Monday, April 23, 2012

The powdered egg experiment

Alert:  this is a very geeky post.  As part of my formal education I took a variety of food science classes.  In those classes we experimented with the ingredients and preparations of foods.  When Shelf Reliance announced the new eggs products I was interested in comparing the old and new products side by side.  I conducted a simple semi scientific experiment with comparing the eggs using a commercially packaged cake mix (pink lemonade cake, which my daughter choose).  Here is what I found.

Shelf Reliance recently introduced new powdered eggs. With three new products.
  • New Powdered eggs (that are minus the anti caking agent sodium silicoalumnate”
  • Powdered Eggs Whites--I am so excited.  This is something I have been looking for.  
  • Scrambled Egg Mix--This is a whole egg product (it’s only ingredient is eggs) that has been specially processed to create easy to make scrambled eggs.  You might remember that I make scrambled eggs from my powdered eggs and with a little extra work it is no problem.  If you don’t want to go to the extra effort then Scrambled Egg Mix is just what you need.

Let’s chat about the New Powdered Eggs.  (or you can skip down to see the cupcakes)

How are they different from the old powdered eggs?
  • They contain only “whole eggs”
  • In the past Shelf Reliance powdered eggs contained an anti caking agent “sodium silicoaluminate”.  In the new eggs (which is what is currently available) the anti caking agent has been removed.

Why did they ever contain “Sodium silicoaluminate?”
  • It is an anti caking agent that is commonly added to powdered foods to prevent the formation of lumps and for easing packaging, transport, and consumption.

Why was it removed?  
  • The leadership at Shelf Reliance is committed to having the best and healthiest products.  One of the thing they did not like was this additive.  So it was removed.
  • One of the problems that I found with the powdered eggs was that sometime when using a commercially packaged cake mix, the powdered eggs would cause the cake to be VERY crumbly.  This was the anti caking agent at work.   


So I was curious, how do the new eggs work in baking.  I made a few batches of cupcakes to try out the new eggs.  And when I say a few batches I mean 4.
  • Batch #1 as a control made exactly how the box said using fresh eggs.
  • Batch #2  made with the old powdered eggs, using the correct number of eggs and water (1 Tablespoon powdered eggs + 2 Tablespoons water = 1 egg)
  • Batch #3 made with the new powdered eggs that do not contain the anti caking agent, using tusing the correct number of eggs and water (1 Tablespoon powdered eggs + 2 Tablespoons water = 1 egg)
  • Batch #4 Made with egg white powder, according to the boxed mix directions for egg whites only.  (1 teaspoon egg white powder + 2 tsp water = 1 egg white)  I do realize that not all cake mixes contain directions for using egg whites only, but I chose one that did because I wanted to see how it compared.
Results:  


Batch #1 made with fresh eggs.  Turned out just as you would expect.  The cake held together well and the air pockets were small.   

Batch #2  made with the old powdered eggs that contain the anti caking agent.

This batch was a little crumbly, and had a much larger crumb.  Notice the large “wholes” or in the photo.  I thought that this was an acceptable cupcake, when looking at it on its own, but when compared to the others there was definitely a difference.

Batch #3 made with the new powdered eggs that do not contain the anti caking agent.  This batch had a fine crumb (much smaller than any of the others) and held together well.  There was no crumbling.


Batch #4 Made with egg white powder, according to the boxed mix directions for egg whites only.  
This cake tore apart as I removed the cupcake wrapper.  Possibly because the lack of fat in the batter.  The crumb was large and it crumbled easily.  In my experience this is pretty typical of cakes baked with egg whites.

Summary:  Personally I prefer my food to have as few additives as possible.  I like that the powdered eggs now contain only eggs.  The cupcakes with the new eggs held together better and had a finer crumb.  I see those all as positive things.  I am pleased with the change in powdered eggs.  One of the reasons that I like to bake with powdered eggs is that it gives you a consistent result.  Fresh eggs vary slightly in water content and protein content which can cause  variations in the final product.  I am very pleased with the fine crumb that the new powdered eggs created in the cup cakes.  

6 comments:

Sariah said...

Heather I am a geek too because I loved this post and wonder how you find the time to do such a scientific experiment!

Thank you for the thorough review of the new eggs.

Autumn Christiansen said...

Also a "food geek" who loves the science behind food and seeing why things work. I had planned to do this experiment myself...now I don't have to! Fabulous experiment!!!

Heidi said...

Thank you so much for posting this, Heather! Love it!

clc7 said...

Thank you for the great analysis!

Surama Roper said...

I love the fact there are people like you to do the work that people like me hate to do. Thank you so much for taking that burden of my back. Keep up with the good work.Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

ThriveSisters said...

Thank you! Really appreciate the work and effort and your sharing your results with all of us!

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