Replacement of eggs in pastry making!

Understanding the role of ingredients as substitution

Replacement of eggs in pastry making!
Senior Pastry Chef Michelle Peris.

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Written by Senior Pastry Chef Michelle Peris at The Academy of Pastry & Culinary Arts

A lot of people may not consume eggs for several reasons that include being vegetarian by choice, culture or religion, allergies, dislike towards the taste or also a particular diet, like veganism.  And hence there’s always a need to convert an egg based recipe into an eggless one.
Eggs play a pivotal role in a recipe from cakes and cookies to meringues and pastry cream — whole eggs create structure and stability within a batter, they help in binding and providing sufficient moisture to hold the ingredients together, egg yolks help thicken and emulsify sauces and custards, they add moisture to cakes and other baked goods, and can even act as glue or glaze, egg whites can be whipped to create an egg white foam. This foam is filled with tons of air which helps to lighten and leaven baked goods
However, there are some places we just cannot replace the eggs. If a recipe calls for more than 4 eggs, it is important to remember if you substitute this quantity you will end up with a completely different product, owing to texture, fluffiness, taste etc.
When we are looking to replace eggs in a recipe, we need to understand the role of an ingredient and the purpose we are substituting it for.
It can be broadly divided into 4 categories:
1.    Binding
2.    Moisture
3.    Leavening
4.    Thickening/ Emulsifying
The following lists the various ingredients that can be used as a replacement for Eggs.
1.    FRUIT PUREES
Mashed Bananas, apple sauce, pumpkin puree, avocado. Pureed fruits that have high pectin content works great as pectin enhances the binding effect.
Adds moisture to baked goods, also works well as a binder. Sweet purees can be added for quick breads and cakes, brownies and muffins. It is important to remember that they also impart a strong flavour. It also results in a fairly dense product.
Pureed fruits that have high pectin content works great as pectin enhances the binding effect.
¼ cup of Puree for every 50gms of Egg / 1 egg.

2.    FLAX SEEDS/ CHIA SEEDS
Flax seeds are a versatile ingredient. Popularly called as flax egg, it is made by grinding the flax seed into a fine powder and then combining it with water to form a gel like texture.
The flaxseed meal absorbs water and becomes gelatinous. Also imparts a nutty flavour to the product.
How it works?
The outer seed coating of a flaxseed contains a gum that becomes really thick once ground and mixed with water. This new thicker substance works as a great emulsifier and binder, helping the structure of baked goods.
How to make?
For flax egg – 1 tbsp of flaxseed dissolved in 3 tbsp of water, allow to gelatinize for 10-15 mins, replaces 1 egg / 50gms of egg.
For flax meringue – Bring to a boil, then simmer 1/3rd cup flax seeds in 3 cups of water till slimy, strain, chill it, then whipped. It isn’t bake stable, but can be used as a meringue in mousses, buttercream, puddings, purees to lighten and add airy textures. Can also be sweetened with sugar.

3.    SILKEN TOFU
Silken tofu is creamier, lighter than regular cotton tofu. It makes the product slightly dense, but works great as substitute in pancakes, brownies, custards, pies and quick breads.
It needs to be beaten and made creamy before being used. It can also be mixed with a little water or liquid to ensure more moistness.
To substitute for the custard in a quiche, blend silken tofu with milk or cream till smooth.
¼ cup Silken tofu replaces 1 egg/ 50gms of egg.

