Author: Diana Romanach, Samford University Dietetic Intern
Let’s talk about eggs! We love them scrambled in the morning, mixed in with fried rice, boiled and thrown in a salad, or fried and added to a tasty sandwich.
However, the reality is that eggs can be used for so much more than just breakfast. These little guys play such an important role when it comes to baking all sorts of tasty treats like cakes, cookies, muffins, casseroles, pastries and so much more. Allow me to eggslpain 6 reasons why eggs are so important…
1. Eggs Provide Structure
Eggs contain protein which provides support and strength for your muffins and cakes when you put the batter in the oven. Just like the walls of your home keep your house from falling, the protein in eggs provide the same kind of support and structure for all your tasty treats.
2. Eggs Emulsify
“Emulsify” is a big fancy word for holding liquid and fat together. If you have ever tried mixing water and oil together, you know that these two items eventually separate. Eggs help these two things mix together, or emulsify. This is how we get foods like mayonnaise, which is normally a combination of lemon juice, oil, and egg yolk.
3. Eggs Give Color
When you crack open an egg, what is one of the first things you see? A nice, sunny, yellow yolk! This part of the egg provides a beautiful yellow tint to our vanilla cakes and sugar cookies. We can also beat an egg and brush it over the top of breads, pastries, and pies before putting them in the oven to give them a nice shine once they are done!
4. Eggs Add Moisture
Did you know that eggs are about 75% water? This certainly comes in handy when it comes to baking. Eggs add liquid to batters so that all the ingredients can stick together nicely. Eventually, when the batter or dough is baked, the water from the eggs turns to steam which leads us to our next reason why eggs are so important.
5. Eggs Help Baked Goods Rise
When a batter or dough is baked, the water from the eggs turns to steam and creates tiny air pockets in your baked treat. This leads to a fluffier muffin, cake, or cookie. Egg whites have an even greater capacity to hold air. In fact, when an egg white is beaten, it can get up to 8 times its original size! Egg whites whipped with sugar or by themselves can be gently mixed into cake batters for an extra fluffy cake like angel food cake or sponge cake.
6. Eggs Bring the Flavor
Egg yolks contain a good bit of fat which adds moisture, tenderness, and richness to a baked good. The flavor may not be strong but when eggs are combined with your other ingredients, they add so much to the final taste of your baked treat!
Eggs do so much to help make our baked goods taste, look, and feel great.
Below are some recipes and science experiments for you and your Itty Bitty Baker to experience the magic of eggs first hand!
Here you will bake 4 different mini cakes where some key ingredients are left out. Look to see what happens to the cake when you take the eggs out of the cake batter.
Test out this recipe to show your Itty Bitty Baker the power of whipped egg whites!