Eggs do so many incredible things in baking that it almost defies belief. Really, you'll think, they can do that, and that, and that too?
Yes, they can! Whether you're baking a chocolate cake or the perfect pie crust , you're gonna need the magic of eggs. So let's get cracking on a list of all the things eggs can do in baking and answer a few FAQs.
Best Eggs for Baking
Unless otherwise noted in a recipe, assume you need to use large chicken eggs, at room temperature.
As for the color, it doesn't matter too much. White or brown, color has no impact on flavor or nutrition.
Whites vs. Yolks
Egg whites and yolks each have their own superpowers, and also work together as a team.
Baking soda and baking powder aren't the only ways to leaven baked goods: Egg whites can do it too. When whipped, egg whites trap air bubbles that help a cake (or really any baked good) rise in the oven.
The fat in egg yolks can work miracles. Eggs in the curd are what make key lime pie so decadent, both in flavor and texture.
You know how an egg becomes firm as you heat it, whether by boiling or frying? That same reaction occurs in the baking process. Eggs help set the structure of cakes, cookies, custards and some ice creams and cheesecakes.
Lightly beaten eggs —whole or separated, plain or combined with water or milk — can be used as a so-called egg wash. Brushed on breads, pie crusts, cookies, pretzels or biscuits before baking, an egg wash adds a gorgeous gleam.
If you can't eat eggs or choose not to, you can buy egg replacements at the supermarket that specify substitution amounts. Depending on the recipe, you might be able to use applesauce, bananas or even tofu.
Raw Egg Concerns
It's true: Egg yolks have been associated with salmonella.
If you have a recipe that calls for raw eggs (such as French silk pie or eggnog), you can pasteurize the eggs yourself. Place them in a pan of water, then raise the temperature to about 140 F for 2 to 3 minutes. This is hot enough to kill any bacteria but not to scramble your eggs. Once the eggs cool down it's business as usual.
Eggshells are actually edible and are sometimes blended into nutritional supplements or (yum?) shakes. They might even be added to chicken feed, which is even weirder.