Vegan Wonder

Cracking the Code: Vegan Egg Substitutes for Baking Perfection

The Egg Dilemma

Baking without eggs might seem like an insurmountable challenge, but fear not! With a little bit of knowledge and a lot of trial and error, you too can master the art of vegan baking. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore various vegan egg substitutes and techniques to help you create moist, fluffy, and delicious cakes, cookies, and more.

The Role of Eggs in Baking

Eggs play a crucial role in baking, contributing to the final texture, moisture, and rise of baked goods. They act as:

  • Binders and emulsifiers, holding ingredients together and creating a smooth batter
  • Leavening agents, adding air and causing baked goods to rise
  • Structure builders, providing stability during baking
  • Moisture reservoirs, releasing water as needed during baking
  • Sources of richness and flavor

When eliminating eggs from a recipe, we must consider how to replicate these functions using other ingredients.

Vegan Egg Substitutes

Throughout history, bakers have turned to various plant-based ingredients to function as eggs in baking. Here are some popular options:

Flax and Chia Seeds

One tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds mixed with three tablespoons of water can be used as an “egg” in recipes like cakes, muffins, and quick breads. This mixture is known as a “flax egg” or “chia egg” and works by binding ingredients together. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes to thicken before using it in your recipe.

Aquafaba (Chickpea Liquid)

The liquid from a can of chickpeas, also known as aquafaba, has gained popularity as a vegan meringue base. To make aquafaba meringue, whip one cup of aquafaba with an electric mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Use this vegan meringue to make meringues, pavlovas, mousses, and buttercream. Aquafaba can also be used as a direct substitute for whole eggs in baking, though it may slightly alter the flavor and texture of the baked good.

Commercial Egg Replacers

There are several commercial egg replacers on the market, such as Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer and Flax4Less Egg Substitute. These products typically consist of a pre-measured blend of flours, starches, and leavening agents, which are mixed with water to create a binding agent similar to a flax egg. When using these products, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, as the proportions of water and egg replacer may vary from recipe to recipe. You may also need to adjust the amount of leavening agents in your recipe when using commercial egg replacers.

Silken Tofu and Pureed Fruits/Veggies

Blended silken tofu can be used as a binder in cakes and cookies, while pureed fruits or vegetables like applesauce, banana, and pumpkin can add moisture and structure to baked goods. For every egg, use 1/4 cup of pureed fruit or vegetable or 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of silken tofu. Note that using these ingredients as egg replacements may slightly change the taste and texture of the baked goods.

Experiment with these egg substitutes to find your favorite and see how they affect the final product. Keep in mind that some egg substitutes may require adjustments to the recipe, such as increasing the amount of leavening agents or vinegar, or changing mixing techniques.

Vegan Baking Techniques

Beyond choosing the right egg substitute, there are other baking techniques that can help ensure success when baking vegan. Here are some tips:

  • If using baking powder or baking soda as a leavening agent, increase the amount by 25%. For example, use 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder for every cup of flour instead of 1 teaspoon.
  • Add a little bit of vinegar or lemon juice to your recipe when baking with baking soda. The acid will react with the soda, providing lift to your baked goods.
  • When making bread or dough that requires kneading, be sure to knead it thoroughly to develop the gluten structure. This is especially important when baking with alternative flours or egg substitutes.
  • Chill your dough before baking to help it hold its structure and rise properly. This is particularly important when baking quick breads like banana bread or muffins.

If your baked goods turn out dense, dry, crumbly, or fragile, try one or more of these techniques to improve the texture and structure of your vegan baked goods.

Perfecting Your Vegan Baking Recipes

Now that you have a better understanding of vegan egg substitutes and baking techniques, it’s time to put that knowledge to use! Below are some classic vegan baking recipes that have been tested and proven to turn out great.

Classic Chocolate Cake

This vegan chocolate cake is a crowd-pleaser and a great place to start your vegan baking journey. Use aquafaba or silken tofu as the egg replacer in this recipe.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

These chewy vegan chocolate chip cookies are made with flaxseed “eggs” and are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Be sure to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking to help the cookies hold their shape.

Fluffy Blueberry Muffins

These vegan blueberry muffins are light, fluffy, and packed with juicy blueberries. Use unsweetened applesauce as the egg replacer in this recipe.

Decadent Lemon Bars

These tangy and decadent vegan lemon bars are made with a shortbread crust and a silken tofu-based filling. Use silken tofu as the egg replacer in this recipe.

Extra Tips

  • When baking with flaxseed or chia seeds, grind them in a coffee grinder or blender before measuring them out. This will help them absorb water more quickly and form a better “egg”
  • Be patient when baking with aquafaba. It may take longer to whip up than chicken egg whites, but the end result is worth the wait.
  • Experiment with different plant-based milks when baking with commercial egg replacers. Some brands may work better with certain milks than others.

Happy baking, and remember to have fun experimenting with different vegan egg substitutes and techniques!