In real-world applications, the allergenic nature of egg and dairy ingredients can be a hurdle for some manufacturers, according to a story about a hamburger bun as told by Mr. Guilfoyle.
“At the time, brioche was coming in as a 'new' style of bread, and the restaurant chain wanted to have a signature bun that was brioche-style,” Mr. Guilfoyle explained. “Brioche is high in egg and dairy [butter and milk] and very expensive. The various high-speed bakeries supporting the restaurant chain refused to put any formula in their production that contained the egg and dairy allergens. This created some issues.”
Understanding the functionality of eggs and dairy in bread, Mr. Guilfoyle was able to reformulate with ingredients that provided the mouthfeel and flavor of a brioche-style bun without using the eggs or dairy products. Alginates provided the mouthfeel component, and they also gave the finished baked crumb structure strength to hold up to the heavily loaded burger and condiments. When alginates are added at 0.10% to 0.20% (baker’s per cent), they provide strength and volume to baked goods.
Artisan bread varieties are some of the more challenging products in which to replace eggs.
“It’s easiest to find solutions for products like cookies, pancakes and muffins, where eggs are less critical to the finished product,” Mr. Gilbert said. “In other product applications, where eggs are critical to functions like aeration and structure, Cargill has developed functional systems that mimic the different aspects of eggs.”
These functional systems may provide cost savings by replacing up to 50% of the eggs in the formula, often with little or no additional changes required. For example, modified starches mimic the processing and emulsifying properties of eggs, providing essential structure and texture in cookies, pancakes and muffins.
“Modified starch is especially suited for replacing up to 25% of liquid whole eggs in cakes and pound cakes, 50% in muffins, 50% to 100% in pancakes and 50% of egg solids in cookies,” Mr. Gilbert said. “Soy flour can be used to replace 25% of liquid whole eggs in muffins, and 25% to 50% in both cookies and pancakes. Soy flour helps maintain moisture and acts as a fat mimetic.”
Cargill works with bakers to create customized texturizing systems for egg replacement. In addition to modified starch and soy flour, other ingredients used in the systems include lecithin, mono- and diglycerides, potato protein and carrageenan.
Fiberstar, Inc. offers a citrus fiber with high pectin content that functions as an egg replacer. The added benefit is that it also contributes fiber to the formula. Kurt Villwock, director of R.&D. for Fiberstar, said citrus fiber contains both soluble (pectin) and insoluble fiber and is made using a patented process that opens the fiber structure to create high surface area.
“This fibrous composition tightly entraps and locks in water molecules and oil droplets, providing high-water holding and emulsification properties,” Mr. Villwock said.
Citrus fiber typically is used to extend eggs rather than fully replace them. It works best in muffins, layer cakes and cookies. Combined with other hydrocolloids, it can work synergistically to replace the whole egg in gluten-free muffins and cakes.
Addition of as little as 0.2% citrus fiber may compensate for the removal of eggs in a waffle or crepe. It is simply dry blended with the flour, and the product is dosed and cooked in the same manner as a conventional full-egg product.
“The nice thing about using citrus fiber in an egg replacement strategy is that it provides a nice mouthfeel that, in a mixture, complements other ingredients that might otherwise cause textural defects,” Mr. Villwock said. “Citrus fiber also increases the cohesiveness of doughs, which is beneficial for machinability.”
A number of citrus fibers serve as egg extenders on the market. They vary in the way they are processed and their final composition, which in turn influences functionality and labeling claims. Citrus fiber is perceived to be clean label and is acceptable in ingredient statements, especially in baked goods containing fruit bases.
Egg replacers allow bakers to control their ingredient costs over the long term, said Nigel Weston, vice-president of R.&D. for J&K Ingredients.
“Eggs are currently very inexpensive, but traditionally they are amongst the most expensive ingredients in baked goods,” he said.
Cost savings, risk management and reliability of supply are some of the biggest benefits associated with egg replacers. In recent years, egg prices have been highly volatile. In 2014, albumen prices spiked to $17 per lb. One year later, the 2015 avian influenza crisis drove egg prices up to $20 per lb.
However, even in a stable price market, Mr. Gilbert said Cargill customers confirm that the savings associated with egg replacement solutions are significant. Bakers must weigh the functional benefits of eggs and the quality they impart on finished products vs. the potential cost savings in formulation.