Anneka Manning, a food author, mum of two and passionate baker behind BakeClub, joins us each month to share some of her industry tips, tricks and 25 years worth of experience. Today, she gives us the scoop on her top tips for baking with eggs. Plus, she shares her really ‘goog’ recipe for Roast Vegetable Frittatas!
From providing structure, texture and richness through to binding, giving flavour and providing a golden glaze for breads and pastries, eggs are a very handy ingredient when it comes to baking
Want to know more? Here 5 great eggy tips:
1. How to store eggs – Always store your eggs in the fridge in the carton they came in them with the rounded end down. This will not only help prevent moisture loss but also stops the eggs from absorbing other flavours from the fridge through their porous shells.
2. How to check the freshness of eggs – Eggs bought from the supermarket will have a use-by date on the carton but if an egg has come from elsewhere or you want to double-check its freshness.
You can do this in two ways:
- Firstly you can simply crack it into a shallow bowl with a flat base. Eggshells are quite porous and so as an egg ages, it loses moisture, the white gets more watery and less viscous and clings less to the yolk, and the yolk becomes flatter and less spherical. So by just looking at the egg you can estimate how old it is. If the yolk is sitting up and has a definite shape and the white is thick then the egg is quite fresh, if not you can presume it is older.
- A more actuate way of testing is to put the egg in a small bowl of water and if it lies on its side it is quite fresh; if it stands on its end with the rounded side up it will be two to three weeks old. Be cautious if an egg floats completely as it may be a couple of months old and not suitable to use in your baking. The ultimate test is to break the suspect egg into a cup – believe me, you will know by the smell if it’s too old to use!
3. Does the freshness of an egg mater? – Did you know that week-old or so eggs have the ability to hold a greater volume of air than very fresh eggs? So when it comes to making things like meringue or pavlova, eggs that are a few days old to a couple of weeks are best. But for poaching and egg-based dishes such as frittatas, the fresher the better.
4. Why eggs are generally best used at room temperature – For baking, eggs are best used at room temperature, when they are easier to incorporate into mixtures. If whisking, you can incorporate greater quantities of air if the eggs aren’t chilled. So take the eggs from the fridge at least one hour before you start baking. You can bring them to room temperature more quickly by putting them in a bowl of warm water for 10-15 minutes.
5. Why it is best not to crack an egg straight into a mixture – When using eggs always break each one into a small bowl or ramekin before adding to a mixture so that if there’s a problem with a single egg, the whole mixture isn’t ruined. It’s also easier to remove any broken eggshell this way.
Recipe: Roast Vegetable Frittatas
When roasting vegetables for dinner make sure you do extra so you have them ready to make these frittatas as a quick and easy lunch or light meal the next day.
Preparation time: 10 minutes (+ 5 minutes cooling time)
Baking time: 20-25 minutes
- Olive oil, to grease (optional)
- 3 1/2 cups (about 630g) chopped roasted vegetables (see Baker’s Tips)
- 6 eggs, lightly whisked
- 50g (1/2 cup) coarsely grated vintage cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped chives, flat-leaf parsley and/or basil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line eight 125ml (1/2 cup) muffin tin holes with paper cases or grease with olive oil.
2. Place the roasted vegetables, eggs, cheese and herbs in a large mixing bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and spoon mixture evenly into muffin holes.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until just set and lightly golden. (The eggs will continue to cook in the tin, so it’s ok if the centre is a little soft, just not runny).
4. Stand in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack (see Baker’s Tips). Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Roasted pumpkin, capsicum, carrots, sweet potato, zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms all work well in these frittatas.
- Add chopped fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage or thyme to your vegetables before roasting them for an extra flavour hit.
- You can also add a 210g tin pink salmon in spring water, drained and coarsely flaked, with the vegetables to boost the protein in these frittatas.
- You may have to use a small palette knife or butter knife to remove the frittatas from the tin if you haven’t used paper cases.
- These frittatas will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature or reheat in an oven preheated to 180°C for 5-10 minutes.
- For larger frittatas, bake the mixture in six 185ml (3/4 cup) muffin tin holes.
Check out the rest of our series Make + Bake with Anneka here.
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Copyright: Anneka Manning // Photography: Georgie Esdaile