Eggs are one of the most indispensible ingredient used in baking. Eggs in a recipe performs overlapping functions. Authentic, traditional old school baking was done with eggs. Eggs contribute to various functions in a baked goodie.
In this post I will be running through some basic things we need to know about eggs in baking.
About whipping egg whites, will write a complete post on that, there is really that much about whipping egg whites.
In baking when the recipe calls for eggs, it implies these :
- Eggs laid by hens.
- large eggs specifically about 60 grams each. But you can definitely use other egg sizes, but measure accordingly and use. More on that further in the post
- white or brown colour does not really matter, (the colour depends on what the hen has been fed with).
- room temperature eggs (unless specified otherwise)
Egg Whites and Yolks
The Egg Whites What does it do to your
The white part in the egg is called the albumen, and it constitutes the protein. When an egg white alone is used in a recipe,
- Incorporating millions of airbubbles while whipping egg whites, give a fairly stable foam, which helps in to lighten & leaven a cake, a dense batter like that in chiffon cakes, where egg whites whipped to a soft peaks is folded into the batter.
- Some recipes require the egg whites to whipped to hard peaks which can be piped.
- for eg : meringues, baked alaska, pavlova
- Cooked egg whites are used in frostings like swiss, french and italian meringue butter cream
- Egg whites alone do not tend much to the flavour as compared to whole eggs or egg yolks
- the egg whites does much of the leavening in a recipe.
- The yellow part or the yolk acts as an emulsifying agent and contributes to fine texture, because it contains fat and lecithin. egg yolks contribute to the fine texture of a baked good, when the water content and the fat content in the egg is combined.
- The egg when beaten with sugar until ribbon stage like in cakes gives the baked good a creamier taste , finer crumbs, a light lift to the baked good.
what do eggs do in Baking ? Function of eggs in Baking
Eggs contribute to a various different roles, based on the kind of recipe it has been used in. Eg: in a cake, egg contributes to flavour, provides structure, moistens the batter, and a leavener too.
Most important functions of an egg are:
- Structure : Eggs when combined with flour and helps creates a structure
- Thickness : In custards, souffles, pastry cream eggs contribute to thickness
- Leavening : Eggs help in leavening of baked goodies, like in certain cake recipes, egg is an only ingredient that aids in leavening. Like when an egg emulsifies with sugar.
- Flavour: Eggs tend to give a wonderful richness, creamy flavour to a baked item.
EGG SIZES & WEIGHT, TYPES, COLOUR
Oh yeah..!! there are numerous sizes of an egg.
- Small, medium, large and extra large. Usually large eggs are used in recipes. I have used large eggs in all my recipes in the blog here.
- A large whole egg weighs about 60 gms of which 1/3 is egg yolk and 2/3 is the egg white.
- In UAE, we have small, medium large and extra large
- There are also free range, organic, golden eggs, eggs rich in omega 3 and many more. I have used free range eggs, for the simple reason it being extra on flavour, richer in vitamins and omega 3.
Heres a small table to help you understand better.
HOW TO MEASURE EGGS IN BAKING
- Eggs are generally measured by the number, ie if the recipe specifies 1 large egg, it means you are going to crack one large egg into a bowl.
- Now, if in case you have to measure eggs in some in grams or in ounce, you will crack an egg into a bowl, beat it lightly so its homogeneous and then measure in on a kitchen scale.
How to Store eggs ?
- Once you bought them, you have to store them in the main storage area of the refrigerator. Do not store them on the refrigerator door.
- The shell tends to catch odours pretty quickly & keeps the yolk centered; so always store them in their carton pack, as you bought them.
STORING LEFTOVER EGGS
Some recipes have a combination of eggs going in. Like it may have 4 egg yolks, 2 egg whites or may be 3 whole eggs and 2 egg whites. In such cases how to store the leftover eggs
- whole eggs that has been cracked open may be stored in an airtight container. It stays good for up until 3 days stored in refrigerator.
- Leftover egg yolks, beat it lightly and store in an airtight container.
- unbeaten egg yolks can be stored by adding a little cold water. drain them before use. This helps in preventing a dry skin to form over the yolk.
- Raw egg whites can be stored in the refrigerator with a cling wrapped on it for about 4 days.
Eggs can be frozen too. I have not tried that. But, if you have tried freezing them and used them, do let me know.
TESTING FRESHNESS OF EGGS
- Best way to tell the freshness of the egg is to see if it floats or sinks in water. If it floats, then its an old egg. If it sinks, the eggs are fresh.
- Another way is to see the ‘Best before Date’ or sometimes printed on the egg.
- In baking recipes, you want an egg that sinks in. ie a fresh egg.
- An older an egg is, the more it loses its weight, water content, protein and fat coagulating.
So all you remember is you need fresh eggs to bring out the best of an eggs function to that baked goodie thats it.
OTHER MARKET FORMS OF EGGS
generally, in bakings, Fresh eggs are used. However there are other forms of eggs that a baker may use. It is always good to know an idea of what are the other types of eggs
Shelled frozen eggs are a good replacement for fresh eggs, and convenient to use. You just have to thaw them in the refrigerator for one or 2 day before using them.
Similarly frozen egg whites and yolks are available seperately and they need to be thawed in refrigerator before using.
- These are eggs with water removed and made available in powder form, and are generally using cake pre mixes. These are not feasible for chiffon cakes and in bakes that require eggs as a leavening or batters that require volume.
- Dried egg whites (meringue powder) are used to make meringues and royal icing cookies.
- If you want to use raw eggs in any recipes like royal icing , or mousses you use pasteurised egg whites or pasteurised eggs in shells (available in certain markets)
The other option is go for other forms of egg whites like meringue powder.
If there are any doubts regarding this or any other post.. I am just a comment away.. !!
DO’s and DONT’S while working with Eggs
Some DO’s & Don’ts while working with eggs
- Keep an assigned bowl only for eggs
- Eggs should not cross contaminate with any other ingredient or food substance.
- Eggs are best stored for 3 to 5 weeks and not more than that.
- Clean hands after use of eggs
- Do not crack eggs directly in the mixer or into the bowl of the batter, chances are tiny pieces of shells might be a part of the batter, which you can never get rid of. SO always crack them in one bowl and then add them to the mixer
So as a person who is baking with eggs, you need to make sure that the eggs are cooked in all your finished goods (which usually happens, because eggs start to cook at 145ºc)
With this, its a wrap with eggs in baking, But there will be more on the whipping techniques in a seperate post. I came up with this because, there are loads of information about using eggs which type and why and so on.. I have consolidated to create useful information that we naive home bakers will have to know while baking with eggs or any ingredient to bake with.
Also do feel free to let me know what else i can update this post.. Anything missing or anything that is too much.. !! Anything let me know down in the comments.
While all this is about eggs, do let me know if you have any doubts about using eggs. Connect with me @sweetspotbakeblog.