Bakers know that eggs play a crucial role in baking. Eggs serve as a binder to hold wet and dry ingredients together and sometimes act as a leavening agent in cookies, cakes, and bread to help add volume and thickness. As our health, dietary needs, and the ever-evolving world of baking change, finding suitable substitutes for eggs when baking becomes increasingly important. One such substitute is accessible and probably already in your pantry, and that ingredient is cornstarch.
Cornstarch shines in egg-free and vegan baking. But, how can cornstarch replace eggs? You can't just add a tablespoon of cornstarch into your mixing bowl and call it a day. First, you must change the cornstarch's properties by dissolving it completely in water. A good and easy formula to remember is for every egg you want to replace, dissolve one tablespoon of cornstarch in three tablespoons of water. This mixture is a cornstarch slurry — the same type of slurry you add to soups and stews as a thickening agent. When you incorporate this slurry into your baking ingredients, it mimics the binding properties of an egg.
Cornstarch Can Also Replace Egg Wash In Baking
When made into a slurry, cornstarch can thicken soups and stews as well as take over the role of eggs as the binding ingredient in baking, but it may not always provide the same leavening properties that eggs do. If you whisk cornstarch slurry in a stand mixing bowl, you will never achieve a meringue akin to what you can make with beaten egg whites. To compensate for the lack of leavening and rise, bakers may need to add other ingredients, such as baking powder, which is also vegan and gluten-free.
Cornstarch is also tasteless, so if you want an eggy taste in your baked goods, you're out of luck. However, sometimes bakers are looking to mask the egg taste, so they dump in vanilla extract and other flavors. Being flavor-neutral, cornstarch doesn't alter the taste profile of your baked goodies; hence, there's no need to mask it.
Another use for cornstarch as a substitute in baking is to use it as an egg-free egg wash. Again, dilute cornstarch with water to make a thin wash that you can paint over your baked goods. You can also dissolve sugar in this mixture. The result is a cookie or pastry with a shiny, glossy finish — just note that the classic browning effect from a standard egg wash will be amiss.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.