What you can use instead of eggs in cooking and baking amid soaring prices
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There’s one product in particular that’s turning heads at grocery stores. You've probably found yourself doing a double-take noticing the current price of eggs, as they have been soaring over the past year. In December, the average price of a dozen eggs was $4.25, up from $1.79 the previous year, according to information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
►Where are all the eggs? Try these eggless recipes amidst shortage, rising prices
Why are eggs so expensive?
There are multiple reasons for the drastic rise in price, including increased production costs for farmers and bird flu that's caused the deaths of millions of egg-laying poultry, leading to a sharp decline in supply.
While prices will go down eventually following the number of bird flu cases decreasing, you may need to make do with egg alternatives in the meantime. Fortunately for you, we've compiled a list of all the best, most cost-eggfective alternatives for your kitchen needs. Whether you're baking a cake or preparing breakfast, here are ways to get your egg fix despite the shortage.
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Egg substitutes in baking
As an ingredient in baking, the combined fat and proteins of eggs are used for a variety of functions. An egg can bind two ingredients that wouldn't mix otherwise (called emulsification), thicken mixtures and give food structure. All these traits plus its mild flavor make the egg a versatile ingredient. Replacements need to take this into account, either matching the versatility or achieving the specific function of an egg in each recipe.
Pre-made powder replacement
One of the more straightforward replacements for eggs in baking is pre-made powder replacements, such as Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer. To use in place of eggs, you just need to add water. It works great as a binder and results in baked goods that taste identical to their equivalents that use eggs.
Home-made powdered egg replacement
To save money, if you have all the ingredients, you can make your own powdered egg replacement at home. Two tablespoons of water, two teaspoons of baking powder and one teaspoon of vegetable oil make the equivalent of one large egg in recipes. This mixture makes for a tasteless binder that works as well as actual eggs.
Another replacement for eggs is a mixture of ground flax seeds and water. Commonly known as a "flax egg," this mixture combines the proteins and fats you'd find in an actual egg. To make this, you just need to combine one tablespoon of ground flax seed (if you have whole flax seed, you can grind it up in a coffee grinder) and 3 tablespoons of room temperature water. Let the mixture rest for about five minutes until its consistency is gelatinous. You can use boiling water to speed this process up by about three minutes.
Apple sauce and mashed bananas are also often used in place of eggs for baking recipes. Both work exceptionally well as binders and add unique flavors. Apple sauce gives recipes moisture and a mild apple flavor. The flavor profile of mashed bananas is much bolder than applesauce, so keep that in mind when using it as a replacement
What to use for an egg wash
An "egg wash" refers to lightly brushing a pastry with a thin layer of egg to give it a golden sheen as it bakes. Think: croissants, biscuits and pie crusts. There are several replacement options for your consideration when it comes to an egg wash.
Butter is often used for the same purpose as egg washes, making for an easy replacement. In some instances, using butter makes for an even better result than an egg wash, as it will give a pastry more flavor, softness and shine than an egg wash would. If you have no stake in the great "butter vs. margarine" debate, then the latter can be used instead, and at a cheaper cost.
Milk or heavy cream can work better than butter in some instances, as their higher level of protein will yield crispier and more golden crusts. Simply use one tablespoon of milk or cream for every 1/4 cup of egg wash that the recipe calls for.
Another egg wash alternative is any kind of vegetable oil. Depending on the oil, the taste will be relatively neutral, like that of an egg. Whatever oil you decide to go with, just make sure not to overdo it as too much oil can result in greasy or burnt pastries.
Egg alternatives for protein and breakfast
Beyond baking, eggs are often used in cooking, whether by themselves or in a meal, where there are a variety of replacements to choose from.
Eggs are often used in a dish because they provide protein while not being too intrusive taste-wise. Eggs are ultimately what you make of them—a lot of their taste is dictated by how you season them and what you eat them with. Because of this, tofu makes for a great substitute. Like eggs, tofu is rich in protein. Tofu can be flavorless and is highly absorbent, so you can make it taste however you please using copious amounts of seasoning and marinades. Tofu can also have a varied number of textures depending on how you cook them. For breakfast, tofu can be fried, seasoned and scrambled to mimic eggs.
There are plenty of other healthy sources of protein to start off your day. One option is to eat Greek yogurt for breakfast. Not only is it chock full of protein, but it’s also filled with healthy nutrients that your body needs. If you find the taste a bit bland, you can add granola and fruits such as grapes, strawberries and raspberries.
Peanut butter is another tasty source of protein. With its salty, nutty flavor, it makes for a great salted egg replacement for breakfast or as a snack. We recommend spreading it across your favorite type of toast.
Oats are a breakfast staple and if you'd like to add a bit of protein to yours, we recommend using a bit of nut butter to enhance the flavor. It will add a rich, savory taste to your oats. For a milder taste for your protein, you can substitute nut butter with cottage cheese.
If you're a fan of the wildly popular breakfast food, waffles, then there's an egg substitute just for you. Shark Tank alumnus Kodiak's Power Waffles pack a whopping 12g of protein in each serving of two waffles. Power Waffles do a better job of fueling you through the morning than standard waffles do, while still retaining a subtly sweet taste and, of course, the wonderful pockets that serve as a vessel for your favorite toppings.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Why are eggs so expensive and what can you use instead