Thursday, December 23, 2010

The flax egg.

I obviously do not use eggs in the things that I cook which is sometimes a problem since it has levening and binding qualities when used for baking. Luckily there are some simple and easy ways around using eggs.

But first, let's look at eggs from a health stand point:
  • A Harvard study of over 21,000 male physicians found that men who ate up to 6 eggs a week had no increase in their rate of death. But once they ate a seventh egg, their risk of death went up 23%. The men were studied over a 20-year period and routinely surveyed about their health status and eating habits. During that period, 1,550 had heart attacks, 1,342 had strokes and 5,000 died.
  • The cholesterol in eggs is the most obvious culprit. This cholesterol can clog arteries and contribute to heart attacks and strokes.
  • Also, let's not forget about the saturated fat they contain.
  • Interestingly enough, free-range chickens produce eggs with notably less cholesterol and saturated fat and much higher levels of (healthy) omega-3 fats! (but beware of green marketing, only trust humane conditions of someone you can actually talk to. i.e. local farmers.)

Next, it is necessary to realize what the PURPOSE is for having eggs in a recipe (binding or levening):
1. Thickening and Binding: this means keeping everything together (think falafels).
Good replacements*:

  • The flax egg (below)
  • Ener G Egg replacer (but this has so much unnecessary packaging...)
  • 3 T pureed tofu + 2 t cornstarch (good for quiches and custard pies)
  • 1/4 c applesauce
  • 1/4 c mashed banana
  • 1/4 c pureed pumpkin or squash
2. Thickening
  • 1 T chick pea or soy flour + 1 T water 
  • 1 T arrowroot + 1 T soya flour + 2 T water 
2. Leavening: this means making it rise (think cookies and cakes).
Good replacements*:

  • 1/4 c soymilk + 1 T lemon juice
  • 1/4 c vegan sour cream + 1 t baking soda
  • 2 heaped t baking powder
  • instead of baking powder, use 3/4 t bicarbonate of soda + 1 T cider vinegar
For cakes and quickbreads, add 2 T of cornstarch (for each egg replaced) in addition to the egg replacer, in order to bind and give it a good texture.

*This is for replacing one egg. Increase magnitude if recipe asks for more than one egg!

The flax egg
This is my replacer of choice, no matter what the egg's purpose is. Just because it is healthy and mindless. I'm lazy. I grind my flax seeds in my food processor (only because I don't have a coffee grinder) and keep it in my freezer.

Ingredients (replaces one egg):
1 T ground flax seeds (1)
3 T cold water

Whisk together before adding it to whatever you're cooking/baking!

(1) Ernst Farm

1 comment:

  1. Great information. I just bought some flax seeds to make your chia wafers. Good you put them in the freezer. Some may not know that flax seeds become perishable once they are ground.