Joy the Baker

Baking 101: Why We Use Large Eggs In Baking

October 27, 2013

Why We Use Large Eggs In Baking

Let’s talk about eggs!

Eggs play an important roll in our baked goods.  Eggs add structure, leavening, color, and flavor to our cakes and cookies.  It’s the balance between eggs and flour that help provide the height and texture of many of the baked goods here on Joy the Baker.  It’s a balancing act.

Different parts of the egg pull the weight in different ways.  When whipped egg whites are folded into a batter, they help the cake to rise.  Angel Food Cake is a perfect example of the power of egg whites.  Egg yolks add a really lovely richness and thickening power to custards and ice cream bases. Cookie No-Dough Ice Cream is a prime example of the luscious thickening power of yolks.  Yes… I just said luscious.

When whole eggs are heated, they become firm… we know this from eating hard-boiled eggs for breakfast.  That’s the structure that helps bind our cakes.  Finally, when beaten eggs are brushed onto unbaked crusts, they make the most wonderfully golden and shiny crusts.  That’s a lot, right!?  All from inside that light brown shell.

With all of the heavy lifting that eggs do in our kitchen, we really should talk about why we use a particular size egg in baking.  Why Do We Use Large Eggs In Baking?  Because it matters.  Here’s the deal:

Here in the US we have different size eggs:  medium, large, extra-large, and jumbo.  The large the egg, the more egg goodness inside the egg.

Large eggs are about 57 grams or 3 1/4 tablespoons of egg.  Extra-large eggs are about 64 grams, or 4 tablespoons of egg.  Jumbo eggs are even larger.

Most baking recipes call for large eggs.  If a recipe calls for two large eggs, that means the proportions of the recipe are counting on about 6 1/2 tablespoons of liquid egg.  If we were to use extra-large or even jumbo eggs in place of large eggs, we’d adding far more liquid that the recipe proportions account for.

Now… there is some leeway in baking.  It’s not always that  1 extra tablespoon of liquid will ruin a recipe.  Let’s not get crazy.  But, the more incorrectly sized eggs used in a recipe, the more the proportions are thrown.  Four extra-large eggs instead of four large eggs means adding 3 extra tablespoons of liquid.

When it comes to successful baking (and successful living), we’re just trying to get as many things  right as possible.  Using large eggs, as most recipes indicate, is a part of that success.

If a recipe does not indicate the size egg to use, stick with large.

If a recipe calls for extra-large or jumbo eggs, like many of Ina Garten’s recipes do… raise your eyebrow and follow along.  That either means buying larger eggs or weighing the eggs for accuracy. It’s weird though.  I wish Ina knew that was weird.

There’s more in the Baking 101 game!

Baking 101: How To Read A Recipe

Baking101: Must We Sift This Flour?

Baking 101: Why We Use Unsalted Butter

Baking 101: The Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder

Baking 101: The Difference Between Dutch Processed and Natural Cocoa Powder


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