If you’re new to vegan baking, you should learn how to make a flax-egg. Many vegan recipes call for flax-eggs but very few of them go into any more detail than saying “1 flax-egg.” A flax-egg is an egg substitute, and it’s one of the best ones you can make at home. A lot of people can tell you how to make a flax egg, but I’ll go one step further and tell you why flax eggs actually works so well.
Baking is chemistry. Every ingredient has a purpose, and that’s why they need to be added in specific amounts, in specific orders, etc… Eggs are no exception. Eggs do what they do in recipes because they have a lot of lipoproteins in them, and that makes them a great emulsifier. Flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, so they also have a lot of lipoproteins, which means they could also be a great emulsifier.
The only problem with flax seeds is they aren’t a gooey liquid. That’s where the flax-egg comes in. By grinding up flax seed into a powder, and adding a little bit of water, you can turn ordinary flax into a gelatinous egg substitute in no time; and it will actually do (chemically) the same thing eggs would do in your recipe, unlike a lot of other substitutes that only make up for moisture and texture in the batter.
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How to Make a Flax-Egg
Firs things first, you should know that 1 flax-egg is equal to 1 large egg. A flax egg only consists of water and flax, and the ratio is 3 parts water to 1 part flax — 3 tbsp of water + 1 tbsp of flax = 1 egg.
Grind the flax. You can buy ground flax at the store, or you can grind whole flax seeds yourself; but freshly ground is preferred. It’s really easy to do with a food processor or coffee grinder. You just grind the seeds on high until they turn to dust.
Mix with water. Mix 1 tbsp of flax powder with 3 tbsp of water. If you need to make more than one egg for a recipe, just scale those amounts up — e.g., 2 tbsp flax + 6 tbsp water to make 2 eggs. Stir the flax and the water in a bowl with a tiny whisk or fork until they are well blended and have formed a soggy mixture.
Refrigerate. At the bare minimum you should refrigerate you flax-egg for at least 15 min, but it’s better to let it chill for an hour or more. This part might seem optional but it’s really crucial. Your flax-egg won’t setup properly if you skip this step, so don’t. Make your egg in advance so you don’t have to wait.