The versatility of eggs
The protein-rich egg whites help in bringing the ingredients together. This prevents cake, bread or any dish from crumbling post cooking. A leavening agent is an ingredient that causes the batter or the dough to rise. The copious protein in egg whites adds to the form, texture and helps in producing an airy or fluffy product. Whipping egg whites makes them airy and light.
Fats don’t blend with water or any other liquid. Egg yolks help in the blending of fats (oil, butter, etc.) and also provide softness to the baked dish. Eggs blend with other components and help in burying moisture without making your baked product too wet or dense.
Eggs provide a golden glaze to the dish making it more appealing. In the presence of heat, eggs help in browning. This browning adds to the taste as well. Blend eggs with a little amount of liquid and coat it on the baked dish. This helps in shielding the moisture from getting lost. This also adds to the shine adding to the visual appeal.
Allergies associated with eggs
Allergy to eggs is estimated to occur in about 2% of children. There are many traits of egg allergies ranging from rashes, skin irritation, vomiting, digestive issues, etc. It is very rare for eggs to cause anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction). Egg-related allergies can even begin as early as infancy.
Egg-related allergic reactions:
- Hives or redness (inflammation) in the skin occurs very commonly.
- You tend to sneeze, have a runny nose and also experience congestion in your nasal cavity.
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and other digestive discomforts.
- Coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, shortness of breath or basically, you might also experience asthma-like
What about anaphylaxis?
It’s an intense allergic response and is life-threatening as well. You need to treat such conditions immediately. Inject adrenaline and admit the patient to the hospital. In rare cases, eggs cause anaphylaxis. Here are the following clues you can look for, to recognize an anaphylactic attack:
- Narrowing of airways, swollen throat or the patient may feel like there is a lump in his/her throat that can choke
- Pulse rate rises up
- Abdominal cramps or pain.
- The individual might experience a sharp decrease in the blood pressure (a state of shock)
- The individual might also feel dizzy or light-headed.
- He or she might become unconscious.
The best egg substitutes
A combination of vinegar and baking soda
In place of 1 egg, you can use 1 tablespoon of plain vinegar or apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Apple cider vinegar is rich in acetic acid and is produced by yeast using apple juice. The sourness and acidity are because of this acid. It is widely known for its benefits in terms of heart health, weight loss, dandruff removal, wound healing, etc.
So when you add baking soda to vinegar or apple cider vinegar, it will result in a chemical reaction where there is the production of water and carbon dioxide gas. This property adds to the fluffiness in cakes giving a light feel that you are looking for. This combination is helpful for making bread, cakes, and even cupcakes.
Buttermilk or yogurt
Bacterially fermented milk (yogurt or buttermilk) is also a helpful egg substitute. Buttermilk is more liquid in consistency. They are rich in calcium and protein and are also a probiotic. This replenishes the good bacteria in the gut. It is advisable to use plain yogurt flavored or the ones with added sweetness depending on how you want the final flavor of your baked dish.
You can include buttermilk or yogurt by mixing a ¼ cup of it in place of one egg. Cakes, muffins, or cupcakes can be made with this ingredient. Upon addition of yogurt or buttermilk, make sure you alter the other liquid ingredients accordingly.
Banana, especially the mashed banana is also a good egg substitute. Banana is potassium-rich and a fiber-rich food (both soluble and insoluble). Potassium from banana helps in lowering the blood pressure. Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like product that softens the stool and enables ease in bowel evacuation. Insoluble fiber more or less acts as a prebiotic. It feeds the good bacteria living in your gut adding strength to your immunity, digestion and bowel evacuation as well.
The drawback here is the banana flavor in the finished product. Other puréed fruits such as pumpkin or avocado can be used instead of banana. These fruits don’t impact the final flavor. Substitute one egg with one-fourth cup of fruit puree. This is applicable to any fruit. Fruit substitution works well for instant bread, muffins, cakes or brownies.
