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Some home cooks use egg replacers in baking and cooking due to allergies, being vegan, or other dietary restrictions. But recently, shortages have led to an increase in the cost of eggs in many parts of the US This has created another reason to seek out a great egg substitute for baking or cooking.
A devastating outbreak of avian influenza in the US last year forced egg producers to cull their laying hens to prevent the spread of the disease. These producers have had to wait for the new hens to reach the right age for the most productive egg laying, which takes about four to five months. A New York Times article said that commercial egg production in the US has declined by about 7.5 percent each month since the avian flu outbreak.
Rising costs for fuel, animal feed, and egg packaging have also added to the rising cost of eggs.
Why eggs are so important in the kitchen
As Food52 points out, eggs are used in cooking for many reasons. They help to rise baked goods, thicken custards, emulsify sauces, and block crystallization. When eggs and yolks are separated, cooks can take advantage of the unique properties of the fat (the yolk) and protein (the white) to achieve different textures and flavors.
The Food Network notes that eggs add flavor, moisture and structure to baked goods while adding protein. They can also provide the glue that holds the sugar in the bottom of a cake while giving it a beautiful color.
But if you’re looking to cut your egg budget, here are some recommended baking and cooking egg substitutes you can try. Because eggs do so many things, none of them will be perfect, but they can help.
flax or chia
Both chia and flax can act as egg substitutes for baking. Mix one part of ground seeds with three parts of water, let stand until it starts to gel, then add. Food Network explains that flax and chia are best for baked goods that don’t require fluffiness the way a cake does. So try it on muffins, cookies, or waffles.
The Kitchn thought chia seeds were the best option, saying the chia-based muffins were light and tender with an added crunch. He found that adding flaxseed made the rolls denser and grassier, but he also suggested arrowroot as an option.
applesauce or oil
Applesauce is a good egg substitute for baking when you only need to replace one. That’s because too much will change the texture of your baked goods. It’s best as a binder, not when you’re looking to make something light and fluffy. Applesauce also adds a bit of sweetness but not too much extra flavor to what you’re making. And you can also substitute it for oil or butter if you lack them for a recipe. Substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce for each egg.
Similarly, oil can be used when an egg is needed as a substitute, but more can make your recipe too oily. The Kitchn suggests a mixture of two tablespoons of water, two teaspoons of baking powder, and one teaspoon of vegetable oil as an egg replacement.
Unlike very firm tofu, silken tofu is soft and blends easily into recipes as an egg substitute in baking. It also works well if you’re making fake scrambled eggs. Eggless Cooking suggests using 1/4 cup of silken tofu for each egg and says that this egg substitute for baking cakes, bread, chocolate chip cookies, and brownies makes them more dense and moist.
Nicolette of Home-Cooked Roots says that silken tofu is ideal as an egg substitute due to its high water content and smooth, creamy texture, which is good for replicating fluffiness in different egg dishes.
Mashed bananas work well as a binder and to add moisture to your recipes in lieu of eggs. You’ll get that banana flavor in your recipe if you use it as an egg substitute in baking, so be sure to try the bananas. Since bananas are starchy, your baked goods may be more gummy as a result.
Leaftv suggests using half a banana for each egg. Be sure to mash it with a fork. You can also add a little extra baking powder to make up for the lack of yeast.
The water you find in a can of chickpeas is also called “aquafaba”. And it can be a great egg substitute for baking, especially when you want to substitute beaten egg whites. Chickpea-infused water can be whipped until foamy or white peaks, depending on what you want it to do in your recipe.
According to The Kitchn, use three tablespoons of aquafaba for a whole egg or two tablespoons for one egg white. A can of chickpeas can offer up to 3/4 cup of liquid.
carbonated water or beer
Carbonating sparkling water or beer is another good egg substitute for baking. It will act as a leavening agent instead of eggs. An obvious example where beer works well is in beer bread, which is a recipe that never had eggs to begin with.
This Wife Cooks says that this particular substitution works best with cakes, muffins, breads, and other baked goods that have a lighter texture. Use 1/4 cup of carbonated water for each egg.
Store Bought Egg Replacement
If you want a store-bought egg replacer for baking and cooking, Epicurious found that Bob’s Red Mill 100% Vegetarian Egg Replacer baked the most evenly cooked, best-tasting bagel. It is made from soy flour, wheat gluten, and dried corn syrup and becomes a sauce when combined with water.
Egg replacers can often be found with regular eggs in the refrigerator section. If they don’t need refrigeration, look for them in the baking aisle or in the natural foods section of your supermarket.
Have you tried any of these egg substitutes before?