Whether you use a whole egg, just the yolks or just the whites, adding egg to your recipes can do some pretty fascinating things to your food. Eggs work to make desserts rise, to bind, thicken and emulsify other ingredients, and add shine to the top of breads and other baked goods.
Since egg yolks are mostly fat, they add a softness and richness, as well as a wonderful flavor to any recipe. They make batters smoother as they distribute the fats and liquids evenly throughout. Beaten egg whites on the other hand add lift and airiness to recipes.
Here are 5 inspired ways eggs make food better.
Adding beaten egg whites to a dessert recipe will make your dish rise. They add volume to batters and dough. Think souffles, meringues or angel food cake. These recipes all use egg whites to help them puff up and rise without the addition of yeast or baking powder.
Whole eggs help to bind all the dry ingredients together in a recipe. In meatloaf or meatballs, for example, a whole egg mixed into the meat, spices and bread crumb mixture will keep the loaf from falling apart as it cooks.
- Thicken and Emulsify
Eggs also help thicken dishes. Egg added to soups or stews will reduce the watery texture and eggs work to thicken custards and puddings. Eggs are also key ingredients in sauces that require emulsifying. Without egg yolks, the oils in mayonnaise, Caesar dressing and Hollandaise sauce wouldn’t come together into a smooth texture.
Whisking and then brushing the tops of breads, rolls and pie crusts with either just the white, just the yolk, or an entire egg adds shine and depth of color to the baked goods. Using just the egg yolk and some water, milk or cream will result in a golden crust, while using beaten egg white as your egg wash will result in shine, but not as deep a color.
Eggs also help dry ingredients adhere to foods. Eggplant slices or chicken cutlets are dipped in beaten egg before being dredged in breadcrumbs, and egg helps the breading stick to fried mozzarella sticks as well.
Besides working in all these ways to enhance foods, eggs also add flavor and a nice bit of protein along with other vitamins in any dish, you will be inspired to add eggs to your recipes to make foods flawless, fun and fortified!
Lisa Steele is a 5th generation chicken keeper and the author of The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook as well as several books devoted to raising backyard poultry flocks. She lives on a small farm in Maine with her husband and flock of chickens, ducks and geese. Her egg recipes have been featured on NPR, The Splendid Table and The Spruce Eats. Lisa is currently hosting the award-winning show Welcome to my Farm on CreateTV. For more information visit www.lisasteele.com or connect with Lisa on Instagram.