Why are eggs used in baking?
- Binding: Eggs help to combine ingredients and fuse them together in one mixture. Binding is essential to give food its structure and prevent it from crumbling and falling apart.
- Leavening: Eggs trap pockets of air in food, which causes the mixture to expand as it is heated. This is what allows cakes, soufflés and meringue to rise while maintaining a light, airy texture.
- Moisture: Eggs are made from liquid, which is absorbed into other ingredients in a recipe during cooking to add moisture to the finished article.
- That golden brown: Eggs act as a conductor for the flavours of other ingredients and turn a beautiful golden brown when exposed to heat. They also improve the taste of baked goods.
Why use egg substitutes or replacements?
According to Healthline, egg allergies are the second most common food intolerance among children causing health problems such as eczema, nausea, stomach pain, stuffy or runny nose and shortness of breath.
Those who follow a vegan diet cannot eat eggs, precluding them from munching on a vast range of classic desserts and baked goods almost all of which are laced with egg.
What pre-made egg alternatives are on the market in Australia?
Ready-made egg replacers are generally made from a mixture of potato starch, tapioca starch, and baking soda.
Australian Accredited Practising Dietitian Courtney Dinnerville suggests using a ready-made egg replacement like Orgran No Egg, which is egg and gluten free.
This substitute is an excellent binder and provides a believable egg-like consistency perfect for quiches, cakes and cookies.
13. Carbonated Water
According to Healthline, carbonated soda water is an excellent leavening agent, trapping air bubbles in the cooking mixture which helps to make the finished article light, fluffy and moist.
This substitute is best used for sponge based cakes and light muffins.
How much to use: Egg vs. Carbonated water
For an alternative solution, replace every egg with roughly 60 ml of carbonated water.
Perhaps the least known egg replacement is aquafaba, the culinary cum scientific term for the gloopy liquid left over when cooking beans, chickpeas or legumes.
The substance has a similar texture to that off uncooked egg white, making it an ideal egg white substitute for treats that require whipping like meringue, macaroons or marshmallow.
How much to use: Egg vs. Aquafaba
Three tablespoons or approximately 45 grams of aquafaba are equal to one medium sized egg.
11. Silken Tofu
Tofu is simply soy milk condensed down and pressed into bite size chunks, making it relatively flavourless but ideal for adding to the denseness of baked goods.
According to This Fox Kitchen, it works well as an egg substitute in brownies and pancakes, but is not recommended in light and fluffy dishes like angel food cake.
It is also ideal for savoury snacks like omelettes and frittatas.
How much to use: Egg vs. Silken Tofu
Substitute a quarter cup of pureed tofu for every egg required in the recipe. According to dietary site My Darling Vegan, tofu has no leavening properties so you’ll need to add a pinch of baking soda with every three chunks.
If you’re after a creamy alternative to eggs, the answer may already be in your fridge in the form of natural yoghurt.
Vegan Australia suggest using a non-dairy yoghurt to add moisture and sweetness to muffins and sponge based cakes.
How much to use: Egg vs. Yoghurt
Each regular sized egg should be substituted with around 60 grams of plain, natural and unflavoured yoghurt.
9. Chickpea flour
Rich in protein, chickpea flour is an expert binder and leavener making it the perfect egg white substitute.
My Darling Vegan report it is the best egg replacement for biscotti, scones and thick base cookies.
How much to use: Egg vs. Chickpea flour
Mix three tablespoons of chickpea flour with three tablespoons of water for every egg you need, stirring until thick and creamy.
Originating from India and Pakistan, Chickpea flour can be found online from Woolworths or in most good health stores.
Banana is an excellent binding and thickening agent, as is pumpkin and sweet potato, making any of these kitchen staples an ideal swap for eggs.
Slightly increasing the amount of yeast, baking powder or baking soda if the recipe contains a leavening agent will also help the batter rise.
Remember using this substitute will likely leave your dish with at least a mild sweet flavour of banana, which may be a good thing for things like doughnuts, bannoffi pie base and quick breads.
How much to use: Egg vs. Banana
To substitute each egg, use half a banana as replacement mashed into a puree.
But bakers beware - bananas aren’t useful as egg white replacements, only where the recipe calls for whole eggs!
7. Vinegar and baking soda
Trying vinegar as an egg substitute works well in fluffy baked goods such as cakes and quick breads.
Eggless Cooking, a lifestyle site that specialises in what to use instead of eggs when cooking, advises aspiring chefs to use either white distilled or apple cider vinegar per preference.
How much to use: Egg vs. Vinegar and baking soda
Two tablespoons of lemon juice can also be used as a replacement for one tablespoon of vinegar if you have none to hand.
Perfect for creations where egg is used to enhance moisture, like banana bread, muffins, brownies and cupcakes.
Applesauce also adds a creamy sweetness to the mix while being a significantly healthier alternative to eggs, particularly when it comes to heart health.
Just remember your cake will have a distinct apple-y flavour!
How much to use: Egg vs. Applesauce
Use one quarter cup (about 65 grams) of applesauce to replace one egg in most recipes. It's best to use an unsweetened variety.
5. Mashed potato
Replacing butter and milk in vegan recipes is a cinch, but finding a suitable 100 per cent dairy free egg substitute can be a little trickier.
PETA recommend using instant mashed potato as a good alternative for binding ingredients.
How much to use: Eggs vs. Mashed potato
Use 2 tablespoons of instant mashed potatoes to replace one egg in recipes that are meant to be dense.
4. Peanut butter
If you’re baking brownies, blondies, muffins or soft cookies, peanut butter makes a delicious and convenient egg alternative.
This all-American favourite creates a luxuriously creamy texture and sweet-but-salty flavour.
How much to use: Egg vs. Peanut butter
Vegan Australia advise adding three tablespoons of smooth peanut butter as replacement for every egg stipulated in the recipe.
3. Water, oil and baking powder
When you substitute eggs with a whisked concoction of water, oil and baking powder in cookies and biscuits, you would never know the difference.
How much to use: Egg vs. Water, oil and baking powder
Lifestyle and recipe giants SheKnows advise whisking up two tablespoons of water, one teaspoon of standard corn oil and two teaspoons of baking powder as a replacement for one egg.
Repeat and add more as needed.
2. Vegetable oil
Baking without eggs is possible with the aid of one generic cupboard item: vegetable oil.
Just go steady with your hand, as too much oil could make the batter oily and greasy.
How much to use: Eggs vs. Vegetable Oil
Add a quarter cup of vegetable oil for every egg needed to bake completely sans dairy.
If you are confused about what to use instead of eggs, look no further than the nearest health food counter for a bag of flaxseed.
Finely ground flaxseed makes an world class binder and is also a great source of protein, but it does boast a nutty, grainy texture which The Kitchn say is best kept for savoury style breads and pancakes.
Chia seeds are another great plant-based egg alternative and suitable for almost all healthy baked treats because of their neutral flavour.
They’re also an excellent source of protein and fibre, helping to promote digestive health and reduce cholesterol levels.
How much to use: Eggs vs. Flaxseed
The basic ratio is one tablespoon of ground flaxseed and three tablespoons of water as a replacement for one egg.