As I pen this article, I continue to chuckle because the title is so on point. My hope for you is that after reading about gluten and egg free baking, you’ll have a better understanding of the core principles, and that you’ll be able to bake better at home.
It’s important to know this up front: Egg free baking is known for being difficult, especially if you’re also gluten free. Today’s article is going to take a look at both elements.
I’ll also warn you. “That Chart” you may see online saying that 2 TBSP of applesauce is an egg substitute is NOT true in every scenario… In fact, most of those charts floating around are lacking the context needed to make the right choice. Additionally, those charts should only be used (with context) if you’re egg free only.
Eggs Do Three Main Things: They Lift, Moisten, and Bind
When you’re following an egg free (or vegan) recipe, if the developer hasn’t taken these three things into account, then your recipe can fall flat. I can also honestly say, there are some things that egg free living can’t replace… looking at you soufflé.
This is the reason that “the chart” online is so misleading. You can’t take out the eggs in a cake recipe and substitute with peanut butter and expect the same fluff.
What is Lift?
Eggs, especially egg whites, can provide lift in your baked goods. You can use whole egg to provide lift in baked goods such as cookies and cakes. You can use egg whites only to create magical baked goods such as angel food cake.
Without eggs in an angel food cake, as an example, you’d end up with a really weird flour thing. Simply put, it wouldn’t work and your cake would fall flat.
What is Moisture?
Baked goods can be incredibly dry. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, so long as that was your goal. Crackers and biscotti are two examples of baked goods that are dry-leaning.
However, when you eat an overly/unnaturally dry cake or cookie, you usually don’t enjoy the experience. Some baked goods need to be moist to be enjoyed. This is attributed to the mouthfeel and texture that’s created, in part by the moisture.
Eggs can provide that moisture, so when you’re egg free, it’s important to account for that. Moisture can be ingredients such as water, milk (or dairy free milk), or juice.
What is Binding in Baking?
Have you ever eaten a baked good that’s super crumbly and falls apart before it gets to your mouth? In that case, you ate a baked good that lacked the proper binding.
When eggs are mixed into your baked goods, they help bind the ingredients together. You can think of eggs as a light glue when you’re baking. When you remove them for egg free and/or vegan baking, it’s critical that you properly replace this component/behaviour.
This is a good moment to think about the chart again. One of the suggestions is sparkling water to replace an egg. This absolutely cannot bind your ingredients together, however, it can provide lift. See what I mean about context??
Egg AND Gluten Free Baking
You need to know this going in: you don’t have a safety net.
If you’re egg free only, the gluten network is there to catch you when you fall, literally. If you’re gluten free only, the eggs can quite literally lift you out of a bad baking situation.
When you put them together though… This is actually where most free-from people get into trouble. They try to follow a recipe that’s intended for egg and/or wheat to be present, make two massive substitutions, and things go south.
Without the structure from gluten and the lift from eggs, “adapting” a regular recipe to be gluten free and egg free usually won’t work out well. It’s why starting with a recipe made for GF EF should be your go-to option.
Remember, you can like to learn more about free-from baking, you can enroll in this free mini eCourse on Free-From Baking Basics. There’s also a full (paid) course you can enroll in as well. The paid course also comes with amazing gluten and egg free recipes for you to try at home.
Making Sure Free-From Recipes Rise
When you’re making an egg free baked good such as cake (and you’re GF), make sure you’ve used enough rising agent. I like to use a combination of baking powder, baking soda, AND an acid. By their powers combined, you’ll achieve extra lift
When I’m making Paleo or specialty recipes that need to omit any of those three, I work around it as best as I can, and also accept that the ingredients I have can only do so much. I want to encourage you to do the same: manage your expectations well.
Have Your Cake and Eat it Too
If I had a dollar for every time a bakery customer told me how amazing my cakes were, I’d have SO many LEGO sets waiting to be built. People loved the gluten free, top 9 allergy free cakes because I created the recipe from the ground up. You can view the Bakery Recipes here on RAISE.
One of the many techniques I used to get the cakes that awesome without gluten and eggs: incorporating oil into the recipe. Using a low flavour oil in your free-from baked goods adds a rich moistness that you won’t regret.
Even though the bakery is no longer operating, all of the recipes are available online for RAISE Platinum and Diamond Members.
Each Recipe Will be a Bit Different
Whilst I have my go-to ratios that I enjoy, each gluten free + egg free recipe is unique. That’s one of the things I take into consideration with every recipe I share on RAISE.
I want to make sure that people are able to reproduce the results and have something amazing at home.
As you explore egg free (or EF/GF) recipes at home, make sure you know what the eggs were supposed to do originally, and which substitute(s) can mimic that behaviour.
Know that there are lots of resources and recipes available online for egg free and EF/GF baking. If you’d like to try your hand at searching online, the term “vegan” or “gluten free vegan” should be used. Vegan baking will be egg free (along with milk, honey, and all other animal derived ingredients), and that search term is more popular.