Eggs! How important are they?
Eggs, known as Oeufs in France, play an important roll in our baked goods. Eggs add structure, leavening, color, and flavor. It's the balance between eggs and flour that help provide the height and texture to our final products. You may not see much of a difference using older eggs verses fresh laid eggs when baking; however, you will see a difference in egg age when it comes to pastry elements like meringues. To learn more about meringues and how the age of eggs affect them visit Meringues Uncovered.
In European countries the large egg is approximate to our extra-large egg in weight. It goes to show that when looking at new recipes it is important for you to understand a few basic egg facts. The best rule of thumb is an egg can be divided by 60% White, 30% yolk and 10% shell. Out of the shell you will have 2/3 white and 1/3 yolk. We can all agree eggs are the same at this point but if you google egg sizes and weights - you'll find a different story.
This is probably where you get confused - I know I did! With online charts being all over the place and most not matching up, I decided to do my own little test. Below is my results.
Common weight of eggs in the shell:
Medium - 1.75 oz | 50g
Large - 2.00 oz | 57g
Extra-large - 2.25 oz | 64g
Common weight of eggs without the shell:
Medium - 1.50 oz | 43g
Large - 1.625 oz | 50g
Extra-Large - 1/4 cup | 2.00 oz | 56g
As you can see, the extra large egg yield was 1/4 cup but it weighed in at 56 grams. The large gave us the 50 grams in weight but fell short of the 1/4 cup line. So, in my opinion, the next time you are in a grocery store or at a farmers market and find yourself staring at the egg selection asking, "What eggs should I buy for my baking and pastry project?" My answer is, "Extra-large!" I learned a long time ago that recipes are formulas and the formulas are designed for each egg to yield 1/4 cup or 2 ounces of egg product out of the shell. I would definitely stick with extra-large chicken eggs unless otherwise specified in your recipe. Also, to some bakers the type of egg (brown, duck, quail, etc.) matters as well. I think for baking and pastry success, its the size not type that matters most.
What does all this really mean? Basically, you should be buying extra-large eggs for your baking and pastry projects. Farm fresh eggs are even better! When a recipe calls for a batch of eggs, substituting large for extra-large eggs will not have a huge impact on your final product. However, when working with a recipe that calls for one or two eggs, I would recommend you use the correct size or weight to ensure you have the right amount egg to produce the results you are looking for.
Pictured eggs compliments of Down to Earth by Farmer Anne