How do egg replacers work?

by Laurie Gorton
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Thinking about replacing a part or all of the eggs in your baked foods? Water plays a major role in making such liquid-to-dry reformulations work, but you also need to match up the functionality of the replacer with the role eggs — wet or powdered — play in the original product. That’s the standard by which all formula adjustments must be judged.

Baked goods are highly diverse and range in complexity, and so are the approaches to replacing ingredients of any kind, not just eggs. “Many formulas will be direct replacement of eggs with egg replacers,” said Kathy Sargent, manager, bakery applications, Corbion Caravan, Lenexa, KS. “When baked goods that are heavily dependent on egg products for functionality are targeted for high levels of reduction, adjustments may be necessary.” The company offers Cara-Eg and Bro-Eg egg replacers.

The amount of egg in the control formula guides the amount of replacement possible. “For example, some baked foods contain less than 5% egg,” said Bill Gilbert, certified master baker and principal food technologist, Cargill, Plymouth, MN. “Here, egg functionality — aeration, structuring — is less critical to finished product quality. For these uses, the solution is EmTex 06379, a modified food starch. And we already have bakers using it.”

He continued, “In more complex formulations — high-ratio cakes to angel food cakes — egg functionality is more critical. That’s why we created the Geloden functional systems. These mimic the aeration and structuring ability of eggs, and bakers can achieve 50% replacement.”

Water is important here. “When dealing with dried whole egg or dried white, the GemPro wheat protein isolates are a direct replacement,” said Ody Maningat, PhD, vice-president of R&D and technical services, Manildra Group USA, Shawnee Mission, KS. “There is no change in water required. But when working with replacing liquid eggs with a dry replacer, or even dried eggs themselves, the baker will have to do the bakery conversion of liquid to dry, which is 4.17 lb liquid whole egg for 1 lb dried. But when replacing dried eggs with an egg replacer in powder form, there is no change in formulation.”

Exploring the use of wheat protein isolate in the company’s GemPro line, Dr. Maningat worked not only with Kansas State University’s Wheat Quality Lab but also took those results to customers for field testing. “They experienced success like that noted at Kansas State,” he observed. One customer worked with cake muffins at 35% replacement and pancakes at 50%, the other with cakes at 50%. The tests went well.

Some adjustments are simply in procedure. Amanda Wagner, food technologist, Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, WI, explained explained that the only deviation from the reference formulation and the baker’s original procedure “includes pre-mixing Citri-Fi with other dry ingredients.” The replacer provides drop-in substitution with only the need for additional water to replace the liquid of the eggs.

In higher percentage substitutions, “the formulator may have to adjust sugar, flour, water and oil,” Ms. O’Neill observed. “The sugar level is important because egg replacers can cause baked foods to brown more than desired. And you’ll want to watch your absorption, too.

“The whole idea is to match your control,” she added. “To do so, you may have to make adjustments.”

And don’t forget to consult the experts: the suppliers. Jon Stratford, sales manager, Natural Products, Inc., Grinnell, IA, said, “A key point we are trying to communicate to all our potential new customers is to lean on the supplier for assistance in prioritizing their reformulation projects.”

 

Editor’s notes: For a slideshow of egg replacer ingredients, click here. The July 2015 issue of Baking & Snack carries full coverage of the egg situation and egg replacer ingredients.

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