Agar-agar or gelatine
Gelatin is a gelling agent and can be used in place of eggs. It is highly proteinaceous and is also good for your skin. It is colorless and tasteless. It enhances better digestion and loosens up the wrinkles. Gelatin is also a good source of lysine which is good for your bones as it enables calcium absorption.
However, gelatin is extracted from animal bones and skin. In place of one egg, you can mix 1 tablespoon of gelatin (unflavoured) in 1 tablespoon of water (cold). Then, add 1 tablespoon of boiling water and mix until it becomes a frothy mixture.
If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, then gelatin might not be preferable. In such cases, agar-agar is a better alternative. Agar-agar is obtained from algae or seaweed. You can find gelatin or agar-agar powder (unflavoured) in many food stores. Mix 1 tablespoon of agar-agar and 1 tablespoon of water to compensate for one egg. A good thing is that these ingredients don’t impact the flavor of the final product. The resultant might be a slightly stiff product.
In a saucepan, combine apples, water, and some cinnamon or nutmeg. Cook till the apples are soft. Mash the softened apples to obtain unsweetened applesauce. Apples are a good source of dietary fiber. Apart from this, apples, the other nutrients present are highly antioxidant in nature. This is helpful to combat heart disease, cancer, and Applesauce also contains vitamin B, which helps in blood cell functioning and also improves brain health as well.
It is always advisable to use unsweetened applesauce. In case you are using sweetened ones, then reduce the amount of sweetened sugar added to the dish. Exchange one egg with a 1/4th cup of applesauce.
A soy milk product, tofu is also a highly proteinaceous food and a great egg replacement. More the water extruded out, more firm will be the tofu. Tofu also contains manganese, calcium, magnesium, selenium, etc. Selenium from tofu is a vital mineral which isn’t known well by many. This mineral pumps up the immune functioning as it enables the production of certain substances that provide immunity.
Selenium also lowers the levels of compounds that contribute to inflammation. You can replace one egg with one-fourth cup of pureed silky soft tofu. Silkened tofu is tasteless and heavy. It works well when used for brownies, cookies, cakes, etc.
Chia seeds and flax seeds work well too!
Flaxseeds also contain about 40% soluble fiber and about 60% insoluble fiber which enables in good bowel evacuation. They are also rich in amino acids such as glutamic acid which helps in the synthesis of blood pressure lowering components such as nitric oxide. Chia seeds are also protein and fiber-rich enabling weight loss effectively.
You can grind these seeds at home. In place of one egg, blend 1 tablespoon of flaxseed powder with 3 tablespoons of water. Mix it till the water gets fully absorbed to give rise to a thick mixture in the end. In place of one egg, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a blender along with 3 tablespoons of water. Leave the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes to allow it to thicken. Whip it with a spoon or a whisker and then mix it with other ingredients.
You will get a nutty texture or flavor as these seeds are dense in nature. It is best suited for muffins, cookies, pancakes or bread.
Potato starch, xanthan gum, corn starch or arrowroot starch can be good egg replacers as well. They are good for cakes and bread as they act as good binding agents. You can use them to thicken cake fillings and custards. These starch powders are commercially available and are effective binding and thickening agents. For one egg, use 2 tablespoons of starch powder and 3 tablespoons of water. Mix it well and then add to the other ingredients.
The final takeaway…
Egg substitutes are a great way to combat egg related allergies and also a good binding, moistening or thickening agent for vegetarians or vegans. There are many varieties you can choose from.
Gelatin is also good but its obtained from an animal source. You can opt for plant-based substitutes such as banana, flaxseeds, chia seeds, or apple sauce. Even the simple trick of vinegar and baking soda combination works wonders. Ingredients such as applesauce, banana or fruit pulps, or chia seeds, etc., provide added nourishment. Most of these ingredients are fiber and protein rich. Fiber helps ease up your bowel movements and proteins help in repair and recovery.
Ingredients such as banana influence the flavor of the final product but not in a bad way. In such cases, you can include neutral egg substitutes such as corn starch, agar-agar, etc. Chia or flaxseeds provide a nutty flavor. Depending on your requirement, choose an egg substitute that provides added benefits as well.
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