Before getting into the how egg replacers and some of their benefits, it might first be useful to talk about the role of eggs in baking. In most recipes, eggs act as a binding agent, helping to hold all the other ingredients together. They also provide structure, add moisture, and help emulsify liquids and fats together to make a smooth batter.
Commercial egg replacers aim to fill a similar role using starches, gums, and sometimes gluten. They are always mixed with water or another liquid to add moisture to recipe as eggs do. The tendency of flax meal and chia seeds to form a gel when mixed with water also make them ideal egg replacers.
While egg replacers are indispensable for vegan baking, they are also a great option for anyone with high cholesterol or an egg allergy. Plant-based egg replacers of free of cholesterol and saturated fat, and many are also free of common allergens.
Ener-G Egg Replacer is probably the best-known and most widely available egg replacer on the market. This potato and tapioca starch-based egg replacer is easy to use and makes a great substitute for an egg in most baked goods. For those with allergy concerns, it is also free of wheat, gluten, soy, yeast, and nuts.
Bob’s Red Mill makes a soy and wheat-based egg replacer that is also widely available and ideal for use in baking. In addition to being a great plant-based egg substitute, it also adds a healthy dose of protein and fiber to any recipe.
And finally, the newest egg replacer product to hit the market – The Vegg! This vegan egg yolk substitute works well for baking, but can also be used to make tofu scramble, french toast, vegan quiche, dressings, and tons of other dishes! Composed primarily of nutritional yeast, The Vegg is also fat and cholesterol-free, and a great source of vitamin A.
The Flax Egg – You can also create your own egg replacer by combining 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seeds (or flax meal) with 3 Tablespoons of water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is very thick. Buy flax meal (e.g. from Bob’s Red Mill or Spectrum) or buy whole flax seeds and grind your own meal with a coffee grinder.
The Chia Egg – Chia seeds also work well as an egg replacer in many recipes. As with flax, simply combine 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 Tablespoons of water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture is very thick. Chia eggs work best in recipes where you don’t mind a little extra texture, such as muffins or breads. Chia seeds are available online from Navitas Naturals, Bob’s Red Mill, and Nutiva Organic.