Whether you’re following a vegan diet, serving a guest with an egg allergy, or are simply out of eggs, there are many reasons to substitute eggs when baking.
Fortunately, it’s possible to create delicious baked goods without eggs, so long as you keep a few things in mind. Not all egg replacements are equal, and the best ingredient substitute depends on the type of recipe. Learn about easy egg swaps and how to use each one.
Why eggs are used in baking
When it comes to baking, eggs have several major functions. According to Penny Stankiewicz, chef-instructor of pastry and baking arts at the Institute of Culinary Education, they offer a good amount of fat, which is essential for top-notch flavour and texture. The egg white portion also contains protein, which gives structure to the finished product. As Stankiewicz explains, when eggs heat up, “the proteins coagulate or connect together, [which] contributes to the stability in a baked item.” Eggs also act as binders, leaveners, and sources of moisture, ensuring your treats look (and taste) good.
Egg replacements for baking
For this plant-based swap, use ¼ cup of mashed ripe banana per egg. Note that riper bananas have more sugar and moisture, so consider reducing other sweeteners and liquids in the recipe. Bananas will also “add flavour to the item, which is wonderful, but you’ll want to make sure that the flavour profile suits what you’re making,” says Stankiewicz. This egg swap can make recipes more tender, which is ideal for things like muffins, cakes, quick breads, and pancakes, she notes.
Aside from giving your baked goods a seasonal touch, pumpkin puree is excellent for replacing eggs. Use ¼ cup of pumpkin puree for each egg, says Traci Weintraub, chef and founder of Gracefully Fed, a meal delivery service and restaurant in Los Angeles. It works especially well in recipes that have complementary ingredients, such as cinnamon, caramel, and apples. Also, be sure to use pumpkin purée and not pumpkin pie filling, which is often sold near the puree. Or you can try making your own pumpkin puree using a sugar pumpkin.
“Generally, the rule of thumb is to [use] ¼ cup of applesauce per egg,” explains Weintraub. For the most straightforward swap, use unsweetened applesauce. If you only have sweetened applesauce on hand, she recommends reducing the sugar in the recipe to avoid overly sweet treats. Weintraub also cautions that this ingredient will make your recipe more dense, but adding an extra ½ teaspoon of baking powder will help lighten up the texture. Also, “applesauce [adds] flavour, so only use this swap in recipes where apple complements other ingredients,” she adds. Try it in blueberry muffins, banana bread, or cupcakes.
Ground flaxseed and water
Ground flaxseed, or flax meal, is a popular egg substitute in vegan baking. “When substituting flaxseed for egg, the general rule is 1 tablespoon of flaxseed and 3 tablespoons of water per egg,” shares Weintraub. Simply mix the two ingredients together, then let the mixture sit in the refrigerator until it becomes gelatinous, about 15 minutes. The consistency will help bind ingredients together, just like an egg. “Flaxseed adds a mild, nutty flavour to recipes, which is great for pancakes, brownies, and cookies, and [especially] banana bread,” adds Weintraub. However, it’s not the best for adding structure, so she recommends skipping this option when baking cakes.
For this egg substitute, use ¼ cup per egg. Depending on the recipe, yoghurt can make your baked goods extra moist and even gooey, which may be ideal. Cow’s milk yoghurt is also stellar for increasing the protein content of your treats. However, if you need to avoid dairy, you can use thick Greek-style plant-based yoghurts. Most other non-dairy yoghurts might be too thin to substitute for eggs in baking, so keep this in mind.
For a protein-rich vegan egg substitute, reach for silken tofu, also called soft tofu. Puree silken tofu in a food processor or blender, then use ¼ cup per egg. “When substituting silken tofu for egg, most baked goods won’t brown quite as well, [but it] will keep them very moist,” says Weintraub. She recommends using this egg swap for denser baked goods like loaf cakes, breads, and brownies.
Use ¼ cup buttermilk per egg in the recipe. Like eggs, this ingredient will help bind ingredients together while adding extra moisture. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine 1 cup whole milk and 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice, then let it sit for 10 minutes or until it curdles. Note that buttermilk has a tangy flavour, which may work well in cookies or brownies.
Thanks to the neutral taste of carbonated water, it’s an excellent substitute for eggs, says Weintraub. You’ll need ¼ cup of carbonated water for each large egg. “Compared to many other egg substitutes, carbonated water is best used in lighter recipes, such as cakes, cupcakes, and breads. The bubbles will trap air, leading to a light and fluffy finished product,” explains Weintraub.
This story first appeared on www.marthastewart.com.
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