Baking recipes often involve whole eggs, which aren't always ideal depending on your particular diet. Luckily, a chia egg is a perfect replacement for regular eggs if you are allergic to eggs or enjoy a vegan diet. The combination of water and chia seeds gels to the consistency of egg whites, helping bind all of your baking ingredients together.
About Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have Mexican origins, although they are grown commercially across the U.S. and South America today. They are small seeds that can be black, gray, brown, or white, although the black variety is most commonly found in grocery stores.
While these seeds don't have a very noticeable flavour, they are highly nutritious. In fact, they contain a combination of fiber, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, calcium, and more. They are beneficial for gut health due to their fiber content and may also be able to contribute to reduced blood sugar levels. They are also incredibly versatile in the kitchen.
You can sprinkle them on top of salads or bread and baked goods before baking or blend them into smoothies. They are also incredible for no-cook puddings as the chia seeds will gel whatever liquid you put them into. They are also lovely added to granola, granola bars, or sprinkled on top of bowls of oatmeal.
If you would like to eat more seeds for the nutrients they offer or simply love how they look on top of a brightly coloured smoothie bowl, chia seeds are an excellent food to have on hand in your pantry. They add an abundance of nutrition to dishes including omega 3 fatty acids while also having an attractive appearance.
How to Grind Chia Seeds
To make a chia egg to use as an egg replacer, you will need to begin with ground chia seeds. When you purchase chia from the grocery store, you will likely only be able to find the whole seeds, so you will have to grind them yourself. To do so, you can put some chia seeds in a coffee grinder (I have an older model of this one) before pulsing them in short bursts until they turn into a fine powder. You don't want to run the coffee grinder for long periods or else the coffee grinder may overheat and turn the chia seeds into butter.
It is generally easier to pulse larger batches of chia seeds into a powder, so you may want to try blending a few tablespoons of seeds in the coffee grinder rather than just a single tablespoon. Also, keep in mind that a ½ tablespoon of whole chia seeds will be quite different from the equivalent of ground chia. If you have any extra chia, you can simply put it in an airtight container to add to your smoothie or oatmeal in the morning.
I don't recommend pulsing the chia in a food processor or blender, as the blades ride up too high in both. As a result, the seeds may not become powdery very easily.
Using a Spice Grinder
If you are in a pinch and don't have a spice grinder, you could grind them with a mortar and pestle. Keep in mind that this might take a little more time and effort.
Just to note, whole chia seeds will also gel the liquid and eliminate the need to grind them. The ratio for whole chia seeds is 1 tablespoon chia to 3 tablespoons water. You can scale this up to make multiple chia eggs if you like as well. However, the whole seeds will have a chunkier appearance in your baked goods and the slightly crunchy texture may be less desirable to you in your gluten free or vegan recipes.
How to Make a Chia Egg
Once your chia seeds are ground, you simply combine a ½ tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl to make a chia seed egg. The chia seeds and water will gel to make an egg-like mixture. This will be enough to replace a single chia seed egg in a baked recipe. However, if you know that you will need more chia eggs as an egg substitute, you can easily double or triple the amounts.
After you mix the seeds and water together, they will only require a few seconds or so to gel. The mixture will actually have a consistency reminiscent of loose egg whites, perfect for adding to your favourite baked recipes like cakes or cookies. You can even add them to pancakes as an egg substitute if you like.
Once you have made the chia seed egg with the chia seeds and water, you will want to use it straight away. It will continue to thicken as it sits, so try to have your mise en place set up completely before you make your chia seed egg and start baking.
You can also make a vegan egg with flax seeds if desired. However, the bonus of using chia seeds for an egg substitute rather than ground flax seeds is that they have a much more neutral taste. Chia eggs are definitely the way to go if you want an egg that won't add as earthy of a test as a flax egg made from flax seeds.
How to Use Chia Eggs
A chia egg is a wonderful egg substitute for those who cannot eat eggs or choose not to due to dietary restrictions. Additionally, they have a multitude of uses. You can add them to:
- Quick Breads
- Savoury and Sweet Fritters
Other Recipes Using Chia Seeds That You'll Love:
How to Make a Chia Egg
- ½ tablespoon ground chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- Use an electric spice mill or coffee grinder to grind the whole chia seeds into a fine powder. Pulse in short bursts (instead of grinding for long continuous periods) so the seeds don't overheat and turn into seed butter.
- In a small bowl stir together ½ tablespoon of ground chia with 3 tablespoons of water until fully combined.
- You'll notice that the mixture starts to thicken and gel almost instantly. Use to replace eggs in baking recipes like cookies or pancakes.
For flax egg ratio see this post