Egg replacer in vegan baking

The key to successful baking is learning the function of ingredients. Thus in vegan baking true egg replacer involves two functions, emulsion and binding. Most packaged egg replacers contain binding ingredients but not emulsion ingredients.  Successful vegan baking does not require purchasing premix egg replacer.

What is the function of emulsion?

Lecithin: Found in the egg yolk (and butter). In vegan baking the function of lecithin is of primary interest. Lecithin is essential for creating an emulsion, that is, allowing liquid and oil to mix. For improved texture, moisture and freshness, an emulsion of liquid and oil insures that both will stay suspended in the baked good. Most types of packaged egg replacer do not contain lecithin or an emulsifying agent.

Commonly extracted from soy beans, vegan lecithin is found in granular and liquid form. Dissolve the granular lecithin in hot water before mixing with the liquid and oil to make an emulsion. Mix liquid lecithin directly with the liquid and oil, without pre dissolving, to make an emulsion.

Tips for purchasing. Granular lecithin must be sold in the refrigerated and smell sweet and fresh. Liquid lecithin doesn’t require refrigeration. Buy the highest quality of certified organic lecithin.

What is the function of binding?

Protein: Found in the egg white, the primary function of protein is structure or binding. The primary interest of protein in vegan baking is to create structure to bind or hold ingredients together. Secondly, the structure must hold it’s volume when rising in the oven.

Wheat flour contains gluten, another form of protein. When using gluten flour, an egg replacer for binding and structuring isn’t necessary.

Non-gluten flours contain protein but not in a structure giving form. Baking with non-gluten flour requires added ingredients for holding and binding. Although not a protein, concentrated starches such as tapioca flour, cornstarch, potato flour, arrowroot, etc provide binding and structure. Ground flax and chia seeds also provide binding and structure. These various binding ingredients will differently affect the texture in baked goods. Most types of packaged egg replacer contain a mix of these ingredients for binding.

How to use lecithin for emulsions and binders for structure are covered extensively in our Form & Function course.