4.    NUT BUTTERS
Nut butters make a healthy substitute, full of healthy fats, just like eggs. They add a strong flavour to the final product. Also adds fibre and protein to the baked goods. Any nut like, peanut, cashew, almond, walnuts, pecans, pistachio can be used.
To make nut butter, roast the nuts in a pan or in the oven, blend in a mixer with a little sugar and oil as required to make it creamy. 
It works as a great binding agent in cookies, pancakes, waffles, brownies and muffins. 
3tbsp of nut butter replaces 1 egg / 50 gms of egg.
5.    YOGHURT
Preferable Greek yoghurt to be used as it doesn’t contain water/ whey. If using regular yoghurt hang it for a while and then use with as little water as possible. 
Yoghurt works great to provide moisture, to keep a product soft and also aids in activating Baking soda, which makes goods fluffy and light. Mainly used in cakes and brownies. It can also result in a slightly dense product.
1/4th cup yoghurt replaces 1 egg/ 50 gms of egg.
6.    STARCHES
Starches are best used to thicken or to bind something.
Arrowroot powder– from arrowroot plant, works great to thicken sauces, add creamy texture ,/ works great as a gluten free alternative to cornstarch. Can be used as a slurry for sauces,  lightens products when used in addition to almond flour, replaces wheat flour makes products less dence. Arrowroot substitutes for eggs as a binder too. 
Cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca powder, custard powder are common starches used for thickening.
2tbsp of any powder with 3 tbsp of water replaces 1 egg/ 50gms of egg.
Apart from the starches, 1 tbsp agar agar or gelatine mixed with 1 tbsp water can also be used for thickening. 
7.    MASHED POTATOES
Mashed potatoes work great as a substitute for eggs in breads and bread rolls. Makes for an airy texture and soft crumb.
8.    BAKING POWDER
Baking powder contains Baking soda, cream of tartar and cornstarch. Usually double acting in nature, works as a great leavener for any product.
1 tsp Baking powder per cup of flour. Works in combination with any liquid, doesn’t have to be acidic. 
2tbsp Baking powder+1tbsp oil + 3tbsp of water can also work as a replacement for 1 egg.
9.    BAKING SODA
Baking soda, also called sodium bicarbonate is a leavening agent which requires an acidic medium to get activated and form a chemical reaction.
Acidic mediums involve – buttermilk, yoghurt, lemon juice, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, applesauces, cocoa powder or honey.
Baking soda is 3x stronger than Baking Powder. 
1/4tsp Baking soda per cup of flour can be used.
For every egg, 1tbsp baking soda + 1tbsp vinegar works as a replacement.
10.    EGG REPLACEMENT POWDER
Usually made of potato starch, tapioca starch, leavening like baking powder, psyllium husk, egg replacement powders are commercially available. Instructions to use are usually mentioned on the packaging.
11.    XANTHAN GUM
Xanthan/ xantana is a gum is produced by bacteria fermenting on sugars present in corn.
It is a gummy substance, dehydrated, ground into a powder. Used for binding, thickening, as a stabiliser and to add texture.
¼ tsp xanthan gum dissolved in 1/4th cup of water.
12.    AQUAFABA
Literally translated to water bean, it is the residual water from a can of beans, popularly chickpeas.
Aquafaba is a great substitute for egg whites and whips up very nicely, it is also bake stable.
The starchy water works as the replacement for egg white, usually 3tbsp is used to replace 1 eggwhite.
If required for binding, whip the aquafaba slightly till foamy and then use.
If required as a substitute for meringue, whip the aquafaba till soft – medium peaks ( depending on usage)
13.    BUTTERMILK 
Buttermilk can be used in a similar manner to yoghurt, for binding and to add moisture to a cake. 
1/4th cup of buttermilk + baking soda can be used to replace 1 egg.
14.    MILK
Milk is the most versatile ingredient that can be used as a replacement for eggs, mainly in binding and for moisture.
15.    SOSA INGREDIENTS
Sosa a leading manufacturing company from Spain has made alternatives to a variety of ingredients in the market. 
Potato protein/ Potato whip – protein that is chemically extracted from the starch of potatoes,  it works as a gelling and emulsifying agent. Used as an albumin substitute , it is also beneficial for soy and milk protein allergens. Can be used for foams, meringues, mousse, macarons. It is very stable and resistant to heat upon baking as well. 
Soy Protein / Soja whip : modified soy protein, whips firmly, stable and can be used for meringues, macarons, foams. Not as bake stable when compared to potato protein.
Inulin – Food fibre obtained from roots and tubers. Forms gels that hold water. Is a great substitute for egg yolks/ fats in mousses. Icecreams and helps make creamy products. 
Gelcream – great substitute for yolks again, works as a thickener, and provides a custard like texture.

To summarize the above information, when looking at the various categories where eggs work, the following ingredients can be considered.

BINDING

LEAVENING

MOISTURE

THICKENING

Milk, cream, yoghurt, oil, flax egg, buttermilk, condensed milk, fruit purees

Baking powder, baking soda, carbonated soda, aquafaba, flaxseed water

Fruit purees ( mashed banana, avocado, applesauce, pumpkin), yoghurt, dairy products, tofu, flax gel

Agar, pectin, Xanthan gum,  tofu for quiche , cornflour, Arrow root powder,Tapioca starch, potato starch