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Exploration of Egg Substitutes in the Realm of Baking For Those Who Live A Vegan Lifestyle
Carly Bossert
Partner: Talia Gabbay
Experimental Foods
Section 02

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Abstract
The effectiveness of banana pure, agar agar powder, and milled flaxseed as
potential egg replacers in baking were investigated. The recipe for Deep Dark Chocolate
Cookies was chosen with a control group that measured egg whites. The original recipe, which
produced 16 cookies, was quartered in order to produce four cookies for each of our panelists.
The sensory evaluation for our panelists to measure included appearance, chewiness, intensity of
chocolate flavor, and sweetness on a scale of 1-9. The objective data measured and recorded was
cookie diameter, height and physical observations. Banana pure cookies measured significant in
terms of appearance and intensity of chocolate flavor. Agar agar cookies and milled flaxseed
cookies measured significant in terms of appearance. Both the control group and agar agar
cookies were observed as being better binding agents as these cookies showed no abnormalities.
Agar agar is an acceptable vegan egg replacer in terms of being a binding agent in baking
products, but more research need to be done on its properties within the realm of baking. Banana
pure and milled flaxseed have the potential to be acceptable binding agents, but needs to be
further investigated.

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Introduction
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Vegans, in addition to being vegetarians, do not use other animal products and by-

products. By-products include eggs, dairy and dairy products, as well as honey. Some vegans go
even further and omit leather, fur silk, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animals (Vegan
Resource Group 2014). There are numerous reasons as to why a person may choose to live a
vegan life whether it be for health, environmental, ethical, religious and/or cultural preference.

The vegan diet consists of fruits, vegetables, a variety of leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, seeds
and legumes. Plant-based diets contribute to the consumption of significantly less fat, saturated
fat, cholesterol, and at times, fewer conditions related to microbial or parasitic contamination
compared to omnivorous diets (Dyett et al 2013). At the same time, plant-based diets offer more
fiber, folate, vitamin C and phytochemicals from higher consumptions of fruits, vegetables, nuts,
legumes and whole grains (Dyett et al 2013). These factors contribute to overall well-being and
optimal health.
One dilemma many vegans face are finding replacements for animal products when
cooking and baking. Eggs and dairy are used in many baked recipes due to their protein and/or
fat content that help pull ingredients together. Eggs, as we know in the United States, are very
abundant and used in almost any type of meal. Eggs can be used as a leavening agent, a binding
agent or a combination of the two (Kids with Food Allergies 2013). Our study explored the
replacement of eggs in a cookie recipe with a flax meal and water combination, banana pure,
and agar powder in order to demonstrate whether they effective binding agents and therefore a
potential replacement for eggs for vegans. The measurements of cookie height and diameter was
taken during this experiment to determine if these binding agents are not only potential binding
agents, but can serve the purpose as a leavening agent as well.
Flax is an old-cultivated plant, which can be used as whole seeds, crushed seeds, and as
pressed oil in different types of food. One egg is the equivalent to one tablespoon of ground
flaxseed meal simmered in three tablespoons of water (PETA 2010). The nutrition profile of flax
contains compounds like -linolenic acid, lignans and dietary fiber. In study done by
Pohjanheimo et al 2006 regarding flaxseed in breadmaking discovered that rolls containing

flaxseed retained moisture and softness more than efficiently than rolls made without flaxseed.
The study concluded that both rolls were found to be high in unsaturated fatty acids, mainly linolenic acid, which from a nutritional perspective showed beneficial properties in breadmaking.
The flaxseed rolls were also high in fiber and a positive impact on the texture parameters during
storage due to its high water-binding capacity (Pohjanheimo et al 2006). Flaxseed can be used as
a means for not only improving the nutritional quality of bake products, but also the improving
its sensory qualities.
Banana pure are another means of replacing eggs in a baking recipe. One egg is
equivalent to half a medium banana (Kids with Food Allergies 2013). Its important to note that
banana has a high starch contentstarch, in general, has a large application in food products
such as being a thickener, texturized and an adhesive (Abozeid et al 2012). In a study done by
Abozeid et al 2012 regarding the physiochemical and microscopic characterization of banana,
potato, and wheat starch in cookie production found that banana starch cookies, although having
shown the least amount of volume compared to potato and starch cookies, had the highest peak
viscosity corresponding to a high thickening power.
Agar agar, a polysaccharide, is derived from the dried hydrophilic, colloidal substance
that is extracted from certain marine algae. Its functional uses are similar to starch, as it is used
as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier (Food & Agriculture Organization 2014). There arent
many studies that use agar agar in the realm of cooking and baking, nor have we come across
many vegan recipes that use this product. More research has to be done on the effectiveness of
agar as a replacement for eggs. There could be a certain combination of ingredients that can

