Beginnings are hard. It’s always a challenge to break the ice in an interesting way. So, in lieu of breaking the ice, let’s break the egg. I’ve heard many of baking enthusiasts lament that they can substitute butter, but they have no good substitute for eggs. I can tell you from experience that there is truth in this; eggs are a unique binding agent, and no one likes a cookie disintegrating like it chose the wrong grail in Indiana Jones.
I’ve baked with applesauce, overripe bananas, egg replacer and ground flaxseed, and they all worked well enough, but impart their own traits to the finished product. Applesauce and banana give a cake-like consistency, while powdered egg replacer imparts a soda-like flavor and texture. Ground flaxseed in water is the traditional “flax egg,” and has the most egg-like binding capabilities, but also gives everything a particular flavor and texture. It’s not unappetizing per se, but it’s certainly noticeable and therefore problematic for a baker who wants a vegan alternative that doesn’t give itself away in the first bite. I had given up hope, until I came across a forum thread explaining that you can boil whole flaxseeds to create a near-identical egg replacement.
I have since used this type of flax egg as a substitute in a number of other time-tested recipes, and it has worked perfectly! Finding this recipe was the turning point for my plant-based baking, and thus the reason I wanted to share it as the first entry on The Spoon + Shovel.
-2 T. whole flaxseed
-1 C. water
Prep time: 20 min
Yields ~ 5 flax eggs
-Combine flaxseed and water in a small pot on high heat, stirring regularly to keep seeds from sticking.
-Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium; continue to boil for 5-10min or until liquid begins to thicken noticeably.
-When the liquid begins to stick to your spoon or spatula (pictured here), remove from heat and immediately pour through a fine-mesh strainer.
-Discard seeds and let cool.
3 T. is roughly equal to 1 egg. It will keep for about 2 weeks in a covered container in the fridge, and you can fill ice cube trays with the liquid to store for longer. Most trays will yield roughly 1 frozen egg per cube.