Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Egg Replacer

I would like to share with you a healthy substitution for eggs in baked goods. Understand though that I see nothing inherently wrong with eggs. In fact, I think they are a remarkable food, possessing a combination of nutritive properties not found in other sources.

However, I understand also that we need a suitable egg replacer when there is an egg allergy, when eggs are unavailable or when one is following a physician prescribed, egg-free diet.

What do I mean by suitable replacer? One that is real food AND that does the work of holding baked goods together as real eggs do. I do not consider Eggbeaters real food. Neither do the scientists who performed an interesting study on rats.

The picture below shows two rats from the same litter 6 weeks after birth. The one on the left was raised exclusively on real eggs from birth, while the one on the right was raised exclusively on Eggbeaters. Do you remember that Eggbeaters were advertised as having the same taste and nutrition as farm fresh eggs? Synthetic foods are just not the same!

MK Navidi and FA Kummerow, Pediatrics 53: 565-566, 1974. Thanks to Dr. Stephen Chaney.

So what is my suitable replacer? Well, you certainly couldn't fry this up in a pan, but it works for baking! It is ground flax seed mixed with water. Simple, right? (Stick with me here and I'll show you how it works.) The flax seed has a gelatinous property that will work to hold your baked goods together. And, flax seed is a rich source of fiber and important Omega 3 Fatty Acids. It's good stuff.

A long time ago, I read in Sue Gregg's cookbooks that flax seed could be substituted for eggs. I didn't try it because she gave a recipe for mixing up a whole batch and keeping it in the fridge for your baking needs. I never really had a need to keep the stuff around. However, the other week, I mixed up the first part of muffins only to discover that I didn't have any eggs. Instead of waste the already mixed ingredients, I decided to give the substitution a try. I only wanted enough to replace two eggs, so I had to make some alterations to Sue Gregg's method... later I found out that many people use the same "altered" method.

For every egg you want to replace, use 1 Tbsp of flax seeds, freshly ground...

(I used my coffee bean grinder to mill the seeds into meal.)

Then add 3 Tbsp of water for each Tbsp of flax seed. (I thought that it had to be hot water, but I've done it both ways and it doesn't seem to matter.)

Let the mixture sit for about five minutes, or the time that it takes to mix the other ingredients. Add it as you would the egg.

These are the Blueberry Muffins I made using this Flax Seed substitution. The first time around I made some Orange Almond Muffins. Both turned out very nicely.

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Sherean said...

I've NEVER heard of this. What a great tip!

Sharon said...

wow! i never heard of this one. What a great tip. And the picture of the test mice is very illuminating. Certainly makes the point!

Time to buy some flax seed.

Christian Frugal Mama said...

What an awesome idea! This would be a great way to add fiber and nutrition. Thanks!

Lori at The Davidson Den said...

So glad you stopped by my place! Because now I've found YOU!!! I am always looking for Real Food folks to teach me more, more, more. So now I'm gonna have to Follow you!! Besides, you have four kids. I have four kids. You have another one on the way. And I'm pretty sure I do, too. (Shh. Don't tell.) Oh, AND this tip ROCKS!!

Tonya said...

I've never heard of this, interesting indeed! But, the next time you need eggs, don't forget you can always check with with your neighor! :-)

busymomof10 said...

I've actually tried this one before! I learned this trick from the Two Sister's Cookbook. Have you seen that book?? They have some great recipes.

Sherry said...

Cool! Glad to know it works. I had heard of the substitute, but I've never tried it.

Cardamom said...

This is a great tip - I used it a while ago. However, I made one of our friends SO sick because I didn't know she had a severe flax allergy... so right now our house is a "flax free zone".

And THANKS for being a new follower! I'm surprised it took me a while to spend more than a few seconds over here... so many blogs, so little time!


Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

What a great tip! I would never have guessed that you could do that as a substitution. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...

That is a fantastic idea! I have yet to snag some of Sue Greggs cookbooks but they have been on my wish list for a very long time!

Melanie and Josh said...

I was in the middle of two batches of Banana Bread tonight when I erealized I didnt have enough I was excited to use this idea....sadly it didn't work too well for me....maybe because I didnt use FRESHLY MILLED flax seed....mine was from a box....or maybe the warm water is importantif the flax seed was from a box....oh well....the bread still tasted good...just kinda fell apart. I'll try to follow your directions precisely next time! :)

Amy Ellen said...

Hi Mel,

Yes, freshly milled is important because it oxidizes fast and once that happens, much of the good stuff is gone... it kind of dies.

:-) ae

Fruitful Vine2 said...

We had an online conversation about this sometime ago and I'm not sure how I forgot.

Budget is limited right now and I was lamenting the fact that I have to use the eggs left in baking instead of for eating. Then in getting caught up on blog reading through google reader here comes your post.

Thanks for the reminder.