Meringue-topped pies and angel food cakes need a lot of egg whites. It can be tempting to reach for a carton of prepackaged egg whites in the grocery store when you know you are going to need a lot, rather than separating a dozen or more whole eggs yourself. These processed products might do in a pinch when you’re looking for a way to cut calories from your breakfast scramble, but do they work in other egg white applications? Cook’s Country picked up for widely available varieties of processed egg whites to put them to the test in a recent issue (Feb/March 2013) to see how they held up to the real thing.
Their test included three brands of liquid egg whites and one brand of powdered egg whites. They were tested in omelettes, baked goods and meringue cookies, then compared to versions made with freshly separated egg whites. The test kitchen found that all of the products were acceptable in omelettes, but none worked as well in egg white-heavy baking applications. This is largely because of the pasteurization process that the liquid egg whites have gone through, which toughens the egg proteins so that they don’t stretch as easily when whipped, so they need a lot more time to get the same volume as fresh egg whites.
The top-ranking product in the test was Eggology 100% Egg Whites, which turned out a great omlette and an acceptable angel food cake. The meringues made with them were still acceptable, but overly crunchy when compared to fresh egg white versions.
The rest of the tested products ended up being “recommended with reservations.” Organic Valley Pasteurized Egg Whites tasted good in omelettes, but took an astounding 22 minutes to beat to soft peaks (fresh egg whites took just 6 minutes). Deb El 100% Dried Egg Whites were grainy in omelettes and meringue, but whipped up quickly and were easy to work with.
Egg Beaters All Natural 100% Egg Whites finished at the very bottom of the pack when it came to baking. Although they made a very good omelette, the twice-pasteurized egg whites did not whip properly or rise in the oven when baked.