Role of Egg Proteins in Meatless Formulations

Product developers are wise to understand that many health- and wellness-conscious consumers are seeking meatless, but high-quality protein, main dish options.

It’s worth noting that during the past decade scientists have discovered that high-quality protein influences numerous bodily functions, most notably prevention of muscle loss and maintenance of muscle function. High-quality protein also provides a sense of fullness, which in turn can assist with weight loss and weight management.

Egg products are an economical high-quality protein ingredient for meatless formulations. Not only do they contribute complete proteins to the formulation, they also provide a number of desirable functions.  According to Mintel GNPD, 101 egg-containing meatless new products positioned as an alternative for similar meat-containing products have emerged between January 1, 2008 and September 30, 2013 in the United States.

There are more than 40 different proteins in a whole egg, some exclusive to the white and others to the yolk. Egg whites, which are mostly water and protein, when dried, are a concentrated source of high-quality protein. Yolks are also a source of essential fatty acids.

Egg proteins influence the rate of denaturation and coagulation, which in turn are responsible for a number of the more than 20 unique functionalities that egg products bring to product formulations, such as binding ingredients, foaming and tenderization. Egg proteins also contribute to desirable browning.

For example, Lightlife Foods, Turners Falls, MA, recently entered the frozen foods business with the debut of two product lines: Chik’n Entrees and Veggie Burgers. The company combines a variety of non-meat proteins, including egg whites, in order to tout the fact that each serving contains 14 to 20 grams of protein, varying by product.

Elmwood Park, NJ-based Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods is addressing meatless breakfast needs with a new frozen sausage-like patty product. The company combines soy and wheat proteins with egg whites and the traditional spices associated with pork sausages. A 38-gram patty contains 80 calories, 4 grams of fat, none of which quantify as saturated, and 7 grams of protein. Similar pork-based patties contain about the same amount of protein, yet are typically double the calories and the fat, and can be a source of saturated fat.

Egg products, in particular dried egg whites, can assist with the development of meatless center-of-plate offerings.

2013-10-28 14:26:45

Staling: The Invisible Problem Solved by Egg Products

Formulators of baked grain-based foods such as breads, muffins, and even cookies, are increasing the whole grain and fiber contents of formulations to help Americans better achieve their recommended daily intakes. Many are using less refined flours, ancient grains and fiber ingredients, all of which can increase products’ susceptibility to staling, also known as drying out.

Staling has always been one of the earliest signs of deterioration in baked goods. In chemistry books, this is referred to as retrogradation, and it is an irreversible process that not only liberates water but also collapses starch molecules into insoluble moieties.

Without protective measures in place, a bakery-fresh loaf of bread will lose its desirable tender crumb and aroma in a few days. Most neighborhood and in-store bakeries avoid artificial preservatives and ingredients, as are an increasing number of commercial bakeries. This is where egg products enter the picture.

Not only do egg products provide a wide variety of nutrients, including high-quality protein, trans-fatty acid free mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, vitamins, minerals, and other highly bioavailable nutrients with recognized health and wellness benefits, they are able to assist with maintaining quality through a baked good’s expected shelf life. And the best part is that they do this while being very simply listed as egg, egg white or egg yolk on ingredient statements.

The process of retrogradation begins in the oven, when the starch chains located inside of the starch granules swell with moisture when heated. As the grain-based product starts to cool, the swollen starch chains lose their moisture content. Over time, moisture migrates to dryer regions of the product and then eventually evaporates into the surrounding atmosphere. Loss of moisture causes the starch chains in the swollen granules to collapse, and the crumb degrades, resulting in a firm texture and dry mouthfeel, eventually rendering the baked good inedible.

Here’s where egg products can help, specifically the all-natural emulsifier lecithin that is concentrated in the yolk. Emulsifiers, which are molecules that have one end that dissolves in water and one end that dissolves in oil, are thought to interfere with the collapse of the swollen starch molecules by lodging in the spaces between the highly branched starch chains, thus preventing their collapse. This retards the onset and rate of firming that occurs with age.

