People keep asking me why I use duck eggs for baking. Well, when it came down to it, I knew that duck eggs were meant to be much better than chicken eggs, but didn’t exactly know why. Where did I pick this up? I couldn’t exactly say, it’s just something I seem to have always known. Having been asked the question, I’ve had to think about it. Is it because the duck yolks seem to be much bigger in proportion to the egg whites? Cakes do seem to be a little richer, a little lighter. Am I imagining this? I think some investigation is called for.
It turns out I wasn’t far wrong, the yolks are larger and richer with a higher fat and nutrient content. To boot, duck eggs also have more protein in the white, which gives cakes a bit more structure and a higher rise. They have the added bonus of a longer shelf life as the shells are much thicker. For a complete nutritional comparison take a look at this website
I’m very fussy about eggs and will only use eggs from poultry that are truly free ranging and are preferably raised organically (see Ingredients are the Key
). I’m lucky enough to have several outlets for local organic eggs where I live and I’ve seen the birds scratching about more than happily on the farm where most of the ones I buy come from. Bright yellow or orange yolks are what you need to look for – these are usually a sign that poultry have access to fresh grass. For further information about the benefits of eating products from grass-fed animals try reading Jo Robinson’s Pasture Perfect
If you can’t get access to good duck eggs, just substitute large hens eggs instead. If you find the concept of duck eggs novel and challenging, how about trying goose eggs? This picture comes courtesy of Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm
in Vermont. Goose eggs are meant to be the real business when it comes to baking – I haven’t tried them yet!
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