Linseed (Flaxseed) Gel Egg Replacer – Wheat-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Nut-free
On exploration of the simple egg Oliver and I discovered that the simple egg is not so simple… it in fact takes on many different functions in different recipes. The incredible egg… emulsifies, binds (structure builder), aerates (leavens) and flavours.
Binder (Structure Builder): Eggs are structure builders… They contain a particularly useful protein… one protein in particular, called ovalbumin that is found in the translucent egg white, or albumen. When this protein is exposed to heat, it denatures and distorts the protein structure and causes it to unfold into little protein strands. The strands then join together to form a strong protein network that gives foods structure. This structure gets stiffer and stronger and actually pulls together slightly as more heat is applied and water is steamed off.
This is the protein that is tested in SPT’s these days to see if a child can tolerate baked egg products. Oliver passed the SPT for the ovomucoid but unfortunately failed the Baked Egg Challenge.
Aeration (Leavening): The aeration property of the egg is similar to that of the binding structures of the egg proteins but not only is it good at strengthening, but also trapping air bubbles. But unlike the binding action of the egg being activated by heat the egg proteins for aeration are denatured by friction such as whipping. In the case of aeration, the egg proteins are denatured by whipping, which join together and trap air bubbles.
There is no one food that can emulate all of the properties like an egg can… so when looking into egg substitutions we need to really understand what the egg is actually doing in the particular recipe that you are trying to recreate.
Linseeds tend to be one of the most versatile foods for replacing eggs. Chickpea brine is another.
This method involves extracting the gel from whole linseed seeds using boiling water then discarding the linseed seeds. The gel is used to replace the egg.
3 cups water
5 Tbsp (50 grams) golden Linseeds
In a small saucepan, add the water and linseeds.
Bring the mixture to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is gelatinous and stringy, about 20 to 25 minutes. It’s important that the mixture is boiled uncovered here because not only are we coaxing the polysaccharides out of the husk of the linseed with heat, we’re also boiling off some of the water to get an extra thick consistency.
To strain off the linseed gel use a sieve that has small holes so that the linseed seeds don’t fall through the mesh but not too small that the linseed gel won’t drain off. Immediately after boiling, place the sieve on a bowl and pour the mixture into the sieve. Wiping back and forth along the mesh of the sieve with a spatula can help the process.
Allow the gel to cool in the refrigerator until room temperature, about 1 hour. If using later, store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. It’s amazing how once cooled the Linseed gel structure is almost a replica of the structure of egg whites in presentation and touch. It’s uncanny how similar they feel.
3 Tbsp (45 ml) Linseed Gel equals 1 egg