Eggs serve many functions in baked foods, from emulsification to leavening to moisture management. There is no single ingredient that can directly replace eggs, which means a systems approach is needed. It involves two or more ingredients, each with their own sensory drawbacks.
“There is no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Susan O’Shaughnessy, Principal Application Specialist at Edlong. “Our approach is to first address functionality before deciding which ingredients to work with to deliver an end product comparable to that cooked with eggs. Once this step is taken, the major hurdle to overcome is taste. We recently worked on a project to develop plant-based brioche products, which included fillings such as pastry cream and curd. Flavors were used in both the brioche dough and the bake-stable fillings.
Aquafaba, the viscous water produced when cooking legumes, such as chickpeas, is popular as an egg substitute in baked foods due to its superior emulsifying, thickening and foaming properties. It’s one of the few substitutes some bakers find to work in vegan angel food cake. The downside: Aquafaba doesn’t have the same flavorless profile as egg whites.
“Flavor masking helps neutralize unwanted flavor notes and subsequently enhance desirable flavors,” said Jennifer Ma, director, food technology, T. Hasegawa USA. “In such an application, masking flavors can be used to help enhance sweetness or vanilla-like notes.”
If you’re trying to go gluten-free and vegan, the challenges intensify.
“Gluten-free vegan baking is a more difficult combination to reformulate because gluten-free applications rely heavily on egg albumin,” said Jeff Casper, director of research and applications at Merit. “Our canola protein provides egg whipping and structure building, making it an invaluable tool for formulators of meringues, muffins, cookies and beyond.”
When used in a vegan chocolate chip cookie, canola protein offers the functional properties of whole eggs, while the flavor profile is complementary to the traditional recipe, according to Casper.
“The high oil-binding and gelling properties of canola protein allow for proper spread and set in the cookie,” Casper said. “Furthermore, its low water content does not affect the machinability of the dough.”
This article is an excerpt from the March 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full article on flavors, Click here.