Eggs are pretty incredible. Not only are they healthy but they’re also very versatile. This makes them quite popular in a wide range of recipes. But why does almost every recipe call for eggs? Eggs are an essential baking ingredient; they serve several purposes in baking without which baked dishes would be dry, flat, and flavorless. They add to the stability, color, taste, flavor, structure, and consistency of the baked dish in the following ways:
- Binding: eggs are instrumental in combining the ingredients in a recipe and holding them together. This is very crucial in preventing the dish from falling apart and, therefore, giving it structure.
- Leavening: eggs play a role in trapping air in baked dishes causing them to expand when heated. This helps the foods to rise, adding to their volume as well as light and airy texture.
- Moisture: the liquid part of eggs is absorbed by the other ingredients and this is helpful in adding to the baked food’s moisture content
- Flavor and appearance: eggs help bring the flavors together and thus improve the taste of baked goods. Additionally, eggs cause the baked dishes to turn golden-brown in appearance.
Why would anyone need to replace the eggs in a recipe?
There are several reasons why you need to find a replacement for eggs in a recipe. Some of these reasons why people avoid eggs are for personal health, environmental, or ethical reasons. Also, it might happen that you’re midway through preparing a dish then you realize that you left your carton of eggs at the store.
Fortunately, there are plenty of egg yolk replacement options as we’re going to see in the next part of this article. But before we get to that, here are the main reasons why some people avoid eggs:
Eggs are a common allergen especially among infants and young children. While some of them become tolerant and outgrow this allergy as they age, others remain allergic to eggs their whole lives.
- Dietary preferences
If you follow a strict vegan diet, you are not supposed to consume any animal products including meat, eggs, or dairy. Vegans adopt a plant-based diet for health benefits, environmental preservation, and animal welfare.
Egg Yolk Substitutes
Egg and egg yolks are needed in baking almost everything from meatloaf to muffins. However, if you don’t eat eggs you need to find alternatives to egg yolks that you can use for cooking.
Let’s explore some items that may be used as substitutes for egg yolks:
Note that the quantities may vary depending on the recipes. Also, if the egg yolks add color to the dish but the substitute doesn’t, feel free to add a few drops of food color to create the same appearance. However, don’t go overboard with the color as the dish will end up looking unnatural.
This is by far the easiest way to replace egg yolk in a recipe as it has similar properties of holding the ingredients in a recipe together. Lecithin is a flavorless and odorless binding agent that’s made from soybeans.
Use one tablespoon of soy lecithin (about 14grams) in place of one egg yolk
You can find this at your local supermarket or health food store.
- Flour Blend
You can also use a mixture of wheat flour, chickpea flour, water, and oil as a substitute for egg yolks. Ensure that you mix well until it’s in the right consistency after which you can add to your recipe.
The flour blend may also be refrigerated for later use. Make sure that you store it in an airtight container.
- Silken Tofu
Tofu adds great texture to dishes that call for lots of eggs. Considering that it’s quite dense compared to eggs, mashed or whipped tofu is ideal for recipes for making thick dishes like chocolate pies, pound cakes, and brownies.
Tofu is mainly used for its binding capabilities. It also has a mild flavor but you don’t need to worry about it overpowering the dish.
Use a quarter a cup of tofu in place of one egg yolk.
Do you need to replace the whole egg? Try these:
Applesauce is made by pureeing cooked apples – you can either make it at home or buy it at the store. It adds lots of moisture to the dish and also works well as a binder.
Use a quarter a cup of applesauce for cakes and sweet quick bread. If you are looking for extra leavening power, add a half tablespoon of baking powder for each quarter cup of applesauce.
Note that you can also use other fruits such as bananas and avocado to make the puree. Other types of puree that can be used as egg yolk substitutes are pumpkin pure and mashed potatoes.
- Chia seeds or flaxseeds
When mixed with water, ground chia seeds and flaxseeds have a similar consistency to that of eggs. This makes a popular alternative for baking recipes. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the chia seeds into a powder. Alternatively, you can buy the powder from your local supermarket. Add the powder to water and let it sit for a few minutes before using it. You don’t need to stir.
Chia seeds and flaxseeds are a great substitute for baking bread, cookies, pancakes, and muffins. However, they don’t work well for light and airy dishes as they give a dense dish. Also, a lot of flax adds a nutty flavor to the dish so it’s ideal for making muffins and brownies.
To substitute, use one tablespoon of chia seed or flaxseed powder in a quarter cup of water.
If you’re looking for egg yolk substitutes, then the above-listed options will serve you well. While some of the substitutes are ideal for heavy and dense dishes, others work better for light and fluffy dishes.
Getting it right the first time you work with a substitute in your favorite recipe might be challenging. You need to experiment with several alternatives before you can finally find one that works best for you.