The baked goods sector is the most challenged by the egg shortage.

Bakers taking brunt of shortage

The baked foods sector is the most challenged by the egg shortage, as eggs play a critical role in so many products, from maintaining moistness for shelf life to providing aeration, emulsification and structure.

“Eggs play a greater role in chemically leavened batters than in yeast-raised baked goods, since yeast dough has a strong gluten backbone to support product structure,” said Kathy Sargent, manager of sweet goods for Corbion Caravan, Lenexa, Kas. “It takes a highly functional egg replacer system to replace the combination of proteins and lipids that provide emulsification, leavening and coagulation.”

Among chemically leavened products, it’s easiest to find solutions for products like cookies, pancakes and muffins, where eggs are less critical to the finished product, said Bill Gilbert, principal food technologist, Cargill, Plymouth, Minn.

“For example, we have a soy flour that helps maintain moisture and acts as a fat mimetic,” he said. “It can be used to replace 25% of liquid whole eggs in muffins and 25% to 50% in both cookies and pancakes.”

Proteins are useful in bakery products.

“We supply natural whey proteins, which are the perfect clean-label replacement for eggs in bakery applications,” said John Gelley, U.S. sales manager of Arla Foods Ingredients, Basking Ridge, N.J. “Derived from cows’ milk, whey proteins can do everything eggs can do in bakery applications, and because they’re natural, companies can maintain clean label ingredient status for their baked goods.

“In many instances, whey proteins provide quality improvements when they are combined with eggs in a recipe. That way companies can overcome supply issues while also supplying their customers better products.”

Nutritional equivalency is something to consider. Denis Neville, general manager, MCT Dairies Inc., Chicago, said his company offers various application-specific whey proteins.

“We have a whey protein to replace egg whites in cookie applications,” he said. “There’s also a whole egg replacer. All offerings provide the intrinsic functional characteristics of the egg component they are replacing. And, our ingredient solutions continue to be nutritionally equivalent to the egg components when used as a direct replacement.”

Removing eggs from a bakery formula also may remove some flavor.

“‘Eggy’ flavor is very important in a number of bakery uses,” said Nicole Rees, business development manager of ingredient technologies for Glanbia Nutritionals, Fitchburg, Wis. “Whey offers some flavor synergies that are especially beneficial in bakery products.”

With this knowledge, two years ago the company developed a combination of whey protein concentrate with a milled flaxseed ingredient designed for 100% replacement of eggs in low-egg content baked goods.

“Applications such as cookies, which do not depend on the foaming power of eggs, allow 100% replacement,” Ms. Rees said.

Terese O’Neill, director of sales-ingredients for Agropur Ingredients, La Crosse, Wis., agreed that whey proteins make 100% replacement viable, but only for whole eggs.

“We found in muffins and creme cakes, you can use whey-protein-based systems as a 100% replacement for whole egg,” she said.

Generally, egg replacement blends target the solids of eggs, said Ms. O’Neill. Thus, for dried eggs, the blend will be a direct 1:1 replacement.

“Liquid eggs require calculation of solids and addition of water,” she said.

The company advises users to replace every 1% of liquid eggs with 0.25% to 0.35% of the dry replacement blend. The remainder of the liquid is balanced with water.

“We have seen that eggs in bakery products can block the sweetness,” she said. “When eggs are removed from a product, the perception of sweetness can increase if the sugar level is unchanged.”

This may allow for a reduction in sugar, something some consumers are trying to do.

Wheat provides a cereal source for the base of several egg replacers, including an ingredient line from Manildra Group.

“Wheat protein isolate has good compatibility with baked foods that have wheat flour as their main component,” Mr. Maningat said.

MGP Ingredients markets hydrolyzed wheat protein, a series of wheat protein isolates and wheat starches that are suited to partially replace the egg white functions of binding, foaming and gelling, said Mr. Whitmer.

“They are ideal in bakery products that already include wheat flour or other wheat ingredients and provide additional functional and processing benefits such as reduced dough mix time, improved dough extensibility and increased bread volume and crumb firmness,” he said.

Florida Food Products Inc., Eustis, Fla., markets a citrus-derived gelling fiber intended for egg replacement and texture development in baked goods.

Cookies, which do not depend on the foaming power of eggs, allow 100% replacement.

“It forms thermally stable and irreversible gels, just like eggs,” said Edgar Anders, executive vice-president. “This fiber ingredient can replace as much as 100% of egg content in baked goods, while developing structure, retaining moisture, providing emulsification and extending shelf life. In certain applications it can shorten baking times, and it assists with gluten‐free formulations.”

Recognizing that eggs act primarily as strengtheners in cakes and other batter systems, TIC Gums, White Marsh, Md., has identified how hydrocolloids function as egg replacers.

“When eggs are removed or reduced, cakes could experience low volume or even collapse during baking,” said Steven Baker, senior food scientist at TIC Gums. “Hydrocolloids help stabilize batter systems, improving the likelihood of an acceptable cake when strengtheners are lacking in the formulation.”

There are two types of gum systems for egg replacement in cake applications.

“One type uses xanthan gum or xanthan gum in combination with a complementing gum such as guar gum or cellulose gum,” Mr. Baker said. “The other utilizes modified cellulose. Modified cellulose, particularly hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, forms a gel upon heating. This characteristic mimics the functionality of egg protein, resulting in cakes with high volumes even when eggs are limited.

“Bakers must keep in mind that when using gums in batter systems, the water or other liquid levels may need to be increased to get the batter viscosity back to where it was before reducing egg content. If this adjustment is not made, then the resulting cakes could have poor volume and a tough eating quality.”

Cain Food Industries Inc., Dallas, markets an enzyme-based egg replacer composed of wheat flour and enzymes.

“The ingredient works using the naturally occurring enzymes in egg yolks as the substrate for optimal function,” said Tom McCurry, managing director and chief operating officer. “However, the product is capable of functioning without egg, acting as an emulsifier in cakes, bread, cookies and more. It aids in structure building and improves softness.

“The ingredient has little to no effect on the label, as the ingredients are already included on most bread and cake labels,” he said. This allows for simple egg extension and replacement.