Different functions of eggs

Eggs are extremely useful and versatile.  They can be cooked and served with or without garnishes as dishes in their own right, or they can be used in combination with other ingredients.  The properties of eggs allow them to thicken, bind, glaze, aerate, emulsify, clarify and enrich.  

Binding - The stickiness of the egg helps to attach crumbs or items to food and binds the ingredients together as in a meatloaf or when used in batters.

Thickening - Eggs can thicken twice its own weight, such as in custards or quiche.

Glazing - The egg yolk is used in sauces before browning the dish under the salamander, such as Oysters Mornay or for covering pastry with egg wash before baking, to achieve a golden color in the finished product such as puff pastry fleurons.

Emulsifying - Emulsion sauces use the egg yolk to emulsify the added fat/oil.  This helps to encapsulate the fat globules and prevents the sauce from splitting, mayonnaise is an example of this process.

Enriching - Egg provides extra flavors and body in sauces and sweets.  Liason is used to provide the final “lift” and smoothness in a sauce.  The Anglaise used for ice cream provides that lingering taste and mouth feel.

Aerating - Egg will hold the air in small bubbles to lighten mixtures by encapsulating air bubbles.  This can be observed in meringue or Pavlova, sponge or soufflĂ© to name but a few sweets.  Mousses and farces based on vegetables or meat also require aerating.

Clarifying  - Egg white will hold impurities and bring them to the top of a simmering liquid.  This ability is used when clarifying soups and sauces.



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