either help or hurt the function agar agar serves. That knowledge should be available to the
public.
The design of our study consisted of a control group (egg white) and three test groups
(flaxseed meal, banana pure, and agar powder). The cookie recipe chosen for this experiment
was the Deep Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe from Epicurious. The recipe was quartered to
make a small sample size as well as being cost effective and not waste ingredients. As mentioned
previously, the objective behind our experiment was to determine effective egg replacers for
those who live a vegan lifestyle.

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Materials and Methods
Ingredients include nonstick Vegetable Oil Spray (PAM, Stop and Shop, NJ), bittersweet
chocolate chips (AMERICAS CHOICE, Stop and Shop, NJ), sugar (DAVISON FOOD LAB,
Rutgers University, NJ), salt (DAVISON FOOD LAB, Rutgers University, NJ), cocoa powder
(HERSHEY, Stop and Shop, NJ), corn starch (AMERICAs CHOICE, Stop and Shop, NJ), dozen
eggs (Stop and Shop, NJ), Bananas (Stop and Shop, NJ), milled flaxseed (HODGSON MILL,
Stop and Shop, NJ), and agar agar powder (BARRY FARM, amazon.com). Equipment needed
include measuring cups, whisk, spoon, six glass bowls, masher, plate, electric mixer, four tins,
small pot, wooden spoon, small sheet of tin foil, sharpie, four paper plates.
After ingredients and equipment was collected, the oven was preheated to 400F. Four
tins were sprayed with nonstick oil spray and labeled with tin foil and numbers 1-4. The small
pot and one small bowl was used as a double-boiler to melt 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips, and
then set aside to cool. Four bowls were set up to prepare each of the binding agents. Four bowls

were set aside for each binder. In the first bowl, one egg white was beaten with an electric mixer
until soft peaks formed, with quarter cup of sugar gradually added. In a second small bowl, half
banana was mashed into a pure. In the third bowl, 1 tablespoon of milled flaxseed mixed with 3
tablespoons of water, let it sit to gelatinize. In the fourth bowl, 1 tablespoon of agar agar powder
whipped with 1 tablespoon of water. In a fifth bowl, 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, a 1/4
teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 cup cocoa powder were combined, quartered, added to each bowl
containing the binder, and then beaten on low speed with an electric mixer. The 1 1/2 cups of
melted chocolates chips were also quartered and added to each individual bowl. Another 1/4 cup
of sugar was added to each bowl.
In tin one, the quartered recipe with the egg white dough were rolled into four balls. In tin
two, the quartered recipe with the mashed banana dough were rolled into four balls. In tin three,
the quartered recipe with agar agar dough were rolled into four balls. In the fourth tin, the
quartered recipe with milled flaxseed were rolled into four balls. All four tins were placed in the
oven, baked for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool. All materials were then cleaned.
Four paper plates were quartered with a sharpie and each quarter labeled 1, 2, 3, 4. Once
cookies were cooled, the height and diameter of each type of cookie was measured before each
type of cookie was placed in the appropriately labeled quarter on the plate. Four volunteers tasted
each type of cookie to subjectively measure each cookies appearance, chewiness, intensity of
chocolate flavor, and sweetness on a scale from 1-9.

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Results

In the analysis of our subjective and objective data, banana pure was deemed significant
in both appearance and intensity of chocolate flavor, the agar agar and flaxseed cookies
measured significant in appearance. Table 2 shows the control group to have the greatest height,
while all three test groups remained flat. Both the control and test group three, agar agar, were
well-bound, while both the test group two, banana pure, and test group four, flaxseed, did not
form a proper cookie as they were wet, runny, and fell apart.

