What Vegan Egg to Use in your Baked Goods
If you are experimenting with converting baking recipes to a vegan version, you’ve probably run into the question of what to use instead of eggs. There are so many suggestions out there, it can be confusing to decide which one to use. The main guideline that we use here at Chaco, when converting or inventing recipes, is to ask what do we want our egg-substitute to do?
Eggs do a lot of things in baked goods: they act as a binder, as leavening, provide substance, provide texture, add color and add moisture. So it is important to figure out what the egg you are replacing is doing, before you choose a replacer.
Binding: our two favorites for this are ground flax and banana. Flax: The easiest way to use ground flax for an egg is to mix 1 teaspoon ground flax with 2 Tablespoons water for each egg you are replacing. Do this at the start of your recipe and as you let the flax sit in the water it will form a thick goo which can be mixed into your recipe as you would mix an egg. Pre-ground flax can be an iffy purchase as the oils go bad very fast. We grind our own flax fresh, but it will store in the refrigerator for a little while if you grind too much. Flax will add a nutty flavor to the baked goods. Banana: Baked goods with banana will have a fruity, sweet flavor, so adjust your sweetener down a tiny bit. The pectin in bananas helps bind the baked goods as does the protein. Use ¼ cup very well mashed banana for each egg. These work well to make delicious chewy chocolate chip cookies if you don’t mind the hint of banana in the flavor.
Leavening: Frequently, this can be as simple as increasing the baking soda or baking powder slightly – about ¼ t baking soda or ½ baking powder per egg. Remember if you are using baking soda you need something acidic to activate it. We usually use a baking soda/apple cider vinegar combination in our cakes and cupcakes. Remember to add a tiny bit more liquid to replace the liquid lost from removing the egg. Also, 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or tapioca starch with the dry ingredients can help with a little of the lost binding action, if you are not adding flax or banana.
Substance (for custards, quiches, puddings and whips): Our favorites are blended silken tofu and blended soaked cashews. Depending on your recipe you will most likely need a binder as well. Agar works well to create unbaked pastry creams, puddings and whips. Cornstarch and arrowroot work well in baked items. One trick is to add as little liquid as you can get away with, so that you are not trying to later subtract liquid by baking or binding.
Color: Lastly, if you want a hint of the yellow of the egg yolk, try adding a little bit of ground turmeric dissolved in your dry ingredients or a little bit of hot water. We’ve used this method to color lemon bars and custard pie, among other things. Use a light hand as you don’t want to taste the turmeric, however it is surprising just how much you can add before it starts changing the flavor.
Pictured: Strawberry Rhubarb Custard Tart – using both cashews and tofu with cornstarch and a little bit of turmeric for color – delicious early summer pie!
This post was created by Laura Wilson.