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FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

Flaxseed as an Acceptable Substitute for Egg in


Banana Muffins
Jessika Berryessa
San Francisco State University

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

Abstract
Eggs are an important component in baking; eggs provide nutrition, structure, flavor color,
leavening and emulsification, but unfortunately not everyone can consume egg. Egg allergies
are common in children and egg allergies subside generally subside by the time they turn
sixteen, but not everyone grows out of this allergy. Although flaxseed is not as versatile as
egg, it can be used as a substitute for egg in many recipes, such as banana muffins. Flaxseed
as a substitute for egg may have slight subjective and objective differences, but may be an
acceptable replacement for egg in appearance, texture, moistness, flavor, rise in baking
products as well as nutrient differing nutrient content. The objective of this experiment is to
create an acceptable banana muffin recipe for those who have egg allergies through the
replacement of egg with flaxseed. In the design of this experiment, flaxseed will be the
independent variable, while the dependent variable will be wettability, height, appearance,
texture/mouthfeel, moistness and flavor of the banana muffins. Samples of banana muffins
were separated into three different plates and were labeled using random numbers to
categorize the control, 50% and 100%. Fourteen people sampled each variation of the banana
muffins. They then filled out a scorecard to rank each of the samples in appearance,
texture/mouthfeel, moistness and flavor. The best overall rating with the most consistent
results is the 100% flaxseed replacement muffins. Therefore, flaxseed may be an acceptable
substitution for egg in muffin recipes for those who have an egg allergy.

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

Introduction
As more people develop or become aware of food allergies, more food products are
being made to accommodate consumer, such as gluten-free or lactose-free foods. The
Food Department of Agriculture states (2016) one of the major food allergens is egg (p.1).
Also, according to Kids with Food Allergies or KFA (2015), egg allergy is the second most
common allergy in infants and young children (and) about 1.3% of children in the U.S. have
an egg allergy. (p.1). However, 70% of children will outgrow an egg allergy, leaving 30% of
adults who still have the allergy (America College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 2014,
p. 1). Although, egg allergies are more common in children, adults can still have this allergic
reaction to eggs. Fortunately for people with egg allergies, people have been finding ways to
substitute eggs for other ingredients.
Although there are many egg substitutes, egg has a high nutrient value and most
substitutes may not have the same natural nutrient content. Egg contains biotin, folacin,
protein, riboflavin, vitamins A, D, E, B12 (KFA, 2015, p.1). Flaxseed is a fair substitute for
egg in baking products. Although, flaxseed does not have a higher nutrient content than eggs,
there are nutritional benefits. Flaxseed nutrients comprises of soluble and insoluble fiber,
omega 3 fatty acids and protein (University of Maryland Medical Center, 2015, p.1).
Flaxseed also contains lignans, a polyphenol, which has antioxidant properties to fight free
radicals in the body.
Flaxseed also does not possess the various functions in baking as egg does. However,
flaxseed does create a gel-like substance when soaked in warm water and refrigerated. When
mixed in with other ingredients, it allows the mixture to thicken and become one homogenous
mass. Therefore, flaxseed can be an acceptable substitute for egg in banana muffins.
Review of Literature

