claims to have discovered exactly what makes the perfect egg-and-soldiers breakfast, according to the Daily Telegraph

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