Repetitive practice is supposed to increase proficiency of a given skill, which makes the idea of your stovetop getting covered in egg yolk every time you crack one open a rather puzzling outcome.

If you find yourself faced with plucking bits of shell from your scrambled eggs, there is hope. You just need to learn to crack eggs the scientific way.

Writing for Popular Science, Hanna Bolaños spoke with Volker Blum, a materials scientist at Duke University. According to Blum, it’s best to crack an egg at its flattest part—the middle. The center mass of the egg is less resistant to force than the top and bottom, which have curvature and can potentially hold up better to being knocked against a pan.

Having identified the spot where you can inflict the most damage, one efficient crack should be all you need. While using the lip of a bowl or pan is common, it’s actually better to give it a swift tap on a flat surface. This prevents bits of shell from flying back into the yolk or white.

Once the egg has been breached, make the crack large enough for your thumbs to fit into it. Here’s the key part: You want to pull at the shell with enough force to keep the cracked edges expanding. But if you’re too aggressive, the shell will just fall apart. Take an even, measured pace and the yolk will spill out intact.

If you still find yourself with some shell bits in your breakfast, there are two simple ways to fish them out. You can use the discarded eggshell as a scoop or wet your finger and swipe it. Be sure to wash your hands after touching the raw egg.

[h/t Popular Science]