I was literally just talking with the Misses about boiling eggs this morning and how it comes up often on byc that people have problems peeling them. Let's start of with the egg itself(regardless of age). Shell, memrane, white and yolk. When you boil the egg and the cooking process begins the white and yolk expand sometimes enough to crack the shell and sometimes not. Most of the time the membrane will remain intact. This membrane is critical in my opinion when peeling an egg. Now with store bought eggs, most commercial eggs are not "fresh" sometimes weeks old before they make it to shelves. Now if we consider the amount of time a store egg sits around prior to use then the degrading strength of the membrane isn't that far fetched of an idea. These eggs also mostly come from chickens whose living conditions are certainly not as ideal as any backyard flock, this also affects the eggs structural integrity from how hard the shell is down to how easily the yolk breaks when an egg is cracked open. I crack open 10 or 12 dozen commercial eggs every brunch and always notice the difference between them and my own. The backyard hard-boiled egg comes from a chicken with a healthier diet and over all better general health and living conditions than its counterpart. These eggs are almost always certainly cooked within a few days or couple weeks tops. Which can atribute to a stronger membrane to deal with. Onto cooking the egg. There are several methods to choose from. I usually boil them like most others but do have a steamer setup the sits over one of my pots. Everyone will swear by their own method from this point on. If I am boiling them this is how I do it. Pot of water. I'd say a tablespoon of salt(I just use my hand so it's a guess). Bring the water to a boil. Add one more egg than the amount you plan on cooking. When I am adding the eggs if their not for presentation I try to get each one to crack slightly as I drop it in the water. At 13 minutes pull out one egg with some tongs and crush it open, if the yolk is nearly solid with a small speck of soft yolk the are done, that much will finish off on the rest in the time it takes to break that egg. If theryoir to much soft wait 3 minutes and the rest will be done. Remove pot from heat and drain water, run cold water into pot until the water remains cold in the pot. During this stage is when I give a good crack to every egg, break the seal so to speak. Once they have cooled completely you can start peeling. Take out your egg and gently roll it under your palm to crack all the way around the egg. Here is where the membrane comes into play, when pick your first piece of shell take note if you peeled this up as well. The shell can peel without the membrane or pull membrane and egg with it if your not pulling the rest of the shell off from the edge of the broken membrane. Running under cold water or using the pot water helps too. If I'm going for a better looking peeled egg I'll steam them. I still check one, shock them, crack them, and peel them the same way. They just end up looking less oddly shaped from the crack the boiled ones have while cooking. Either way I cook them I still peel them just after. My reasoning for this comes back to the membrane again. If you toss them in the fridge in the shell the membrane tissue tighten back up essentially shrink-wrapping your egg. Again, not as much of an issue with older eggs produced by chickens with less favorable conditions. This is all merely my own experience. A.