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I've been reading (most) questions and answers (here) about baking bread (which I love) and how to replace eggs in many recipes (which I wish I didn't need). Turns out, I too have egg allergy (not too severe) and a few of my favorite breads require one or more eggs.

So far I've seen two options, in many threads, that look promising: Ener-G egg replacer and replacing eggs with flax. However, not a single use case I've seen here is about bread. I'm looking for an option to replace 1-3 eggs in a bread dough with: 500 g of white wheat flour, 200 ml of milk, 50-80 g of butter, a variable amount of sugar (5-50 g) and 20-30 g of fresh yeast.

Examples of this dough are the Swiss züpfe, the Polish chałka and a similar recipe from Galicia (northwest Spain) with even more eggs. And so many other breads, but these are my favorite ones :)

Has anyone tried flax or ener-g on a similar bread dough?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As eggs are a very versatile ingredient: when substituting, it is important to determine whether the eggs are being used as a leavening agent or binder (or both). In recipes where the egg is used primarily as a leavening agent, I have used a mixture of baking powder (not soda), water, and vegetable oil in a 2:3:3 ratio, though you may want to experiment with the proportions depending upon your recipe. You may also need to vary the amount of other liquid in the recipe.

Where the egg is used primarily as a binder, you could use banana, applesauce, or gelatin, depending upon the recipe (obviously, you'll probably want to avoid the fruits in a savory recipe). I've used, and been thoroughly disappointed with, the available commercial "egg replacers" and don't recommend them for any purpose. I've heard of using flax, but have no personal experience with it.

However: as the father of (and resident chef for) a young child with egg and milk allergy, it is my experience that successfully substituting for eggs is very difficult. For breads in particular, I don't even bother with recipes that call for eggs or milk, and favor those that use the basic 3 (4): flour, water, yeast (salt).

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The information is not too bad in general (although I haven't tried the bp trick for leavening and not sure how well it will work), but the question specified substituting in a bread yeast dough. There, eggs are neither leavening nor binder. –  rumtscho Jan 30 '12 at 11:31
    
Ah, indeed, that seems to be the case. As such, I suspect the egg will be very difficult to successfully replace in the referenced recipes, though the glazing/browning effect (from the wash) could be somewhat closely replicated with some sugar dissolved in water. –  djangodude Jan 30 '12 at 15:18
    
Coincidentally, I just had a pretty decent orange bundt cake that uses the bp trick. Instead of egg, it uses rice bran oil, cane juice, cornstarch and baking powder (in addition to baking soda). The result is not as fluffy as with egg, but still nice and yummy. As for the yeast dough breads... you've probably saved me a few pounds of flour and hours of frustation. Plus a trip to specialized store to get the ener-G egg replacer. Thanks! :) –  miguev Jan 31 '12 at 22:01
    
Great! Related: I re-read the recipes you linked to and they reminded me a lot of Challah, which is also typically made with eggs. I found an eggless Challah recipe at thechallahblog.com/2011/04/eggless-challah.html; looks like they basically use oil and maybe a bit more water and sugar. Might be something to try, and if successful, perhaps apply to your recipes. Good luck...food allergies suck, but fortunately we live in an era where we have tremendous resources to help. –  djangodude Jan 31 '12 at 23:37

I've successfully used flax seed as an egg replacer in my sandwich bread. 1Tbs ground flaxseed mixed with 3Tbs water (per egg), mix & let sit 5 minutes before adding to recipe. Flax adds a bit of nutty flavor, but worth a try for your bread.

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I often find the easiest way to replace eggs is finding recipes that don't use eggs in the first place. As you specifically ask about Swiss Züpfe (or Zopf, as it is also called), this recipe here Butterzopf klassisch (Bärner Ankezüpfe) and this one here Sonntagszopf use eggs only for the egg wash, but not in the dough, and you should be able to get away by just using a milk/cream mixture for the wash (although, the final colour of the Züpfe might not be quite as pretty). Here's a rough translation of the first recipe (the second one seems to be more or less the same, with the ingredients just halved):

  • 1 kg flour (preferrably Zopf flour, which contains additional spelt, but strong white flour should also do)
  • 1½ tbsp salt
  • 42 g fresh yeast (or, if I remember my yeast conversions right, this should be about 21 g active dry yeast or 14 g instant yeast)
  • ca. 5½ dl lukewarm milk
  • 150 g melted butter (cooled down)

    1. Mix flour and salt in a bowl and form a little pit.
    2. Dissolve yeast in milk.
    3. Pour milk/yeast and butter into salt/flour and knead into a silky dough.
    4. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled in size.
    5. Divde dough in half, roll both halves into long strands and braid, see, e.g., for Zopf flechten for instructions.
    6. Let rise for another 15 minutes.
    7. Brush some milk/cream mixture (this is where it would be egg yolk/cream mixture in the original recipe) onto the Zopf.
    8. Bake in the lower half of the preheated oven at 200 °C (ca. 400 °F) for about 45-55 minutes.
    9. Enjoy!
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flax seed powder is seen to be a good egg substitute check out the following link http://www.nomeatathlete.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/11eggsub1.jpg

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1  
That link is merely a table of supposed equivalents, with no information about how or when to choose, or detail on how they would perform in a yeast raised bread recipe, which is the core of this question. It does not add any personal experience or information directly relevant to bread as the OP requested. –  SAJ14SAJ May 6 '13 at 9:52

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