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

One of the most common food allergies among children is egg. Fortunately, an egg
allergy seems to be resolved by the time they are in school, although not everyone grows out
of an egg allergy (Allen, Campbell & Kemp, 2007, para. 1). According to Clark et al. (2010)
the prevalence of egg allergy is estimated at approximately 2% in children and 0.1% in
adults (para. 4). Egg allergies are more common in children, but can continue into
adulthood. According to Longo, Berti, Burks, Krauss & Barbi (2013), in general, a food
allergy results when your immune system reacts to a food and produces IgE (para. 2). IgE is
an antibody that the immune system synthesizes and it releases chemicals producing allergy
symptoms (American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, 2016, p.1). These
symptoms can range from hives and respiratory problems to the most severe allergy,
anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a less common life threatening reaction to an allergy. There is
no cure for a food allergy. Longo, Berti, Burks, Krauss & Barbi (2013) insist the treatment
option for people with food allergies is to prevent contact with the food allergen and avoid the
food completely (para.10). Due to treatment being limited to absolute avoidance of the
trigger food, different strategies are being created to replace or substitute eggs in food
products. One approach is to substitute egg for flaxseed.
Flaxseed is the seed of the flax plant and was farmed more than 5000 year ago in the
origins of the Asian, European and African countries (Young, 2009, p. 5). Flaxseed provides
many health benefits. These benefits include the reduction of LDL cholesterol levels,
lowering of blood pressure and decreasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and breast
cancer (Young, 2009, p. 5). The prevention of these conditions and diseases are related to
the flaxseeds nutrients. Herchi, Arraez-Roman, Boukchina, Kallel, Antonio, et al. (2012)
contends chemical analysis of flaxseed averaged 30 to 40% oil, 20 to 25% protein, 20 to
28% total dietary fibre, 4 to 8% moisture and 3 to 4% ash and the oil contains vitamins A, B,

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

D and E, minerals and amino acids (p. 1). They continue to state flaxseed contains both
soluble and insoluble fiber, omega 3 fatty acids and phenolic compounds (pgs. 2-5). Omega 3
fatty acids produce inflammatory eicosanoids, which decrease inflammation in the body and
thus may lower the risk of inflammatory prone diseases such as coronary heart disease.
George (2016) claims fiber is not digested and increases fecal bulk, decreases some nutrient
absorption, binds to carcinogenic sources in body, increases satiety and reduces LDL levels.
Intake of fiber has an association with a decrease risk in breast and colon cancer and a
causative effect on an increase in the immune system. Phenolic compounds, also known as
lignans provide antioxidant properties that fight off free radicals in the body. The flaxseed
lignan may have anticarcinogenic properties. Although flaxseed provides many nutrients
Americans lack, egg provides a wide range of nutrients essential to life.
Eggs contain many more nutrients than flaxseed. According to the Egg Nutrition
Center (2016) eggs comprise of thirteen essential minerals and vitamins as well as protein
(p.1). This includes choline, selenium, phosphorus and riboflavin, cholesterol, vitamin D, E,
A, B12, choline, lutein and zeaxanthin (p.1). ENC (2016) continues to state egg may
contribute in weight management, muscle strength, healthy pregnancy, brain function, eye
health and more (p.1). Egg contains cholesterol unlike flaxseed and does not contain fiber.
Also most eggs do not have omega 3 fatty acids like fiber does. The American diet consists of
an over abundance of cholesterol and not enough of the nutrients provided in flaxseed.
Although, egg is a valuable source of nutrients, flaxseed may be an acceptable substitute for
egg provided people obtain other nutrients not provided in flaxseed.
Not only do flaxseeds provide essential nutrients, but flaxseeds also possess similar
functions as eggs. According to Haisch (2016) eggs provide structure, color, leavening,
emulsification, flavor and nutrition. Leaving from eggs creates a rise when baking a product

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

from trapped air that expands. Egg contains lecithin, which has both polar and nonpolar ends
that can homogenize a mixture. Eggs add structure to product because the egg proteins
coagulate and thicken the mixture. Egg protein and sugar also creates a golden brown product
when baked, also enhancing flavor from the maillard reaction. Not only does egg provide
several functions in cooking and is used in many different recipes. Flaxseed is not as versatile
as egg, but perform comparable functions. Flaxseed can be used for structure or thickening
and have the ability to hold a different components in a mixture together. Flaxseeds soak up
water and swell creating a gel-like texture similar to what starch does. This hydroscopic
characteristic of flaxseed allows for a moist product. The gelatinous nature of flaxseeds allows
thickening and joining of components in the mixture. Although egg has more properties to
make for a moister product, flaxseed can be used as a reasonable substitute.
Method/Design
In this experiment, a substitution of flaxseed for egg will be tested to determine
acceptability of the general public for those who have egg allergies. Eggs and flaxseed will
be the independent variable, while the dependent variable will be wettability, height,
appearance, texture/mouthfeel, moistness and flavor of the banana muffins.
Samples of banana muffins were separated into three different plates and were labeled
to categorize the control, 50/50 and 100% variations. The sample numbers were randomly
selected numbers to counter any bias. Sample #3827 was the control using the original recipe
with egg, #5834 incorporated egg and flaxseed and #4619 used 100% flaxseed. Fourteen
people sampled the control, 50/50 and 100% variations of the banana muffins without any
awareness of the variables being tested. In order to measure our experiment subjectively, they
filled out a scorecard to rank each of the samples in appearance, texture/mouthfeel, moistness
and flavor.

