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The eggs factor

Whether on news coverages or at home, eggs play a big role in my daily life as a working single grandmother. They are sold boiled everywhere: on buses, roadside eateries and sari-sari stores, providing instant snacks. At home, they can be made into instant soups, omelets, French toast. They can also be scrambled, baked, or stuffed.

The ultimate convenience food, eggs are packed with protein and 18 vitamins and minerals. They’re also extremely versatile, making them the most important ingredient in your fridge! They’re nutritious, they taste great, and their physical properties and components make them indispensable in the kitchen. Eggs have qualities on which many cooking techniques and recipes depend, as explained in



Eggs have a great ability to puff up foods when air is beaten into them. Egg whites, when beaten, create foam that has more stability and volume than whole eggs or yolks.

Egg whites, when whipped, can expand up to eight times their volume. They provide volume and structure to soufflés, angel food cake, and meringues. For best results, use room temperature egg whites and add an acid (cream of tartar, vinegar, lemon juice) to strengthen and stabilize the foam.

Be extra careful when whipping egg whites. Any fat, such as a trace of egg yolk mixed in with the whites, or oil in the bowl, or butter or cream on the mixing utensils will diminish the foaming ability of the whites.

To a smaller degree, whole eggs and yolks can also trap and hold air that expands during heating, as they do in cake batters and sauces such as sabayon.


Pesto, Hollandaise sauce, and mayonnaise are good examples of an emulsion, the blending of two incompatible liquids such as oil and water. Since these two liquids don’t mix, an emulsifier is needed to hold the oil molecules in the water without the ingredients separating.

The lecithin in egg yolks is an excellent emulsifier. Lecithin forms a thin film around tiny drops of oil enabling them to remain suspended in a water-based liquid.

Creamy desserts such as custards and crème brûlée also benefit from eggs’ ability to emulsify and produce smooth, satiny, homogeneous mixtures.


Their ability to hold up to four times their weight in moisture makes eggs a good thickener for sauces, custards, and curds. The proteins in eggs coagulate or set at different temperatures. This results in thickening but it means that eggs must be cooked gently and heated carefully or they will scramble rather than thicken a sauce or other mixture.


Eggs can act as binding agents. As their proteins set, eggs bind ingredients together giving strength and stability to meatloaves, casseroles, and baked goods.


Eggs are used to coat foods with crumbs, flour, etc. as they help these ingredients adhere and also help to create browned appearance when cooked. Eggs have a stickiness that allows them to be used to bond two pieces of dough or pastry together (e.g. a decorative pastry garnish on a pie crust) or to provide a sticky surface on which to sprinkle seeds (e.g. poppy seeds on the top of a bun).


Protein browns when exposed to heat. Brushing pies, biscuits, breads, and buns with an egg wash (beaten eggs or combined with water, milk, or cream) before baking gives them a bronzed and glossy sheen.