Being vegetarian is in fashion today. Reams upon reams of studies are being published around the world on the harmful effects of meat and all things non-veg. Meat and fish can be easy to give up but not eggs. This is primarily because eggs are not simply to be ingested but their very properties aids in the cooking process too. Hence, while egg replacer and chickpea flour are good egg substitutes for omelettes or quiches, replacing eggs in vegan baking is a bit tricky and requires a certain degree of expertise.
When you add eggs to a baking recipe there is not much you will get in terms of flavour or taste of eggs. However, they help in the baking process in three ways. The first is that eggs harden when heated and thus holds the ingredients together. Second, they also act as a leavening agent and help the baked recipe to rise. Finally since eggs are a liquid with high fat content they provide moisture and richness to the food. Because of these qualities, it is extremely difficult to substitute eggs with other ingredients in a baking recipe.
However, here are some alternatives that you can try out with not too much difference in the ultimate taste.
- Flax seeds – An excellent binder on the lines of egg is flax seeds. Its nutty flavour is ideally suited for pancakes and wholegrain baked items. The flax seeds have to be very finely ground and not mixed in whole form. When flax seeds are powdered and mixed with water it becomes a hydrocolloid or a gel like binding agent. However, flax seeds do not have leavening properties so it should be used only in recipes where baking soda or baking powder has to be added to make foods rise. Hence if you are buying cakes in Hawthorn from a bakery that specialises in eggless cakes, you can be sure that flax seeds powder have not been used individually but in conjunction with a rising agent.
- Egg replacer – There are many brands of egg replacers and all of them do a good job as egg substitutes. These products contain starch and leavening agents and are the closest that you will get to replacing eggs with anything else in baked recipes. Egg replacer is made from potato and tapioca starch and is free of eggs, gluten casein, yeast, diary, tree nuts, soy and peanuts. Mixed with water, egg replacers are ideal for cookies, muffins and eggless cakes.
- Baking soda and vinegar – Ever noticed how mixing the two creates bubbles? This is how you can add a touch of airiness and fluffiness to vegan baking recipes. One teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar mixed is the perfect replacement of one egg. Apple cider vinegar will do too for white vinegar but that might give the dish a funny taste.
- Mashed bananas – Eggs add moisture to a baked item and this is where mashed bananas are useful as a replacement for eggs. They are not there as a leavening agent and therefore have to be used in tandem with something like baking soda. However they add a certain typical sweetness to the recipe as well as a great flavour. As bananas add sweetness, you have to accordingly adjust the sugar content in the baked item. Add half to one mashed banana as a substitute for one egg. You can also try applesauce as egg replacement and have a fruity flavour to the food.
- Silken Tofu – Like eggs, it is flavourless too. It adds density to the batter of baked dishes and hence is ideal for brownies, breads and cakes. Tofu not only adds moisture to the recipe, it enriches the quality of nutrients as it is high in protein. The tofu should be pureed if you want to avoid chunks of it in the dish. Use one-fourth cup of pureed tofu for 1 egg.
Apart from these ingredients, you can also use chia seeds and arrowroot powder as egg substitutes in vegan baking.