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

We first used an original banana bread recipe from Betty Crocker, but later on changed
the recipe to create moister banana muffins. In the original recipe, vegetable oil and two eggs
were used, but in the new recipe, butter replaced vegetable oil and 1 egg was used instead of
two. Also, the new recipe added baking powder to the mixture. In both recipes, all of the
same ingredients used, were in different measures. In the new recipe, changes were also
made, adding brown sugar to the white sugar and having a consistent measure of bananas of
1 cups instead of three large bananas. All of these changes were made to make for a moister
banana muffin.
The new control recipe consisted of 1 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking
powder, 1-teaspoon baking soda, teaspoon salt, 1 cup of bananas, cup white sugar and
cup of brown sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1/3 cup of
melted butter. The difference in the 50/50 recipe was using an egg by scrambling the egg
in a bowl and using teaspoon of freshly ground flaxseed in 1 teaspoon of water. In the
100% replacement recipe, 1 teaspoon of freshly ground flaxseed was used with three
tablespoons of water.
The preparations of the recipes are as follows. In all three recipes, the oven was
preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Paper liners were used to coat the muffin pans. The
flour was sifted and combined with the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Next
the combination of wet ingredients: banana, sugars, vanilla and melted butter were placed in a
bowl. Also in this mixture, was the egg, flaxseed or both. In the control recipe 1 egg was
mixed in with the wet ingredients, for the 50/50 an egg and teaspoon of freshly ground
flaxseed in 1 teaspoon of water was used and in the 100% replacement 1 teaspoon of freshly
ground flaxseed was mixed in with three tablespoons of water. Then after the combination of
flaxseed and water, the mixture was placed in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. After, the

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

flaxseed mixture is combined with the wet ingredients. In the 50/50, the egg is mixed with
the wet ingrdeients the same time as the flaxseed. Then the flour is folded into the wet
ingredients without over mixing. About cup of the mixture is scooped into the muffin pan
and baked for 23 minutes. In Appendix B, the directions say 15-20 minutes, but each
variation of the muffins were not done until 23 minutes of baking.
In the tasting, each variation was labeled with randomly assigned numbers to avoid
bias. Tasters received a scorecard allowing them to rate each variation of the banana muffins
on a scale of 1-7. The ratings were based on appearance, texture/mouthfeel, moistness and
flavor. In general, an unsatisfactory rating would be 1 and a satisfactory score would be 7.
Results and Discussion
Objective Evaluation
Two tests were conducted to evaluate potential rise and moistness from each of the
different variations of the banana muffins. The first test conducted was height. A rule was
used to measure height of the muffins. The measurement started from where the muffin sat on
the table to the top of the muffin. Six muffins from each variation were measured and
averaged to find the mean of the height. The next test conducted was the wettability test,
which measured how moist the product was. To prepare for this test, three muffins from each
variation were cut in half. Every one half of the muffin was placed on a scale and weighed.
Then after recording the weight, those same halves of the muffins were dipped in a half-cup
of water for five seconds and immediately weighed after. There was a calculated average of
wettability for each variation of the banana muffins.
The results of the height and wettability tests for each variation of the muffins can be
seen in Appendices E, F and G. When comparing the results, it is easier to see what variation
had a more significant rise in the muffin and which one was the moistest. First, there was a
change in the recipe because the original was too dry (see Appendices A, B and for recipe