Table 1. Sensory Evaluation of Egg White, Banana Pure, Agar agar and Milled Flaxseed
Sample

Appearance

1-Control

7.75
0.957

<0.02 7.50
1.00

2-Banana

1.25
1.25

3-Agar
agar
4Flaxseed

P-value

Chewiness

P-value

<0.02

Intensity of
Chocolate
Flavor

P-value

Sweetness

P-value

7.50
0.577

<0.02 7.00
1.41

<0.02

<0.02* 6.25
4.19

0.58 1.75
2.21

<0.02* 6.50
1.00

0.58

2.75
1.70

<0.02* 6.50
2.08

0.41 4.25
3.40

0.10 7.00
1.54

1.00

1.75
3.50

0.01* 6.00
2.94

0.37 5.75
3.59

0.37 6.00
2.44

0.50

Table 1 is the sensory evaluation of cookies measured from a scale of 1-9. The results indicate appearance, chewiness, intensity
of chocolate flavor, and sweetness. Compared to the control group, agar agar cookies were ranked most favorable in
appearance, while banana pure cookies were ranked least favorable. In terms of chewiness there were no significant difference
between any of the cookies. Compared to the control group, flaxseed cookies were ranked highest in intensity of chocolate
flavor, while banana pure cookies were ranked least favorable. No significant differences occurred between the sweetness of
each cookie.
*p-value <0.02 significance

Table one represents the mean standard deviation of the subjective data collected for
the sensory analysis of the baked cookies. The p-value was determined <0.02 if data were
determined significant. The banana pure was significant in the test for intensity of chocolate

flavor and appearance. Both agar agar and flaxseed were tested significant for appearance. Table
two measures the objective data, height and diameter of each cookie. Banana and flaxseed came
out of the oven runny and did not bind very well as the each cookie easily fell apart. The control
and agar agar were well-bound, not runny and soft.
Table 2. Baking Quality of Egg White, Banana Pure, Agar agar, and Milled Flaxseed
Sample

Height (cm)

Diameter (cm)

Comments

1-Control

1.3

7.5

light, airy, soft

2-Banana

0.1

23.5

dark, wet, runny

3-Agar agar

0.2

7.0

dark, flat, soft

4-Flaxseed

0.1

19.3

dark, wet, runny

Table 2 shows height (cm), diameter (cm) and observations of cookies. The maximum baking quality was
recorded for the control group, egg white. Both banana pure cookies and milled flaxseed cookies showed the
least the lowest baking quality.

Graph 1. Sensory Evaluation: Appearance

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Quality of Appearance

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Graph 1 shows the quality of appearance. The control group, egg white, ranks most
favorable in appearance. Group two, banana pure cookies were ranked least
favorable amongst panelists.

Graph 2. Sensory Evaluation: Chewiness

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Quality of Chewiness

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1-Control !

2-Banana!

3-Agar agar!

4-Flaxseed

Graph 2 shows the quality of chewiness. No significant difference


were found between any of the cookies.

Graph 3. Sensory Evaluation: Intensity of Chocolate Flavor

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Quality of Intensity of Chocolate Flavor

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1-Control !

2-Banana!

3-Agar agar!

4-Flaxseed

Graph 3 shows the quality of the intensity of chocolate flavor. Aside


from the control group ranking highest, flaxseed cookies were ranked
most favorable compare to the agar agar and banana pure cookies.
Banana pure cookies were least favorable amongst panelists.

Graph 4. Sensory Evaluation: Sweetness

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Quality of Sweetness

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1-Control !

2-Banana!

3-Agar agar!

4-Flaxseed

Graph 4 shows the quality of sweetness. No significant difference were


found between any of the cookies.

Discussion
Our control group performed the best, as the objective and subjective data were
favorable. The egg white worked as the best binder and leavening agent for the cookie for the
quartered recipe as we were ably to observe a soft texture and the cookie did not fall apart. Agar
agar was another preferable option as we observed textural similarities wight the control group.
However, the cookie came out much flatter than the control, leaving agar agar to be a good
binding agent, but not a good leavening agent. More comparable research needs to be done on
agar agar as a viable substitute in baking as a vegan option. Banana and milled flaxseed did not

hold up to our standards of being a good binding agent and reliable option in terms of baking for
a vegan option.
The starch content of the banana and stage of ripeness ultimately determines peak
viscosity. Our results for banana pure cookies were similar in the Abozeid et al 2012 study
where the sensory evaluation of banana starch cookies were ranked the lowest compared to
potato and wheat starch cookies. Banana starch cookies measured least in volume and height,
which were similar to our results when measuring height of the banana pure cookies. Volume
was not measured in this experiment, but it is definitely a factor to consider if this experiment
were to be repeated. In a study by Pohjanheimo et al 2006, their flaxseed rolls were concluded to
be favorable in improving the quality of bread, including softness and moisture content. Our
milled flaxseed cookies were wet and runny. It may be possible that more baking time would
have been needed for both the milled flaxseed and banana pure cookies.
As seen in Graph One, the control group scored the highest marks compared to the other
test groups. Test group two, banana pure, was ranked the least favorable in appearance. In graph
two, there werent any significant findings amongst any of the test groups as all groups were
ranked relatively similar. In graph three, as mentioned prior test group two, banana pure, was
significant. Our results came out similar once again to the Abozeid et al 2012 study where their
banana starch cookies were ranked the lowest in taste, which they state could be due to the nature
of the banana starch that does not always import any additional flavors to the cookies. The
control group and test group four, flaxseed, ranked most favorable. Pohjanheimo et al 2006 study
showed similar preferences when measuring sensory evaluation of their flaxseed rolls amongst

