Certain foods play a major role in cooking, one of these is the egg. It can be served as a main dish, as an accompaniment to other dishes or as an ingredient in an item.
Due to such versatility, the egg is considered a primary ingredient in culinary preparation, providing moisture, structure and richness in dishes. It also and emulsified and aerator when properly handled and used. For hotel management professionals, culinary students, chefs etc. it is very important to get familiar with the Eggs such characteristics.
1. BINDING AND COATING:
Egg used in such food mixtures as meatloaf or croquettes is distributed through the mixture. Upon heating, the proteins coagulate, binding the food into a cohesive mass of the desired form. This is why croquettes, for example, retain their shape during the cooking process. Frequently an outer coating of flour, breadcrumbs, cereal, or butter is added to a food to enhance its appearance, texture or flavour. An egg batter provides a binder for added coatings.
Foam is created when the egg white is beaten. The foam is made of bubbles surrounded by a thin, elastic film of egg white. When the foam is incorporated into a mixture, it provides leavening for such products as omelettes, soufflés, sponge cakes and meringues. When these products are heated the air bubbles expand and the egg white film hardens. The volume of egg yolks makes its foaming power considerably lower than that of the egg white.
3. EGG WHITE FOAM:
Egg white foams are used in many foods to make them light and porous. Egg white foam is colloid of bubbles of air surrounded by part of the albumen that has been denatured by the beating of egg white. The denatured albumen is stiff and gives stability of the foam. An egg white is beaten, it loses its elasticity but some elasticity is necessary for egg white foam used in such dishes as soufflés and cakes so that the air cells can expand without breaking down the cell walls. This expansion occurs in the heated oven before the albumen becomes rigid.
Soft meringues are made with 2 tbsp of sugar for each egg white. Topping the fillings while they are still hot and baking the pie at 375° F (190° C) until the meringues reach a light colour yield a stable meringue and reduce the amount of liquid (called leakage) collecting under the meringue and the tendency to the meringue to slip from the surface of the pie.
Hard meringues have a much higher proportion of sugar to the egg white. As much as 1/4 cup of sugar per egg white may be used. Since sugar retards the denaturalisation of the egg proteins, a longer whipping time is necessary. Hard meringue can be shaped into such subjects such as baskets, hearts, pie, shells or animal figures. The baking temperature is very long (1 1/2 hrs) and very low (275° F or 135° C)
4. EMULSIFYING AGENTS:
Eggs are used to form stable emulsions, mayonnaise, for example, Oil and Vinegar separate out unless the oil droplets are coated with the substance that keeps them from running together. Egg yolk is often effective in accomplishing this. Eggs are used as emulsifiers (Lecithin) in ice cream, cakes and cream puffs.
5. INTERFERING SUBSTANCES:
Beaten egg whites will act as an interfering substance in mixtures to be frozen, such as \»sherbet\». Tiny bubbles of air trapped in air prevent ice crystals from coming together and creating large masses of icy material. Egg whites and at times, egg yolk perform a similar service in the making of candy; an egg white added to certain candies interferes with the formation of large sugar crystals.
6. CLARIFYING AGENTS:
Raw eggs may be added to hot broths and coffee. When the proteins in the egg coagulate, they trap the loose particles in the liquid and clarify it. Custard, Puddings and Pie Fillings: custard may be cooked over hot water and stirred as it is cooked (soft custard) or may be cooked without stirring (baked custard). The coagulation of soft custard takes place at about 160° F (70° C). If in making a soft custard the mixture is held at the coagulation point for too long or if the temperature exceeds this level the protein is over-cooked, the mixture thickens unevenly and the finished product will be curdled. Baked custard is cooked without stirring in an oven at 350 F(176° C).
7. CONTRIBUTING FLAVOUR AND COLOUR:
The products in which eggs are used contribute to its flavour and colour, Examples are cakes and custard.
8. STABILISING EMULSION AND FOAMS:
In several products, eggs are used to form emulsions or foams. For example, eggs are used in salad dressings, e.g., mayonnaise, to stabilise an oil-in-water emulsion. In meringue and sponge cakes, the function of the egg is to stabilise the foam, i.e., the air in the liquid dispersion.
9. THICKENING OF FOOD MIXTURES:
For example, eggs function as a thickening agent in custard. The thickening effect is due to the coagulation of the proteins during heating.
The Definition of the Term \’Egg\’:
In Culinary, the term EGG refers to the oval, thin-shelled ovum of bird, used as food. There are many types of eggs such as goose, duck and turkey. In cookery, other types of eggs are often used but the chicken egg is most common. The standard recipes calling for egg are always referring to the chicken egg unless specifically mentioned. Below is the list of main uses of egg in the cookery or culinary world.
Types of Egg Used in Hotel and Restaurants:
Most commonly used eggs in commercial and home cookery are Large Eggs. Jumbo and Extra Large eggs are sometimes used as B’Fast eggs for poaching and frying. Medium, Small and Pee Wee eggs are rarely used. Eggs from Hen, Turkey, Guinea fowls, Ducks, Geese are used in the Culinary field.
Market forms Of Eggs
Fresh eggs: Often used for B’fast cookery
Frozen Eggs: Includes whole egg, whites, yolks, whole egg with extra yolk etc. It should be pasteurized before freezing. It is used for scrambled eggs, omelettes, French toasts and in baking.
Dried eggs: Should be pasteurized before drying. Includes whole egg whites & yolks. Moisture is removed through evaporation. They are primarily used for baking.