Thanks so much, everyone! ;o)
AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
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Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.
Yes, definitely -- that's a significant weight difference.
Do you think it really matters in cookies and quick breads? I'd have to weigh the eggs out of the shell and then work with fractions of eggs, which would be nigh impossible -- or at least very difficult -- where one must "beat in the eggs, one at a time" . . . Thanks! ;o)
I' definitely not a baker, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that most recipes are based on medium sized eggs. Large and extra-large are newer inventions based on the growth hormones given to hens over the last 30-50 years .I would interested to read an expert on this.
Interesting, bigpan! I always default to large eggs when developing recipes for baked goods.
With recipes that call for more than 1 egg, I think it will make a noticeable difference. Otherwise, you might be able to risk it with one small egg!
If a recipe says, "2 eggs" but doesn't specify the size, what should one do? Many of my favorite recipes are from the 70s and 80s -- and much earlier, e.g., Joy of Cooking Brownies, One Bowl Golden Layer Cake, 1-2-3-4 Cake . . . Now I'm wondering whether I should have been sizing down, with the large eggs from the stores in recent years, to use fewer eggs than called for in those old recipes. The eggs that were delivered fresh from "down in the Valley" when I was a kid, if I remember correctly, were actually somewhere between the large eggs from Whole Foods today and the tiny, really lightweight(!) eggs from the Farmers' Market. Oh, what to do. ;o)
I would probably eyeball the egg ingredient and add more if using a very small egg. I think that's what you have to do when ingredients are not listed in grams.
I don't know just how many baking recipes you have that you love and bake on a regular basis, but if you were to bake them all over a given time frame and pay specific attention to the ocnsistensy of your batter and the results, I 'm sure you will be able to readjust them (if necessary) after one round. I, too, use smaller eggs, but have been doing so for a long time and develop my recipes with them to begin with (makes recipes a bit more difficult to share too). For recipes that call for beating in the eggs one by one, I'd just crack the number called for plus one extra, beat them with a for and add that a little at a time to the batter while beating. You can easily save any extra in a baby food jar and add it to your scrambled eggs or french toast in the morning. When working with a crispy type of cookie, I'd just add an extra eggwhite. For most homestyle cakes, I think an extra egg on the smaller side won't hurt them. The ones that I get from the farmer's market actually vary in size in between them as well, so I pick a small one or a bigger one depending on what I am doing. A list of good uses for yolks only and whites only is a great thing to magnet to the fridge too. Hope this helps.
These are Fallon Hills Farms eggs and they are so light! Even the ones we got as kids -- not factory farmed by any means, but probably not purely pasture raised -- were much heavier than these. They were more like the Mediums you sometimes (rarely!) see in the stores now. And these also seem much lighter than the other pasture raised eggs I've bought at another local farmers' market . . . . So interesting.
I'm also wondering now if the difference in the size of a "normal" egg now is what has made some of those old cakes turn out different from how I remember them when we made them years ago. I bet it is, which of course would prove Merrill's point! ;o)
Being from Petaluma, aka, The Egg Basket of the World, I spent some of my childhood weekends and vacations candling and weighing eggs. That was before egg processors raised a million chicken in one place. If you raise a chicken and let her free range and make sure she has a good source of calcium she will produce a smaller egg than a factory egg, but even though it is smaller it can weigh as much because the shell is thicker. So, the size of the egg after being cracked is important because the shells are different thicknesses.
QueenSashy is a trusted home cook.
If you work in grams, it is much easier to do the measurements. My grandmother, who was an amazing pastry chef always measured her eggs first and then proceeded with everything else.
Come to think about it... I grew up overseas, in a "farm" country, eating eggs from a farm, where chicken were free range, corn fed etc. Before coming to the US I have rarely seen large eggs in such large amounts. Medium and small eggs were what we considered to be the "normal" size.
Trena is a trusted source on general cooking.
I've used farmers market eggs in baked goods for years and never had a problem.
I consider USDA "Large" to be the standard at about 2 ounces apiece. Not that I'm any authority but I'll offer "Joy of Cooking" as a reference. For some recipes 32% will make a significant difference, custards and cakes for instance, where the chemistry is critical. Cookies and quick breads, not as much in my experience.
I'm not buying hormones would have anything to do with egg size. Breeding, that's another matter. McGee notes most of it happened before 1900 and not, as one might guess, due to industrialization but rather with Western interests in "the exotic East".
As for standards changing, the current version of Irma Rombauer's classic chocolate cake is unchanged from the original published in 1931.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
The average AA large egg weighs 1.66 ounces without the shell, of course. All baking recipes, whether they bother to tell you or not, and many don't, are predicated upon AA large eggs. So, if a recipe calls for 2 eggs, you can assume that they are large eggs. In the case of eggs, their weight is conveniently equal to their liquid volume. Therefore, the liquid volume would be 3.32 ounces. Round up to a reasonable amount of 3.5 or even 4 ounces (go up, never down), and add your smaller eggs until that volume is reached. At home, I also use farm eggs which a friend generously trades me for fresh breads, so also run into the same dilemma inasmuch as fresh farm eggs tend to be of variable sizes.
Pegeen is a trusted home cook.
Yes, hormones affect products including size and longevity. That's why they're synthetically manufactured and administered!
Sarah is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Further to Cynthia's info (and for the metric lovers out there) a white is 2/3 the weight of an egg after broken, yolk 1/3.
50 grams (after shell) = 1 standard recipe large egg.
= 20 g yolk + 30 g white
Sarah is correct: the average AA large white weighs 1 ounce; the yolk, .66 of an ounce. A nice even break, so to speak.
I always assume the industry standard of one large egg in recipes that don't specify. I beat an egg in a bowl and add whatever is needed, be it 1/3rd or 1/2, using the shell to scoop and I'm not so fussy to get it exactly right. Ball park seems to work.
You say "synthetic" like it's a bad thing, Pegeen. The fact is, no hormones (or antibiotics for that matter) are used in egg production in the United States by federal regulation.
ChefOno, thanks for the info about hormones not being used in eggs. I didn't mean to imply anything negative at all. I was just responding to someone's comment that they didn't think hormones would make a difference. They would, if they were used - and I guess that's one of the reasons they're highly regulated in agriculture.
Egg size has to do with the breed of chicken, also. My Buffs produce eggs in the Large range, while the silver Leghorns, a much smaller breed, produce eggs in the Medium range. I eyeball egg size all of the time if I've got Leghorn eggs, throwing in an extra one if I sense it's needed. Not very scientific, I guess, but I don't seem to have trouble.
When I fiddle with recipes to adjust the number of servings, I approximate the number of eggs needed, then add liquid from the recipe to bring it up to the needed number of fluid ounces.
Sometimes I get farm eggs where the sizes range from very large to pretty small, all in the same carton (mixed colors too). I adjust for recipe use by using the liquid measurement of the eggs, with added liquid if needed.
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
What a great topic! How about variation in the percentage of the egg made up of yolk? And the richness of the yolk, which seems to vary greatly by source. Size/weight doesn't tell the whole story.
The farm eggs I receive from a friend tend to have yolks that are on the small size, while those of duck eggs are on the large end of the scale relative to the white. The general rule remains consistent: scale them in a liquid measuring cup by ounces, not by count.