Egg allergies are just one reason to look for egg substitutes in cornbread and other baked goods. Fortunately, you have several options -- some of which are probably sitting in your kitchen. Experiment with different products, including ready-made egg substitutes, until you find one that suits you.
Before you can replace the eggs in a cornbread recipe, it's helpful to understand how they function. Eggs have more than 20 roles in baking, but the three most important are binding, emulsifying and leavening. The protein in eggs coagulates, or binds, the ingredients to create structure. Along with flour, eggs are what turns a soft, sticky batter into a firm quick bread. Lecithin, found in the yolks, helps keep cornbread moist and tender. Eggs -- and in particular, egg whites -- can also help leaven cornbread, creating a light texture. Additionally, eggs add flavor and help create a golden brown crust on cornbread.
One of the simplest ways to replace eggs is to use a commercial egg replacement product. Typically you'll whisk the product with water before adding it to the cornbread batter. You can buy these products from most health food stores, as well as some grocery stores.
When replacing eggs, consider the specific function that's missing from the bread. To bind the bread together so it's moist, but firm, combine a bit of tapioca starch, arrowroot or ground flax seed with warm water to make a gel. For added leavening and moisture, combine a bit of baking soda with mashed banana or applesauce. Keep in mind that a traditional cornbread recipe might not taste the same with these changes. In some cases, it's simpler to seek out a recipe that was designed to be egg-free from the start.
When you substitute the egg with something else, you may find you need to alter other ingredients slightly, as well. You may need to use a bit more oil to keep the cornbread moist. You may also need to increase the amount of baking soda or baking powder you use to ensure that the bread rises adequately. Try substituting buttermilk for any milk in the recipe. Buttermilk adds flavor and moisture that may be missing.
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