A rather embarrassingly long time ago, a packet of THE VEGG® vegan egg yolk arrived in my mailbox, ripe for reviewing. Having heard a lot about the product, I was excited to finally be able to try it. At first I had my sights set on something traditional and eggy, but then I remembered some of the trouble I encountered a couple years ago when trying to veganize my great-grandmother’s recipe for Easter bread.
The main problem was the color. Easter bread originally calls for about 1 1/2 eggs per loaf. (The recipe in our recipe box is for 4 loaves.) Using real eggs imparts a nice yellow tint that, even with the use of natural food coloring, I wasn’t able to replicate. Word of the Vegg was just starting to get around then. At the time I wondered if it might be able to solve the problem, but I never ordered any to find out, seeing as Easter bread is pretty much a once-a-year deal.
I did try the Vegg as an “egg” in this awesome omelet recipe from The Vegan Feast Kitchen. It came out kind of messy since it was my first attempt, so I didn’t take any pictures. However, I can tell you that it was very tasty and egg-like! Not so egg-like as to be off-putting, but just enough to have a classic omelet flavor. I filled mine with sauteed chopped bell peppers, mushrooms and broccoli rabe along with a little “No-Cheese” Sauce from the Forks Over Knives cookbook. I think the same recipe would also work well to make scrambled “eggs.” All you’d have to do was stir the batter instead of letting it cook into omelet form.
Using the Vegg is really, really easy. You can mix the whole packet up at once with a full liter of water or blend 1 teaspoon of powder with 1/4 cup water for the equivalent of 2-3 egg yolks. I’ll forewarn you: this stuff is exactly like an egg yolk, right down to the smell. It makes a thick yellow liquid that absolutely stinks. But when you add it to recipes, it works as advertised, doing the job of a regular egg yolk without cruelty or cholesterol.
For the Easter bread, I started with my original substitution of flax “eggs” for the regular ones and played around with different ratios of flax to Vegg using my mom’s mini-blender. After a little experimenting, this is what I came up with. Not only did the Vegg give the bread a nice yellow shade, but it also added just a touch of the eggy flavor and texture that I remember from the original recipe. I’m glad I was able to try it, and I give this vegan substitution two thumbs up!
Easter bread is a little sweet with a pleasant anise flavor. Enjoy it with or without icing, with tea, with jam or straight up. Happy early Easter!
NOTES: Traditional Easter bread calls for melted butter. I’ve tried this recipe with both Earth Balance and applesauce and had it come out good, so feel free to go lower-fat if you prefer!
If you don’t have white whole wheat flour, you can use whole wheat pastry flour; the bread will just come out a little darker. However, I wouldn’t switch out the spelt with anything else. I’ve found the lighter texture of it helps the bread to rise.
To get the full Vegg experience, check out the Vegg website for a list of places you can buy your own!
- For the bread:
- ¼ cup warm water
- ¼ tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp flour
- 1½ + ⅛ tsp. active dry yeast
- ½ cup nondairy milk
- ¼ cup non-hydrogenated, nondairy margarine (or unsweetened applesauce for a lower-fat version)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1tsp Vegg vegan “egg” yolk powder + ¼ cup water
- 1T ground flax seed
- 1¼ c white whole wheat flour
- 1¾ c spelt flour
- 2 tsp. anise extract
- pinch of salt
- For the icing:
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- ⅛ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp nondairy milk
- water as needed
- Combine the water, ¼ tsp. sugar, ¼tsp. flour, and yeast in a measuring cup or small bowl and set aside. This will get very foamy as you prepare the rest of the recipe.
- Heat the nondairy milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until hot, but not boiling. Add the margarine and whisk until melted OR add the applesauce and heat, stirring until combined. Remove from heat, add the sugar and whisk well. Set aside to cool.
- Using a mini-blender, blend the Vegg powder and water until thick and “goopy.” It should look and smell exactly like egg yolk! Add the ground flax seed plus an additional 1Tbsp of water and blend until thick. Add to the milk mixture and stir to combine.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the milk/Vegg mixture, yeast mixture and anise and stir to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, but not overly sticky, adding more flour if needed. Cover with a towel and set aside in a warm place to rise, about 1 hour.
- Punch the dough down and knead it again for a minute or two, adding a bit more flour if it’s too sticky. Grease a loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans, form the dough into the desired loaves, cover, and rise again for 1 hour more. Alternatively, you can shape the dough into 12 buns and place them on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet to rise.
- Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes for a large loaf, 30-40 minutes for mini-loaves or 18-20 minutes for buns. The top and bottom should be browned and the bottom will sound hollow when you tap it. Set aside to cool.
- Once the bread is cool to the touch, prepare the icing. Combine the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extact, and nondairy milk in a small bowl. Add water a little at a time until the icing is smooth but not runny. Drizzle over the bread and allow to harden.