Are you wondering why are eggs used in baking? Well, read on to find the answer to your question!
Eggs are incredibly versatile and multifunctional. The purpose of eggs in baking can vary, depending on what you are trying to achieve for a specific dish. The incredible, edible egg can be used in a variety of different ways but is mostly used for firmness, flavor, binding, and leavening.
Whether you’re whipping up a lemon meringue or batch of chocolate chip cookies, eggs play a key role in bringing your favorite desserts to life. The joy of using eggs is in the fact that they contain several different components and you can use the yolk or the whites, or both.
Anatomy of an Egg: What’s in it?
As a baker, you are most concerned with the yolk and whites, also known as the albumin. Depending on the freshness of the eggs, the albumin will vary in consistency. Hence, when whipping, you’d prefer an older egg with less white. It’s much easier to whip thinner whites into an even thinner mixer for baking.
Eggs consist of 12% fat, 13% protein, 73% water, and 2% minerals. A whole egg is around 80 calories, for those on the keto diet.
This is just a quick rundown of the components of eggs but you may still be wondering what do eggs do in baking? Well, we’d love to answer that question! Basically, eggs have a field day when added to any dish. More specifically, eggs react differently based on the dish they are added to and the parts used. So, let’s get into more details.
What do Eggs Do in Baking?
When incorporating whole eggs, structure from protein is often added to a dish, and coupled with starches, produces balanced results. However, if too much egg is added, you may end up with a chewy, dry, or tough dish. Since the majority of the egg is water, they add a nice amount of moisture, but if not properly measured, they can have the opposite effect.
Browning is another function of eggs in baking. It is a result of Maillard reactions, which is what happens when proteins are heated up. They can also lend a yellowish shade to dough and batters. Additionally, they contribute to the plethora of flavors in your favorite cakes, in part due to the fat from the yolk, which absorbs other flavors in baking. This fat also helps in shortening gluten.
Function of Egg Yolk
Egg yolks make up about a third of the egg and provide shortening and tenderizing properties to your favorite dish. This adds depth as well as a great amount of color. Batters made with just yolks are usually rich in fatty acids and vitamins, with a more pronounced “eggy” flavor.
Egg Whites Role
Egg whites contain 86% water, with most of the volume of egg and none of the calories for those on the keto diet. It’s no wonder why egg whites have become such a popular alternative to using whole eggs. This part of the egg has a unique drying effect on baked dishes since the water activates the gluten without the balancing effect of the fatty yolk.
White cakes highly rely on the addition of egg whites since they lack color and flavor. This brings natural flavors to the forefront. However, you will still achieve a wonderful browning color due to the Maillard chemical reactions.
Egg Cooking Techniques and Texture
Now, making custards and puddings is a whole different story and post altogether. But, the texture really depends on the ratio of liquid to egg that is used and how it is cooked. Usually, custards are baked in a water bath with the batter, surrounded by water in a pan. This helps the mixture develop a creamy, silky texture.
Clearly, the egg is one of the most multifunctional and malleable ingredients to cook with. That’s why we love them! Send us your thoughts on our Facebook page on how you use eggs in your favorite dishes.
If you have any additional questions or just wish to speak to our baking experts, feel free to contact us. Until next time, happy baking!