A few weeks ago I got a question on my Facebook page that said ‘What exactly is a flax egg and how do I make one??!’. As a vegan, it seems like something you just know, right? But non-vegans and a lot of people who don’t do egg-free baking are probably like ‘Um but really what is it? An egg made of..not egg?’. Well yes! I know it seems silly if you have been using flax eggs for a while, but for those who haven’t here’s an easy how-to on what it is, when to use it, and the do’s and don’ts of using the flax egg. Let’s hop to it!
What is it? It’s just one part flax seed mixed with three parts water, easy. Ground (make sure it’s ground!) flax seed does an awesome job at gelling up when it is combined with water, emulating the ‘gel’ and binding nature of a traditional egg in vegan baking recipes. The flax egg also gives back the correct amount of moisture to recipes, ensuring that your vegan baked goods don’t get too dried out or crumbly. I always like to picture the amount of water/liquid that an egg would give to a recipe and think about how I need to replace that within the recipe. I’ve seen the ratios vary from recipe to recipe, but I’ve had the best luck with using the 3:1 ratio. This ratio gives you the best gelling and the lest amount of ‘too much water’ scenario, which can make or break a recipe. The general rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water= 1 ‘egg’, let sit for 5 minutes.
When to use it: Flax eggs can be used in a multitude of vegan baking recipes, but I find that they are best in a recipe when they won’t be detected. Think brownies (chocolate always covers anything up), chocolate chip cookies, quick breads, and some cakes. I wouldn’t use flax eggs in a vegan vanilla cake or a delicate dessert, such as a crepe or cream pie. Recipes that can easily hide the flax eggs are a wonderful way to incorporate them, without giving them a weird texture or messing with the flavor. Hearty recipes, like bran muffins or anything loaded with other nuts and seeds are great for flax eggs too, since they have a lot going on in them anyway.
Do’s: Do make sure you mix up your flax egg ahead of time! Nothing is worse than getting halfway through a cookie recipe and realizing that your flax egg isn’t gelled properly. Then you have to measure, mix, let sit, etc. I always prepare my flax egg first, then pull out the rest of my ingredients while it sets up (am I freaking anyone out by talking about it gelling? I hope not!). If you do forget to make it ahead of time, I wouldn’t recommend just dumping it all in without letting it set. At this point, you are just dumping water and flax seed into your recipe and who knows how that will turn out. Don’t ruin your cookies like that, do it right!
Don’ts: Don’t assume that flax eggs are always going to be able to replace regular eggs! I know they are great for some recipes, but not all of them. If you are trying to convert a non-vegan recipe to vegan, I wouldn’t use them in, say crepes, or something that is designed to be very eggy. Past using them to sub for more than 2 eggs, things get a little wonky and don’t work out quite right. I have never subbed in flax eggs for more than 2 eggs, but I would be interested in hearing if anyone else has. Also, don’t forget to measure! I just eyeballed the measurements a few times for recipes and things just don’t turn out correctly. If you are going to make a flax egg, just make it right.
That about covers it! I’ve only been using flax eggs since I’ve been doing vegan baking (3 ish years), so if anyone else has any tips or tricks I would love to hear them! Also, totally not sponsored, but I am currently using and love Bob’s Red Mill ground flax seed meal for baking and making a good flax egg. I’ve also found huge bags of ground, good quality flax seed meal at TJ Maxx, which sounds odd, but they are an amazing value. Go figure!
Did I cover anything? Let me know if you have any other questions or want to know anything else about flax eggs. They sound so weird, but were really a game changer for me when I started veganizing recipes.
Tip: Store your ground flax seed in the freezer to prevent it from going rancid!
If you are looking to do some vegan baking of your own with flax seed eggs, I’ve included a few recipes below that I’ve used them in successfully. Happy baking!
Recipes using flax eggs:
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