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

changes and original objective test results). In the original control recipe, even though
subjectively was very dry, objectively had the best results, measuring in 5.13 cm of height and
11.2 grams in wettability. The new control recipe measured in to 4.53 cm in height and 9.73
grams wettability. The new replacement recipe measured in to 4.75 cm in height and 8.57
grams in wettability. The 50/50 recipe measured in at 4.57 cm in height and 8.87 grams in
wettability. Objectively, the banana muffins that rose the most were the 100% flaxseed recipe
and the moistest muffins were the control recipe.
Subjective Evaluation
Although most egg allergies occur in childhood, fourteen adult tasters tested the three of
the different variations of the banana muffins. After they observed and tasted the samples of
banana muffins, they filled out three separate scorecards. These scorecards were used to
subjectively evaluate each of the different variations of the banana muffins. The scorecards
consisted of a scale from one to seven asking about the appearance, texture/mouthful,
moistness and flavor. These scorecards can be seen in Appendix C as well as the results from
the scorecards in Figure 1 Subject results of muffin tasting. For appearance, one would be
checked if the muffin was not appealing and seven would be extremely appealing. For
texture/mouthfeel, one would indicate denseness and seven would be a tender or fluffy
consistency. For moisture, one would describe the muffins as dry and seven would mean they
were moist. For flavor, one would indicate they extremely disliked the flavor and seven
would mean they extremely liked the flavor.
Overall, the 100% substitution muffin had the best results. The 100% flaxseed muffin
had the best rating in each section expect for appearance. The control, which had 100% egg
in the muffin had the highest appearance rating. This is most likely due to the maillard
reaction from the combination of the egg proteins, sugar and high heat, which created a

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

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golden brown tone on the muffin. Contrary to objective results and scientific literature, the
muffins with 100% egg was not as moist as the 100% substitution.
Figure 1 Subject results of muffin tasting
Contro

Substituti

Characteristics
Appearance
Texture/Mouthf

l
6.07

50/50
5.71

on
5.79

eel
Moistness
Flavor
Overall Average

5.36
4.86
5.43
5.43

5.14
5.29
5.64
5.45

5.50
5.57
6.00
5.72

Subjective Results

6.07

5.71 5.79

5.36

5.14

5.5

5.29

5.57

5.43

5.64

6
5.43 5.45

5.72

4.86

Control

50/50

100% Sub

Conclusion
The treatment for people who have egg allergies is to be on a strict no egg diet.
Unfortunately egg offers many great qualities in baking and nutrition. Egg contributes several
functions in baking such as structure, color, emulsification, leavening and flavor. Egg also
contains essential nutrients such as protein, choline, selenium, phosphorus and riboflavin,
cholesterol, vitamin D, E, A, B12, choline, lutein and zeaxanthin. Fortunately, flaxseed can

FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

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be used as a substitution. Flaxseed contributes structure as a thickener because of its


gelatinous nature when soak in water and holds different components in a mixture together.
Flaxseed also has health benefits such its ability to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, lowering
blood pressure and decreasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer because of
its content in polyphenols, omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, protein and vitamins.
Objectively, the 100% flaxseed muffins rose the most and the control recipe produced
the moistest banana muffins. Contrary, when people tasted and observed the banana muffins,
the overall best rating from our scorecard was the flaxseed muffins. The replacement recipe
scored highest in texture/mouthfeel, moistness and flavor. It did not however score the
highest in appearance, which the control recipe scored the highest in, most likely due to the
maillard reaction from egg protein interacting with sugar and high heat, creating a golden
brown color on the muffins. There needs to be more subjective and objective research done to
create the best substitution recipe for flaxseed in place of eggs. Fourteen people tasting and
evaluating the banana muffins is not enough to validate the quality of each variation. Despite
this and the many differences between flaxseed and egg, flaxseed as a substitute for egg may
be an acceptable substitution for people who have an egg allergy.

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FLAXSEED AS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR EGG IN BANANA MUFFINS

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