Baking Lessons: Egg Replacer – Quite A Try
Egg is an essential ingredient in most baking items as it provides structure, moisture and leavening. But at times, eggs are replaced due to various reasons. It may be due to egg allergy, vegan diet, or because eggs are out of stock.
Not to worry as we have a lot of options as egg replacers to bake delicious cakes, cookies and muffins.
Check out some egg replacers:
Fruit and vegetable purees — These are good for adding moisture and binding the ingredients together in dense and moist baked goods such as brownies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes, and waffles. Use 1/4 cup of mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce, avocado, pumpkin puree, or rehydrated and pureed prunes, raisins, or dates per egg. However, keep in mind that some of these may alter the flavour and sweetness of the recipe, hence amount of sugar or other flavourings need to be adjusted accordingly. As fruit and vegetable purees don’t provide much leavening, adding 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder per egg helps for a lighter texture.
Flax seeds or chia seeds — These are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and fibre, and they can also act as binders and thickeners in baking. To make a ‘flax egg’ or a ‘chia egg’, mix 1 tablespoon of freshly grounded flax seeds or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it forms a gel-like consistency. Use it in the recipes that require eggs mainly for binding and moisture, such as brownies, muffins, quick breads, pancakes and waffles. This gives the baked goods a nutty flavour and a slightly crunchy texture. For a lighter colour, use golden flax seeds instead of brown ones.
Aquafaba — This is the liquid from cooking beans or from a can of beans. It has a similar composition to eggs, as it contains carbohydrates, proteins, and other soluble plant solids that can emulsify, foam, bind, gelatinise and thicken. One can use 3 tablespoons of aquafaba per egg in recipes that call for eggs mainly for binding and moisture. Aquafaba is especially useful for making vegan meringues, macaroons, marshmallows, and whipped cream. However, it may not work well in recipes that require eggs for leavening or structure. It may impart a slight bean flavour to the baked goods.
Yogurt or buttermilk — These dairy products are good sources of protein and fat that can help provide moisture and flavour to the baked goods. Use 1/4 cup of plain yogurt or buttermilk per egg in recipes that call for eggs mainly for moisture and flavour. Yogurt and buttermilk also have some acidity that can react with baking soda to create some leavening. However, it may not work well in recipes that require eggs for binding or structure. The drawback is that it changes the texture and density of baked goods.
Silken tofu — This is a type of soft tofu that has a smooth and creamy texture. It is high in protein and fat that can help provide moisture and structure to your baked goods. You can use 1/4 cup of pureed silken tofu per egg in recipes that call for eggs mainly for moisture and structure. Silken tofu is especially good for making vegan cheesecakes, custards, pies, and quiches. However, it may not work well in recipes that require eggs for leavening or binding. Also, it may give your baked goods a slightly bland flavour.
Vinegar and baking soda — This is a simple chemical reaction that can create bubbles of carbon dioxide to provide leavening to the baked goods. One teaspoon of vinegar (white vinegar or apple cider vinegar) mixed with 1 teaspoon of baking soda per egg in recipes that call for eggs mainly for leavening. Vinegar and baking soda are good for making vegan cakes, cupcakes, quick breads and cookies. It may not work well in recipes that require eggs for binding or structure. The drawback is that baked goods have a slightly acidic flavour.
Commercial egg replacers — These are products that are specially designed to mimic the functions of eggs in baking. It contains a blend of starches (such as potato starch or tapioca starch), proteins (such as soy protein isolate), leavening agents (such as baking powder), emulsifiers (such as xanthan gum), and flavourings (such as vanilla extract). Follow the instructions on the package to use them as one would use eggs in various baking recipes. Egg replacers are convenient and versatile, but they may not be widely available or affordable. The drawback is that it may contain some additives or allergens that can be a challenge healthwise.
Considerations for egg replacers — Flavour: Egg replacers may sometimes impart their own flavours. Thus experiment with different options to find the best match for the recipe one is going for. Binding vs Leavening: Eggs serve different purposes in baking, hence choose the egg replacer based on binding, moisture, or leavening. Consistency: The texture of baked goods may vary while using egg replacers, so it requires a lot of trial and error. Compatibility: Egg replacer does not work well in all recipes. It is better suited for specific types of baked goods. Vegan and allergy-friendly baking: For vegan and allergy-friendly baking, it’s crucial to choose egg replacers that align with one’s dietary requirements. Ensure the chosen replacer doesn’t contain any allergens.
For The Road
Gradual Incorporation: If one is new to using egg replacers, start by replacing just one egg and gradually adapt the recipes to find the right balance. Adjust baking time and temperature while using egg alternatives, as it can affect the final product. Have patience: Don’t get discouraged if the first attempts with egg replacers aren’t perfect. Baking is a learning process, and practice makes us perfect.
Experiment, adapt, and don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen to achieve delicious baked goods without traditional eggs. The journey in mastering egg replacers may require some trial and error, but the results may be worth the effort.