There are many variables that can impact the performance of egg products in refrigerated desserts and baked goods. All of these are very manageable, which makes eggs the choice ingredient for such applications.
- Coagulation is a process that involves the denaturation of protein, which is when proteins lose their native, water-soluble structure and become insoluble.
- The change of state-from liquid to solid or semi-solid, known as coagulation or gelation-results when the egg protein structure is altered from its native form by whipping or heating, or both.
- Egg proteins begin to coagulate at different temperatures, and also cease to flow at different temperatures. Further, too much heat applied too quickly or even too low heat applied for too long can cause protein molecules to over-coagulate and thus become too firm.
- In refrigerated desserts, weeping or curdling , technically termed syneresis, can develop when the mixture does not coagulate properly. The evidence for syneresis is tiny liquid-filled holes within the gel or liquid droplets residing on the surface of the dessert or in the cooking pan.
- In baked goods, millions of egg protein molecules aggregate together into an insoluble three-dimensional network, or simply, they coagulate or gel. This structure is generally irreversible and is responsible for providing height, volume and stability to cakes, muffins, quick breads and other chemically leavened baked goods.
Click to view an educational video detailing the coagulation process in refrigerated desserts.
Click to view an educational video detailing the coagulation process in baked desserts