And here’s an added bonus. Egg yolks have a beautiful yellow-orange hue, as they are a concentrated source of the carotenoid xanthophylls. This pigment provides richness in terms of color when added to grain-based foods…and rich color contributes to perceived quality and freshness. For example, the egg yolks in Dunkin’ Donuts’ new Egg Bagels provide a desirable yellow hue, while contributing to a moist, soft, chewy inside.

Egg proteins, in particular those found in whites, can also assist with extending the shelf life of baked goods through foam formation. Foams entrap air, giving baked goods volume and springiness, attributes that suggest freshness. And when it comes to providing structure to baked goods, egg proteins accomplish this by the chemical process known as coagulation, which is the transformation of liquid egg into a semi-solid or solid matrix.

Essentially the same chemistry supports the functions of aeration and coagulation, with the former entrapping air and the latter binding water. Through a series of reactions, millions of egg protein molecules aggregate to form an insoluble three-dimensional network. As the proteins aggregate together, they entrap air—as in the case of a foam—and moisture—as in the case of a gel, as well as interact with gluten, thereby essentially building the baked good. In essence, they create cells where the cellular wall is composed of proteins and the cell contents are air or moisture.

Egg products, through their ability to retain moisture, slow down the staling process. This science has proven to be very useful in providing extended shelf life to gluten-free bread, as bread relies heavily on gluten for structure and palatability. Egg proteins can mimic gluten.

There are many other ways egg products can assist with preventing staling. For example, an egg wash applied to the surface prior to baking can seal in moisture. Further, eggs are a natural source of antioxidants, which may minimize oxidation of lipids during storage.

To learn more about how egg products can assist with extending the shelf life of baked goods, please view “Baked Goods: Extending Shelf Life.” This video, as well as the 11 others, can assist you with understanding the 20-plus functional benefits of egg products while earning free continuing education credits.

2013-10-14 05:00:34

Eggs Irreplaceable in Bakery Applications

American Egg Board promotes 20+ egg functions at


International Baking Industry Expo




With the help of local culinary students, the American Egg Board is treating IBIE attendees to incredible desserts in booth #11737 to showcase the irreplaceable functionality of eggs. “Rather than just describe the functionality of eggs,” explains Elisa Maloberti, director of egg product marketing, “we decided to give bakery professionals a chance to taste the value of eggs in bakery applications. Because of their multi-functionality, eggs contribute in a variety of ways to a finished product. Texture, taste and appearance all benefit from the functionality of eggs.”

Items being sampled during IBIE highlight the most common functions of eggs in baked goods: coagulation, aeration/foaming, emulsification, crystallization control and binding. (Notably, eggs perform extremely well as a binding agent in gluten-free applications.)

Daily delights

Culinary students from the Art Institute of Las Vegas will offer expo attendees the following tasting menu:

Sun., Oct. 6               Flourless Chocolate Torte

Mon., Oct. 7               Tiramisu Cupcakes

Tues., Oct. 8              Biscotti with Crème Anglaise Dipping Sauce

Flourless chocolate torte – Without flour in this torte, eggs are the workhorses. They serve a very basic function to give structure by coagulating and binding non-gluten containing ingredients together.

Tiramisu cupcakes – eggs are featured in the tiramisu topping, giving it body, creaminess, and a smooth, light mouth feel as a result of their aeration and crystallization control properties. In the cake, the egg works to leaven by aerating the batter and setting the structure through coagulation in the heat of the oven.

Biscotti with Crème Anglaise dipping sauce – Eggs play a major role in the biscotti, binding all ingredients together, contributing to the crisp texture, providing the only moisture in the formulation, and contributing to the Maillard reaction. And, they star in the dipping sauce. Crème Anglaise is a custard sauce, in which eggs contribute to the thickening and coloring of the sauce.

‘Eggsperts’ will be available throughout the show in booth #11737 to answer questions about the incredible functionality of eggs. For more information on the 20-plus functions and formulas using all natural eggs, visit


2013-10-07 14:59:29