How to Use Eggs When Baking

Eggs are essential in many baking recipes. They play an important role in adding color, texture, flavor, and nutritional value to the final product, as well as creating its structure and affecting the amount of moisture in it. Some recipes call for only yolks or whites, while others require using whole eggs. Either way, there are always some tricks to learn to ensure your creations turn out tasty and appealing. 5-Minute Crafts has created an extended guide that will help you while baking.

The role of egg yolks

Egg yolks have tenderizing properties as well as the ability to bond liquids and fats, which helps to create an emulsion that won’t separate. This way, you will achieve smooth batters, custards, and curds that will be creamy. Adding egg yolks to your baked goods will help you to create a velvety and softer texture with a rich, more pronounced taste.

🍰 Egg yolks are commonly used in custards, pastry creams, cakes, ice cream, creme brûlée, and curds.

The role of egg whites

Egg whites are neutral in flavor, so they don’t really contribute to the taste of your baked goods. Whipping egg whites means you incorporate lots of air bubbles into them. Adding egg whites to your batter will make the final product lighter and airier. Also, egg whites contain a lot of water and no fat, so they tend to have a drying effect on baked goods.

🍰 Egg whites are commonly used in different cakes, souffles, meringues, pavlova, chiffon cakes, macarons, marshmallows, marshmallow fluff, and frostings.

Using egg whites in your baked goods

When baking with egg whites, different recipes can require different forms of peaks in them. To achieve them, you can use a whisk, a hand mixer, or a standing mixer.

🥚 No peaks — mix for a few minutes, until the egg whites start getting a foamy and opaque texture that doesn’t hold shape and is still very liquid.

🥚 Soft peaks — turn the whisk upside down to check the texture. It should just start to hold. The peaks should be soft and melt back after a second.

🥚 Firm peaks — the peaks will hold onto the whisk, their ridges will be more distinct, and they won’t melt back.

🥚 Stiff peaks — when you turn your whisk upside down, the peaks will point straight up and won’t break. The texture will be very creamy and thick.

🥚 Over-beaten — you have overdone it! The texture will be grainy and dull, with the peaks collapsing.

If the recipe calls for stiffly beaten egg whites, pay close attention to the process. Make sure that you don’t overbeat them, otherwise, your egg whites will break down and deflate after you add them to the mixture. As a result, your cake will become curdled.

🥧 Tip: To prevent over-beating, add cream of tartar during the process. The ideal amount is 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar for 1 egg white (30 grams).

The role of whole eggs

Since eggs contain proteins, fats, and water, they have several effects on baked goods:

🥚 They help to structure and strengthen baked goods, as they bind the ingredients together.

🥚 They help to leaven and lighten baked goods, as well as to make the texture more tender and moist.

🥚 They add to the flavor and color, making them richer.

Using whole eggs in your baked goods

🍰 Beating eggs: Just as with the egg whites, try not to over-beat whole eggs. For example, if you make a sponge cake, over-beaten eggs will make the finished cake sink. If you beat the eggs into foam, the dough might not rise and will have cracks in it after being baked.

🍰 Temperature: Generally, it is recommended to use eggs at room temperature. In recipes like pound cake, it is necessary, because cold eggs can break the emulsion of butter and sugar. Also, if you want to beat egg whites to create foam, it is best done at room temperature.

Tip: To bring eggs to room temperature, submerge them in warm water for a couple of minutes.

🍰 Egg size: Before baking, check to see what size eggs the recipe calls for. If nothing is specified, use large eggs. If you choose eggs of the wrong size, it might affect the texture of the final product. For example, if you don’t add enough egg, your batter or dough won’t be able to hold its structure, and the final product will turn out dry and dense. If you add too much egg, there will be excess liquid and it will turn the texture rubbery with a strong eggy flavor.

🍰 Freshness: For the best texture of the final product, it is necessary to use the freshest eggs possible.

Tip: You can perform a float test to check the freshness of your eggs. Simply pour some water in a pot or a bowl and place your egg in there. As the egg gets older, its shell gets more pores and more air gets into it. So those that are not as fresh will float.

🍰 Separating yolks from whites: It’s best to do it while the eggs are still cold. This way, there is less of a chance that the yolks will break, and it’s easier to separate them.

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