panelists. There was no significant data in Graph Foursweetnessas all groups were ranked
relatively similar.
Its important to note some mistakes and changes that were made throughout this
experiment. First, qualifying the recipe into quarters was not the most effective way to measure
each ingredient for the four test groups. Estimates had to be made, especially with adding extra
sugar to whipping the beaten egg white and then to each of the four test groups before placing in
a pan. The original recipe called for powdered sugar and we used granulated sugar provided by
the food lab in Davison. Not enough chocolate chips were melted to evenly split between the
four test groups requiring about a half to one cup more to be melted. Almond meal was mistaken
for milled flaxseed while preparing test group four. One tablespoon with two to three tablespoons
of water for the milled flaxseed to properly gel. Our missing ingredient was a banana and had to
be bought on site.
If repeated, the ingredients need to re-quantified in order to help produce the results we
expect when using vegan substitutes in baking. Its also important to consider adding a leavening
agent when replacing egg with an acceptable vegan substitute. We were not expecting the the test
groups to come out of the oven very flat. Not only did the height of the cookies surprise us, but
the banana pure and flaxseed cookies that were formed individually in the tin pan baked into
one giant cookie. Only the control cookies and agar agar cookies kept their individual cookie
shape when taken out of the over.
As far as vegan substitutes goes, banana pure, agar agar, and milled flaxseed are still
deemed positive egg placements in vegan baking. Our findings conclude that some adjustments
may have to happen for recipes that want to use banana pure and milled flaxseed as egg

replacerswhether it be combined with more other leavening agents or baked differently than
what the original recipe calls for to produce effective baked products. The control group was
most preferred, which we figured would happen considering eggs are very effective binding and
leavening agents in baking. Overall, agar agar powder resulted in being the better agent for
binding when it comes to choosing an effective replacement for eggs in vegan baking.

Acknowledgements

It is important to thank the faculty and TAs of the Rutgers University Nutrition

Department for acquiring the necessary ingredients as well as providing the location to perform
our study.

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References
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1. Veganism in a Nutshell. (1996, January 1). Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://
www.vrg.org/nutshell/vegan.htm
2. Egg Replacements. (2010, October 1). Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://
www.peta.org/living/food/egg-replacements/
3. The Ultimate Vegan Baking Cheat Sheet. (2011, August 1). Retrieved November 24, 2014,
from http://www.peta.org/living/food/baking-cheat-sheet/
4. Food Allergy Resources. (2013, May 1). Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://
www.kidswithfoodallergies.org/resourcespre.php?id=104
5. Abozeid, W. M., Salama, M. F., & Nadir, A. S. (2012). A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF
PHYSIOCHEMICAL AND MICROSCOPIC CHARACTERIZATION OF BANANA,

POTATO AND WHEAT STARCH FOR COOKIES PRODUCTION. International Journal


Of Academic Research, 4(3), 219-226.
6. Pohjanheimo, T. A., Hakala, M. A., Tahvonen, R. L., Salminen, S. J., & Kallio, H. P. (2006).
Flaxseed in Breadmaking: Effects on Sensory Quality, Aging, and Composition of Bakery
Products. Journal Of Food Science, 71(4), S343. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2006.00005.x
7. Dyett, P., Sabat, J., Haddad, E., Rajaram, S., & Shavlik, D. (2013). Vegan lifestyle
behaviors: An exploration of congruence with health-related beliefs and assessed health
indices. Appetite, 67119-124. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2013.03.015
8. AGAR. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.fao.org/ag/agn/jecfaadditives/specs/Monograph1/Additive-008.pdf
9. Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies Recipe | Epicurious.com. (n.d.). Retrieved November 24,
2014, from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Deep-Dark-ChocolateCookies-242468

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