Welcome to the world of endless possibilities! Today we shine a light on the beauty of eggs, and how endlessly versatile they are.
The humble egg may seem like a common, simple ingredient. However, they are boundless in what they can offer you, and are one of the most crucial ingredients when it comes to baking. Eggs help to thicken custards and sauces; add moisture; add structure and stability to your desserts and baked goods; act as a glue or a glaze, and can even add colour, flavour, and crispiness to your pastries.
The eggs generally used in baking are large chicken eggs. Unless your recipe specifically calls for something else, it is safe to assume that this is the best egg to use. When it comes to brown versus white eggs, there is little difference between the two aside from the type of chicken it comes from. Brown eggs contain the same nutritional value and white eggs, and make no difference in flavour.
Eggs are made up of two main parts — the white and the yolk. Each part will perform a different function for your dessert when used separately, or together. Egg whites are made up of water and proteins, while the yolk contains vitamins, fats and nutrients. There is also a thin white strand connecting the two, called the chalaza.
Egg whites have the ability to foam when beaten, adding millions of mini air bubbles into the white. They are often used in this form for meringues or soufflés, or can be folded cake or cookie batters for a deliciously light texture, and to act as a natural leavening agent.
Egg yolks add richness to your desserts due to their high fat content. They also work very well to emulsify liquids and fats, which is very important in baking. This helps to bind ingredients together more cohesively, and create a smooth texture. Adding extra yolks, or just the yolks to your desserts is usually done to impart extra-rich flavour, or a smooth, creamy texture. Egg yolks can also be used alone, or with whole eggs to create and thicken creams, sauces and custards.
Whole eggs do it all! Using whole eggs in your baked goods will help to bind ingredients together. Because eggs solidify when cooked, they are great for adding structure and stability. They aid in the leavening of your baked goods, and can also be used to thicken pastry creams or sauces. They will also help in creating soft, lighter textures in treats such as cakes and cookies.
Eggs are endlessly versatile, whether in its whole form, or divided. They are crucial for the integrity of much desserts, and while they can be substituted, we suggest you do so with caution!