The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Question about eggs in bread....

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BettyR's picture
BettyR

Question about eggs in bread....

We like rich egg-y breads so my everyday sandwich bread has 1 whole egg and 4 egg yolks for 2 loaves.

What I would like to know is why so many recipes have you put just the yolks and not the whole eggs. We have chickens and so I always have way more eggs than I need and I end up cooking the older eggs and feeding them to the dogs so I don't really care how many eggs a recipe uses or that the whites are going down the drain....I'm just curious.

I'm also curious as to what the eggs do for the bread other than the taste and what is the limit of eggs in bread. If I put say 6 yolks instead of 4 what would it do to the bread?

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Hi BettyR,

Whites add a lot of water, which you may or may not want/need (see the chart below). 

Yolks add a little water, but mostly add fat and protein.  Thus using yolks only adds greater richness. 

If you want to use whole eggs instead of egg yolks, just dial the total water in your recipe down a bit. Keep in mind you'll end up with less richness in your final product. 

from http://urbanext.illinois.edu/eggs/res16-egg.html

Item% Water% Protein% Fat%Ash
Whole egg7413111
White8811....
Yolk4817331
Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Could it be that by adding an egg whole or yolk to dough, the ash content of the dough changes so that gluten from low ash flours withstand sourdough acids longer?   

jcking's picture
jcking

As I understand it the ash left behind when flour is burnt consists of minerals. Would the ash from an egg contain the same minerals? If so how many eggs would be needed to adjust? Very interesting idea. It may take a lab to figure this one out.

Jim

flournwater's picture
flournwater
cranbo's picture
cranbo

yes, lots of good info here on this subject too. 

BettyR's picture
BettyR

Thanks flournwater for posting it and thanks cranbo.

Does anyone know what the upper level of eggs in bread is...when it starts being too much?

cranbo's picture
cranbo

I think Rose Levy Beranbaum may discuss this in her Bread Bible, I don't remember. 

IIRC, if you use more than about 20-25% of your total flour weight in fat, protein or sugar, you have to start making adjustments; too much fat, protein or sugar will weaken your dough (somebody correct me here if I'm wrong). 

jcking's picture
jcking

pg 485, Brioche has 66% (bakers math, total flour). That's the highest I could find.

Jim

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Oops double post

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

There isn't any limit.  Just as there seems to be an unlimited definition to "what is bread?" 

I have a recipe that calls for just eggs and a very small amount of flour.  Ten whites are whipped and 6 yolks added one by one and then a little flour is added for some reason or another.  Yes there is added sugar but from a crumb point of view, I would think you could do just about anything with egg additions.  Of course the "egg people," when compared to "bread people,"  might put all of the egg recipes under cakes, pancakes & omelettes and meringue. I suppose getting close to 100% might be dangerously close to scrambled eggs.   Uh?  I think it's all a matter of taste and method.   Naturally with all that egg, needed additional leavening power is questioned.   I'd be the first to cut it back.  

Hmmm... discard sourdough and beaten egg whites...  could get interesting.  The ultimate sourdough rush for those that can't have it sour enough!

BettyR's picture
BettyR

But it doesn't sound like bread it sounds like cake. I like eggs in bread but I think that's a bit much even for me.

I had been thinking about adding a couple more yolks to my regular bread but I was a little afraid of messing it up. Now I think I'll give it a try....thanks everyone for the help.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

The fine line between breads and cakes is somewhat blurred.  Cakes, which were probably closer to what we call light textured bread, were first leavened with yeast.  I have made a Brioche that, from all appearances, was probably closer to a cake than bread.  Even though some cakes are still leavened using yeast, they are more commonly leavened using baking powder.  Baking powder works more quickly and, IMO, more efficiently than yeast but you certainly could use yeast to make your cake if possess a spirit of experimentation.