In this article, we will answer the question “Can I substitute eggs for egg whites in baking?”, and what is the role of egg white in baking?
Can I substitute eggs for egg whites in baking?
Yes, you can substitute eggs for egg whites in baking. Replace 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute with 1 whole egg. To compensate for the egg yolk, add more sugar, vegetable oil, low-fat yogurt, or sour cream to your recipe.
Other substitutes for eggs in baking
Applesauce contains cooked apples flavored with nutmeg or cinnamon. Add ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce in place of egg to your recipe. When using sweetened applesauce, adjust the amount of sugar.
Replace one egg with ¼ cup of the mashed bananas. Other than pureed bananas, you can also use pureed pumpkin and avocado. This is a good substitute for cakes, muffins, brownies, and quick bread, the end-product will be moist and dense.
Ground flaxseed or chia seeds
Flaxseeds and chia seeds are rich in omega-2 fatty acids, minerals, and fiber. These seeds combined with water in a 1:3 ratio can be added to pancakes, waffles, muffins, bread, and cookies in place of eggs. The end product is nutty, dense, and moist.
Other non-dairy substitutes for eggs include commercial egg replacers, silken tofu, vinegar, and baking soda, yogurt or buttermilk, arrowroot powder, aquafaba, nut butter, soy lecithin, agar-agar or gelatin, carbonated water, etc.
Role of whole eggs in baking
An egg is one of the most important ingredients in baking and it performs a variety of functions that vary from recipe to recipe. We will discuss the few basic ones here.
For binding and moistening
Eggs are excellent binding agents. They hold all the dry ingredients of the recipe together and provide structural integrity.
Eggs are added to moisten the dry ingredients and create a softer and delicate crumb desirable for muffins, cakes, butter cookies, waffles, pancakes, etc.
Egg yolk has fat that contributes to the rich and creamy flavor of the finished product.
Whole eggs do perform leavening action not to the same extent as whipped egg whites alone can do. Chiffon cakes and souffle rely on the leavening action of whole eggs and have a very airy and light texture.
Role of an Egg yolk
100 grams of egg yolk is made up of 27 grams of fat. This fat has excellent emulsifying properties that help create a homogenous emulsion of fat and other liquids in the batter or dough. This prevents the fat and liquids from separating creating a smoother and silkier texture. Recipes like Custards, pastry cream, cakes, ice cream, creme brûlée, and curds deploy the emulsifying and thickening properties of egg yolk.
Apart from emulsifying, egg yolk helps thicken baked goods. It is because when the proteins are heated, they solidify and form a gel-like in custards and puddings. Too much heat results in curdling up the protein and it ends up looking grainy.
Role of an Egg white
Egg whites are used for their foaming abilities in baking. When the egg whites are whipped, they incorporate air molecules and form a foam-like structure. To stabilize this delicate structure, an acidic ingredient like cream of tartar, lemon juice, or citric acid is added.
This foaming ability of eggs is utilized to make meringues, souffle, sponge cakes, and pancakes. Using whipped egg whites in a recipe eliminates the need to use baking powder, baking soda, or yeast to perform the leavening action.
However, it is important to whip the eggs to just the right extent. Soft stable peaks are desirable. Whipping your eggs too much might result in too hard or grainy egg whites that are difficult to fold or incorporate into batters. You might end up with a dry crumb if you add too many whipped.
The air bubbles that are incorporated via whipping expand when exposed to high temperatures of the oven, resulting in leavening or rising of the dough.
Desserts and baked goods like pavlova, chiffon cakes, macarons, marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, and frostings are all the result of whipping egg whites with sugar. Sugar whipped with egg whites provides structural integrity to the frail foamy structure.
How to crack an egg
Strike the egg against a solid surface like a flat slab edge or the inside of a bowl. This prevents the shell from breaking into small pieces. If some eggshell pieces do get into your mixture, use another shell piece to remove it.
In this article, we answered the question “Can I substitute eggs for egg whites in baking?”, and what is the role of egg white in baking?