Sunday, April 10, 2011

What do you know about eggs?

Now that I have quite a bit of experience with baking, I am increasingly interested in how it works. So many people say that baking is a science, which makes me chuckle because I never had a passion for the subject. I was more art and english literature in school and found math and science to be hard and tedious. But! Here I am in the kitchen with my baking powder and soda and vinegar and eggs and all that. And now I like it! 
So, I recently searched 'baking with eggs' online and found some cool factoids to share. Have you ever wondered why the heck we use eggs in baking? (except in our vegan products of course) And by the way, Two Birds uses only locally sourced eggs in all of its classic style baked goods.
The following was taken from

Why are eggs used in the baking industry? Eggs perform more than 20 different functions, enabling bakers to eliminate the use of additives or additional ingredients. Those functions include the abilities to add color, coagulate, emulsify and add texture to bakery foods. Using eggs in bakery food formulas will simplify bakery foods' ingredient labels.
How do eggs add color to bakery foods? Color is enhanced because of the cartenoids present in eggs. Found in the lipid portion of egg yolks, cartenoids give the crusts of bakery foods a golden brown color.
How do eggs coagulate in bakery foods? When eggs are heated or beaten, they turn mixtures from a liquid into a semi-solid or solid state. Coagulation also binds ingredients together, preventing crumbing, and forms the building block structures for bakery foods.
What emulsification properties do eggs have? This ingredient is renowned for its emulsification properties. Egg yolks allow fats to stay dispersed in water and water to stay dispersed in fats. This promotes thickening and product stability.
Does emulsification enhance other features in bakery foods? Yes. Egg products provide a soft texture due to the ingredient's emulsification properties. Eggs coat liquids and fats to give bakery foods a smooth, creamy texture. Lecithin, found in egg yolks, also enhances texture. Lecithin reduces moisture loss, which ensures a soft, tender crumb texture.
Can eggs provide moisture in any other ways? By mixing eggs with cream or milk, bakers can create different types of glazes. These glazes retain the moisture in bakery foods and also bind seeds, crumbs, nuts and other coatings to the bakery foods' crusts.
What other properties do eggs have? Eggs, particularly egg whites, provide foaming properties. Through whipping, eggs incorporate air and foam, which gives volume and structure to bakery foods. Foaming holds bakery foods together and promotes a lighter product with smooth mouthfeel. Eggs produce a larger foam volume than other foaming agents, making it ideal for baking. This is especially ideal for cakes, such as angel food cake, because the aeration provides necessary structure.
Are eggs ideal ingredients for sweet goods? Yes. In applications where there is a high ratio of sugar to water, such as frostings or sweet goods, eggs slow down the crystallization process to give a smooth texture. This is especially true of egg whites. In frostings and glazes, eggs also thicken and create a firm base.
What other bakery foods are ideal for eggs? Eggs work well in nutritional bars because they provide high-quality protein, flavor and richness. Eggs also bind the ingredients and give structure in nutritional bars. Eggs also can be incorporated into gel fillings for sweet goods.
How easy is it to incorporate eggs into bakery foods? It's simple. Eggs are available in many different forms, including whole or separated, plain, enhanced, fortified or blended. Eggs also are accessible as liquid, dried or frozen products.
Are egg products, such as liquid, dried or frozen eggs, as functional and nutritious as shelled eggs? Most egg products offer the same functions and nutrition as shelled eggs. In addition, egg products require less storage space. Egg products are economical, because costs concerning breakage, shipping and handling are eliminated or reduced. If properly stored, egg products retain their quality for several months and provide consistent performance. Salmonella and other bacteria also are destroyed during pasteurization of egg products.

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