Baking without eggs – what to use instead

January 10, 2020 6:41 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Maybe it’s an allergy. Maybe it’s a special diet. Maybe you don’t have any in the house. Maybe you’ve all gone vegan. For whatever reason, you need to bake – and you can’t use any eggs. How are you going to do it?

No eggs? Here's what to use instead.

Non-egg baking recipes

An obvious place to start is by baking things that don’t use eggs anyway. Most bread doesn’t contain eggs, and neither do most biscuits and cookies. You’ll never find an egg in a flapjack recipe – and if you’re worried that you’ll never eat chocolate cake again, check out this option here: https://aseasyasapplepie.com/moist-chocolate-cake-no-eggs-no-butter/. If you’re suddenly obliged to bake without eggs, the simplest option is to find out which of your existing favourite recipes are unaffected.

All-purpose egg replacer

The next easiest option is to reach for an all-purpose egg replacer. At Naturally Good Food, we stock this variety from Orgran and this from Free and Easy. They can be used in all kinds of baking, from sponges to meringues. They’re made up of ingredients like potato flour, tapioca flour, cream of tartar, xantham gum and methylcellulose, which together, act like real eggs in recipes.

These are popular egg substitutes, with clear directions for use when you need either the yolk, the white or the full egg. They’re strictly for baking purposes (you can’t make an omelette out of them!). They’re lower in cholesterol than actual eggs and have the further advantage that you can take just as much powder as you need, without having to buy expensive eggs, some of which may end up being wasted.

Alternatives: for different purposes

The most important thing when substituting for egg is to have a clear idea of what the original role of the egg is in the recipe. For example, eggs are generally used to ‘leaven’ (raise) cakes, making them lighter and fluffier. In biscuits, muffins and cookies, they have more of a ‘binding’ role, adding moisture. In some recipes, they’re really only there to provide a decorative glaze or as a kind of ‘adhesive’ for breadcrumbs. Let’s take a look at some possible alternatives for all these purposes.

Good substitutes for leavening (raising)

Vinegar and baking powder: for a leavening effect, try 1 tbsp vinegar mixed with 1 tbsp water, plus 1 tsp baking powder.

Yoghurt and buttermilk also produce a certain rise, as their acidic nature reacts with other leavening ingredients.

Good substitutes for binding

Flaxseed (linseed): flaxseed has a gum in its coating that becomes thick and gelatinous when the seeds are ground and combined with water. You can buy flaxseed ready-ground or grind your own into a powder using a coffee-grinder. Ground flaxseed is a good option for binding the ingredients of baked goods together, especially when a certain ‘nutty’ taste would enhance the flavour.

Arrowroot powder, potato starch or cornstarch: all of these have binding properties when combined with water.

Mashed bananas: either on their own, or combined with almond or cashew nut butter, these help to bind other ingredients, although they do produce a fairly heavy result (great in pancakes)! Some people also swear by mashed pumpkin or squash, for the same result – I can recommend this in scones, particularly, where the vegetable gives a lovely yellow colour without noticeably affecting the flavour.

Good substitutes for adding moisture

Silken tofu: if you blend this until smooth and creamy, it adds moistness.

Pureed fruit: apple and other purees work well in gooey-type cakes and brownies.

Yoghurt, buttermilk and cream: these are all good options, if you’re happy to use dairy products.

Vegetable oil: perfect for when you need just a little bit of moisture. Coconut oil is a popular choice, as it brings richness without an overly oily taste.

Good substitutes for adhesion

Flour and water: when you’re looking to use something to attach a coating such as breadcrumbs, a flour and water paste can work well.

Good substitutes for glazing

Try brushing the top of the bake with one of the following, instead of egg:

A quick word on meringues

It was the Great British Bake-Off 2019 that brought us the revelation that the liquor from canned chickpeas (aquafaba) can be whipped up to produce egg-free meringues. If you’re using dried chickpeas, then your own cooking water can be used instead, and other pulses also work (though not always so well). There’s simple science behind it: the protein from the pulses leaches out into the water, giving it much the same composition as an egg white.

If you’ve got any other recipes that call only for the white of the egg, then aquafaba is again often a good substitute.

Good luck!

Whether you make your own alternative, or simply keep a supply of Egg Replacer in the cupboard, these tips should enable you to say goodbye to sad, deflated sponges, defeated pancakes and crumbly cookies. As sure as eggs is eggs!

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This post was written by Yzanne

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