Egg substitutes for cooking and baking recipes

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If your recipe is good, start thinking about the usefulness of the egg. Does it provide moisture and grease? Does it bring stability? Is it mandatory or does it fix the other ingredients? Think about the food in question and what you want the result to be. Sweet and tender? Crisp? Smooth?

Let’s look at some possible situations.

Pastry shop. Leaving out an egg entirely and changing nothing else isn’t usually a good idea, says Moskowitz. His general rule is to add 1/4 cup of liquid per egg. Here are some of his vigils:

  • Milk: If you’re making something quite dense, like a chocolate cake, use 1/4 cup of milk of your choice in place of the egg. Moskowitz suggests making eggless French toast with soy milk doctored with turmeric for color and Indian black salt (kala namak) for that signature sour aroma and taste.
  • Flax: Whether using whole flax seeds or ground flour, Moskowitz recommends mixing 1/4 cup of liquid of your choice with 1 tablespoon of flax per egg in a food processor (especially a mini), a blender or a personal blender such as a Magic Bullet. She likes it especially for cookies and muffins. If you’re worried about too much flax flavor coming out when you want a more neutral flavor, you can reduce the amount a bit. For cookies, if you want a crispier result, also consider adding 1/2 tsp cornstarch per egg (or more for something crispier like a biscotti). To account for yolk loss, you can increase the fat in the recipe by about 1 1/2 teaspoons per egg.
    Similarly, Stella Parks, cookbook author and Serious Eats contributor, found that an oatmeal porridge made of two parts water and one part oats swapped as one for one by weight so that eggs are particularly effective in its vegan chocolate chip cookies.
  • Applesauce and Milk: Applesauce has long been a favored egg and fat substitute, and Moskowitz prefers using it in conjunction with milk — 1/4 cup of each per egg. Applesauce adds moisture, making it an ideal fit for quick breads, muffins, and chocolate cakes. You may get the applesauce flavor, or at least the sweetness, but in many scenarios that might not be a bad thing.
  • Silken Tofu and Milk: “It’s so old fashioned, but it’s still one of my favorites,” says Moskowitz. If the recipe calls for two eggs, use 1/2 cup silken tofu (alas, even tofu is a little hard to find these days) mixed with the milk or other liquid from the recipe. If there isn’t enough liquid to make it, use 1/4 cup tofu and 1/4 cup milk instead of 2 eggs. Try it in cookies, where the tofu will help the cookies set and you’ll get a brown, chewy result.
  • Aquafaba: This is the seemingly miracle liquid from a can of beans (often chickpeas) that has established itself as an egg substitute, especially in cases where you whipped egg whites, as with the Meringue. According to our own editor Joe Yonan, author of a recently published bean cookbook, 2 tablespoons of aquafaba can replace 1 egg white and 3 tablespoons for 1 whole egg. Her chocolate, red bean and rose brownies, for example, call for 2/3 cup. Moskowitz is less enamored with aquafaba – she’s gone so many years without it – but sees where it can help with custards and pies or help with airy foods such as cheesecakes.
  • Yogurt: Moskowitz rolls with plant-based ingredients, but pick your favorite. Use 1/4 cup per egg and expect it to shine in situations with good moisture, such as cakes, muffins, and quick breads.
  • Mayo: This one comes from David Joachim, author of “The Food Substitution Bible.” After all, mayonnaise includes eggs, and the spread may have the same emulsifying effect as what it replaces. Joachim says the swap is worth considering for cakes in particular, with 2-3 tbsp per egg. Expect a fluffy crumb. Check out Duke’s chocolate cake, which calls for zero eggs and 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise instead (that’s a really big cake!).
  • Other: The Kitchn just published a full side-by-side comparison of egg substitutes in baking muffins. I encourage you to take a look, if only to discover the surprising winners: sparkling water (first place) and a combination of water, oil and baking powder (second).

Breading. Many foods intended for frying require a layer of egg before breading. The typical three-step process is flour, eggs, then breadcrumbs. Instead of the egg, Moskowitz recommends a mixture of cornstarch and water, which when mixed forms a mush. It’s also an effective glue, and you might even notice more crispiness in, say, your Chicken Parm.

Mandatory. Even some veggie burger recipes call for eggs as a binder, along with side dishes like meatballs and meatloaf. Moskowitz says that with breadcrumbs in the mix, you might not need a binder at all. Tofu is a possibility here, as well as mayonnaise and oil.

Glazing. Egg washes are a standard finishing touch on a variety of baked goods. If you have some in the pantry, a glaze of melted apricot jam is nice, says Moskowitz. For something less sweet, opt for a mix of maple syrup and milk (she uses soy) or a mix of soy milk and flax. Again, manage expectations – nothing will be as shiny as eggs. On breads, even plain milk will give you decent browning and a bit of shine. For anything that fakes Italian (calzones, pizza rolls), Moskowitz will apply a mixture of marinara and oil as the finishing touch.

Other uses. If you can think of a situation where you need an egg, chances are someone else, like Moskowitz! – thought of a way to make the dish without one. She toyed with Hollandaise and carbonara made with cashew cream, flax-based mayonnaise, and deviled eggs with potatoes. “There’s really nothing where I am, I just can’t do it,” Moscowitz says.

We could all use that kind of spirit these days.

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