Eggs have a wide range of functionalities that make them seem a bit irreplaceable. They can provide texture, emulsification, color and flavor to baked foods, said Marissa Stubbs, ingredients account manager, bakery, Agropur.
Nevertheless, the ingredient doesn’t come without its own issues. Egg prices can be volatile, and storage an issue. By decreasing or replacing eggs in their formulations, baking companies can potentially reduce costs and gain greater flexibility in the face of unpredictable ingredient markets
Before making the switch, many bakers wonder how much reduction is possible before product quality is impacted.
“The answers to this can vary depending on the particular product and the type of egg being replaced,” said, Matt Gennrich, senior food technologist, R.&D. bakery applications, Cargill.
Between Cargill’s three lines of egg replacement solutions — Prolia, EmTex and Gelogen — bakers can replace up to 50% of whole, white or yolks in any bakery product, according to Mr. Gennrich. EmTex modified starch can replace up to 25% of liquid whole eggs in cakes and pound cakes, 50% in muffins and 50% of egg solids in cookies.
“EmTex mimics the processing and emulsifying properties of eggs, providing essential structure and texture in cookies, pancakes and muffins,” Mr. Gennrich said.
Prolia soy flour helps maintain moisture and mimics fat, replacing 25% of liquid whole eggs in muffins and 25% to 50% in cookies and pancakes. Gelogen functional systems use a combination of modified food starch, soy flour, lecithin, monoglycerides and diglycerides and carrageenan to replace up to 50% of whole, yolk or white eggs in high-ratio cakes.
“Gelogen systems mimic many of the functional aspects of eggs in these applications, including aeration and structure,” Mr. Gennrich said.
In cakes and other tough-to-reformulate products, 50% replacement is a feat.
“Historically, only about 30% of eggs were able to be replaced,” said Rob Nordin, Southeastern regional sales manager, Brolite Products. “Now with Brolite’s Eg-Ceptional, a baker can replace up to 50% of eggs in cake formulations without sacrificing quality.”
For yeast-raised product that replacement jumps up to 100% without a noticeable difference in finished product quality.
Corbion has focused much of its egg replacement research on batters and cakes for the very reason that they are often the most difficult to reformulate without eggs.
“For example, some of our latest solutions are designed to help ensure shelf life and color in cakes and batters, two for the biggest challenges associated with these products,” said Kathy Sargent, strategic innovation director, Corbion.
Corbion’s Spice Color Blend uses a concentrated mixture of vegetable pigments and corn flour to maintain the natural yolk color and overall consistency and appearance of eggs.
The company’s Function Plus portfolio is designed to replace either whole eggs or egg whites in a variety of applications. Function Plus 100 and 200 can replace 25% to 75% and 50% to 100% whole eggs in cakes and chemically leavened batters respectively. Function Plus 150W can replace 50% to 100% egg whites in sweet baked goods, providing structure without a crumbly texture. Function Plus 250W can help chemically leavened angel food cakes maintain product volume, resilience and texture with up to 30% egg white replacement.
Brook Carson, vice-president of product development and marketing, Manildra USA, has learned in her experience whole eggs are often easier to replace than egg whites, but the application also matters greatly.
“Systems like angel food cake can be the most challenging because it relies so heavily on the unique aeration provided by eggs,” she said.
Manildra uses its range of wheat proteins to provide strength and structure to egg-free formulations.
“Because of this, we can match film forming and aeration, strength and resilience, and other combinations of attributes by selecting the proper wheat protein,” Ms. Carson explained.
Manildra’s GemPro proteins provide one-to-one replacement of eggs based on solids, and the specific ingredient chosen depends on the application and its finished desired attributes. For example, GemPro Plus can provide the structure and resilience lost when whole eggs are removed from a cake. In a cookie, GemPro Prime-E or GemPro Prime-W provides tenderness in the bite. GemPro Prime-W can also provide whipping and aeration.
“It’s important to keep in mind that when replacing eggs, the absorption may need to be adjusted slightly,” Ms. Carson said.
That’s because plant-based replacers tend to absorb more water than eggs, according to Rob Thomas, account manager, Natural Products, Inc.
“We spend a lot of time making adjustments to the water volume to achieve similar absorption rates as in the control formula,” he said.
Natural Products has discovered many adjustments that can be made to approximate eggs in formulations over the years.
“We have found that introducing a late-acting leavening offers benefits in some formulas along with getting creative with protein content of the wheat flour or adding some xanthan gum,” Mr. Thomas said. “In cookies, we have found it to be beneficial using a combination of cake and pastry flour to fine-tune the spread of a cookie.”
While eggs might be a challenge to replace, in some applications more so than others, it’s not impossible. With a wide range of ingredients at the ready and knowledge of egg functionality, bakers and ingredient suppliers can find the right egg replacement solution.
This article is an excerpt from the October 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on egg replacers, click here.