The Key To Better Baked Goods Is Hard-Boiled Eggs

Baking is, without a doubt, a science. As opposed to cooking, which can rely on vibes, we've all seen what happens when someone bakes without proper measurements — but baking shouldn't just be for those of us who like math in the kitchen. So, we're here to give you a tip that will make your baked goods delicious, just like grandma intended. The secret? It's simple and comes down to the magic of hard-boiled eggs.

If you balked at the thought of adding hard-boiled eggs to your baking, don't worry. We're not talking about a bundt cake split open to show a perfectly formed egg — save that for meatloaf night. This trick is all about the yolk and incorporating it so that it will add lightness to your dough and make your finished treats that much more tender. 

Using hard-boiled egg yolk has a history in Northern European baking but is still a great tip today.

Hard-boiled egg yolks stop gluten from forming

We're not suggesting throwing hard-boiled eggs into every cupcake or brownie mix you make. But a hard-boiled egg yolk should be a welcome addition to your doughier baked goods (shortbreads, biscuits, and scones, for example) because it impedes gluten from forming. Gluten helps give your breads and baked goods their chew, but sometimes you want something with a more tender bite.

Adding hard-boiled egg yolks to your baked goods is super easy. Start with some cooled yolks and then, using a sieve or a grater, grate the egg yolk into your dry ingredients. This allows the yolk to mingle with the flour before you add wet ingredients so the gluten doesn't have a chance to form and add chew. 

It's important to note that you are not substituting your egg yolk for one of the eggs already in the recipe — these yolk additions are on top of what the recipe already calls for. And a little yolk goes a long way: You only need one or two to make a huge difference in your final product.

Hard-boiled egg yolks make better pastry

It seems counterintuitive to start shredding extra egg yolk into your ingredients, especially given how particular baking can be. Aside from the long history of adding an egg yolk, contemporary bakers swear by it. 

The judges on "The Great British Bake Off" were impressed when a competitor used it in their biscuit recipe. And Meike Beck, Good Housekeeping's cookery director, noted that while raw egg yolks are common ingredients, adding cooked egg yolks is "a well-kept secret." She also said, "The result will be melt-in-the-mouth bakes, tender as can be."

Since this addition is about gluten, it doesn't work well in certain recipes — think meringues or recipes that need gluten-free flour. Beyond that, it works in most. 

Start with a batch of cookies to see how tender they can be, shave a yolk into some biscuits for a breakfast that really delivers, or add them to a recipe for brioche buns to elevate your next burger. The best thing about this tip is how easy it is to deploy and how tasty the results are.