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Egg replacements are used to substitute for eggs in a bakery product formula.

Egg Replacement


 

What is an Egg Replacement?

An egg replacer is an ingredient used to substitute for egg in a food product formula. It is usually derived from whey, soy or wheat proteins. The use of partial or total substitution of egg is determined primarily by the quality of the finished food products.

Function

In baked goods, eggs are essential for imparting desirable volume, texture and color because of their unique foaming, solubility, emulsification and coagulation properties. One of the challenges faced by any baker is the inability to use egg in their formulas due to the allergen contamination issues in their manufacturing facilities. Furthermore, egg products contribute significantly to formula costs, sometimes as much as 50% of the total ingredient cost of the product.1

Therefore, substituting a portion of the formula with an egg replacer or egg substitute will substantially help with ingredient costs. Most common egg replacers are based on whey and soy protein isolates. Due to the allergenic nature of milk and soy, most bakers tend to steer towards a wheat protein isolate solution since their bakeries mainly work with wheat flour.

Egg functionality exists in its protein structure, which is primarily made up of ovalbumin and conalbumin.2 Egg proteins have unique foaming, emulsifying and heat-setting properties that are highly functional in improving the volume, texture and shelf-life of cakes, cookies, muffins, waffles, bread and other baked products. They also provide firmness and elasticity to pasta and noodle products resulting in enhanced cooking stability and texture. In formulas containing egg, the egg protein contributes significantly to foaming and structural foundations.

Commercial Production

Commercial egg replacers are prepared using a variety of ingredients, and the sources and composition of the ingredients depend on the manufacturer. The most widely used commercial egg replacers utilize protein isolates from whey, soy and wheat gluten, sometimes with different gums.3

Application

A good egg replacer should have the ability of a 100% egg replacement, and to produce similar physical and sensory attributes as the original formula.

Concerns

While egg proteins demonstrate the above benefits, they have some properties that elicit concerns among consumers. For example, eggs may pose some health issues because of high cholesterol content and may contain antibiotics and hormones that are potentially used during the growing of poultry. Furthermore, egg proteins are not suitable for vegetarian/vegan diets. With the ever-increasing demand for egg products, the egg is vulnerable to price fluctuations and even commands a premium price nowadays.4

References

  1. Ratnayake, Wajira S., Bhimalingeswarappa Geera, and Dana A. Rybak. “Effects Of Egg And Egg Replacers On Yellow Cake Product Quality.” Journal of Food Processing and Preservation 36.1 (2012): 21-29.
  2. Feeney, R.E. “Egg Proteins”. In Symposium on Foods: Proteins and their reactions. H.W. Schultz, H.W., and Angelmiers, A.F., editors. Avi Publishing Co., Westport, CT (1964)
  3. Arozarena, Iñigo, Hugo Bertholo, José Empis, Andrea Bunger, and Isabel Sousa. “Study of the Total Replacement of Egg by White Lupine Protein, Emulsifiers and Xanthan Gum in Yellow Cakes.” European Food Research and Technology 213.4-5 (2001): 312-16.
  4. Li, Welli. Egg substitute and method of producing same. U.S. Patent Application US 2013/0052304 A1, February 28, 2013.