When it comes to vegan baking, one of the most important things to consider is how to replace eggs. The rest is fairly simple – there are loads of alternatives to dairy these days and even cream is becoming easily replaceable with the use of coconut milk or even tofu.
Eggs play such an important part in baked goods as we all know too well. Not only do they bind but they help to leaven and support the structure of your baked goods. Finding vegan replacements is tricky but absolutely possible! My top three consist of replacements that tackle the most important aspect (in my opinion) which is binding. Since I bake gluten free, I always have to consider how to leaven and keep my baked goods moist in other ways. For me, binding and structure is of the upmost importance when considering egg substitutes, and not always something you can replace with fruit (I’m talking mashed banana or applesauce.) This does work very well in a lot of cases but it’s not always ideal. Therefore, my top three consist of substitutes you can use in almost any recipe or can swap out, depending on what it is you’re making of course 😉
3) Agar agar powder
I’ve been playing around with agar agar for the past few months so I know that it’s capable of much more than I can give it credit for. Which is one reason it makes my list! Agar agar powder is made from dried algae, and is essentially the vegan version of gelatin. It comes in a few forms but powdered is the most popular and easiest to use. When mixed with water it will set into a jelly which is actually firmer than regular gelatin. It has no flavour of it’s own which makes it easy to use, not to mention it also has zero calories and is free from all allergens! It makes a wonderful substitute for eggs in that it provides binding and structure to your baked goods. It’s especially apt at substituting for egg whites! I’ve been adding a touch to my already finished recipes and I’ve noticed it helps to bind them even more. It can also of course be used in place of gelatin for things like jello and raw dessert. Check out this post for even more about agar agar and it’s many uses.
2) Chia seeds
This is my absolute go-to when it comes to baking things like muffins, quick breads, drop cookies, and brownies. Chia seeds when ground and mixed with water, form a gelatinous paste that is very similar to that of an egg! Chia seeds can hold up to 12 times their weight in water, which means they’re amazing at keeping baked goods moist and work very well in brownies and muffins especially. Chia seeds are touted for their nutritional value and health benefits, which include ample amounts of fiber, omega 3’s, protein and antioxidants. I was first introduced to baking with them from holistic nutritionists like Meghan Telpner and Joyous Health. White chia seeds are also available and although they’re not exactly white, they are a lot lighter than the typical version and do not effect the colour of your baked goods quite as much. I love using them in breads or in baked goods that don’t have much colour. One chia egg = 1 tablespoon of ground chia + 1/4 cup warm water. Simple and so effective!
You win, aquafaba! There’s a few reasons it’s number one on the list. Aquafaba for those of you who are new to it, is the liquid that comes in your can of chickpeas or beans. You can use the canned version or make your own by boiling chickpeas or beans at home. The texture and properties of the liquid are very similar to egg whites and it can even be whipped into meringue or used as is as a replacement for the egg whites in recipes. It’s taken the baking world by storm since it’s discovery, and to the delight of vegans everywhere as we can now have things like macarons, meringue and meringue cookies. Aquafaba can be used for even more than that though, and I’ve found it’s wonderful at providing moisture and binding to cakes and breads. If whipped beforehand, it lends a lot of lightness and fluffiness to recipes. I’m especially loving it in sandwich bread these days! It’s my number one because it can be used to make vegan versions of recipes that no one else has been able to before, it lends both moisture and binding to recipes and it’s versatile! It can be used in a variety of recipes in a variety of forms. It’s also easy to find and inexpensive. The aquafaba Facebook page is a wealth of information including tips, recipes and more on this magical ingredient.
Have you ever tried any vegan egg substitutes? What would make your top three list?