Whether you have an egg allergy or are following a vegan diet, it's important to know which foods contain eggs and which don't. Since there are so many different foods that do contain eggs, it's not always easy to keep them straight. One point of confusion is bread, leaving many people to wonder, "Does bread have eggs?"
Most types of bread don't contain eggs and consist of a simple recipe of flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and water. However, there are some varieties that do, so it's always best to check the ingredients when in doubt.
To learn more about eggs in bread, take a look at our complete guide here.
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Eggs' Role in Baking
Aside from the higher fat and sugar content, eggs are one of the main ingredients that separate cake from bread. So why do richer baked goods like cake and muffins include eggs while bread doesn't? To understand that, we need to understand the role eggs play in baking.
Eggs provide three main things in baking: flavor, richness, and structure. Generally, eggs will make a baked good more fluffy, have more body, and have a deeper, moister bite. While all of these qualities are perfect for desserts, they're not ideal for most kinds of bread.
Types of Bread That Don't Have Eggs
The most common types of bread you find at the grocery store don't have eggs. If you're trying to avoid eggs in your diet, you can buy all of the following with confidence:
- Regular white bread
- Sourdough bread
- Whole wheat bread
- Rye bread
- Italian bread
- Pita bread
- Pumpernickel bread
- Potato Bread
- Cinnamon Raisin bread
- Naan bread
However, keep in mind that there are some cases where the above types of bread contain eggs. This comes in the form of an egg wash that is applied over the loaf before baking. This creates a glossy finish over the crust, so it should be easy to spot when buying.
Types of Bread That Do Have Eggs
The types of bread that do contain eggs are usually those with a denser texture and a richer flavor. Take a look at this list, and you'll get a clear idea of what to look out for:
How to Tell Whether a Loaf of Bread Contains Eggs
Of course, the most simple way to tell whether a loaf of bread contains eggs is to look at the ingredients listed on the package. However, this isn't always possible if you buy your bread from a bakery or if it's offered to you at a dinner party. That's why it's important to know what to look for.
The most obvious sign will be the texture of the bread itself. If it is moist, soft, and cake-like, then there's a good chance it contains eggs. If it is dry, firm, and crumbly, then it likely does not.
You can also look at the crust of the bread to see if an egg wash has been applied. If the crust is smooth, glossy, and shiny, then you should assume an egg wash has been used.
Finally, take a close look at the color. Bread like brioche will have a distinct yellow hue that comes from the presence of egg yolks.
Unpacking the Basic Bread Recipe
To get a better idea of the role of eggs in bread, take a look at how these other ingredients affect its flavor and texture.
Flour is the backbone of any and all bread recipes. Most recipes use bread flour, which contains a higher dose of gluten for a more sturdy loaf. The proteins in this gluten get activated during the kneading process, which is what gives bread its springy, chewy texture.
Water is another crucial ingredient in all bread recipes. It's the medium in which the wheat gluten activates and where the yeast is able to grow. It is important that the level of moisture be carefully controlled in every bread recipe for the perfect texture.
Yeast is the most common leavening agent in bread, though baking soda is also sometimes used. Yeast is what makes bread expand and gives it its spongy texture. Unlike baking soda, yeast is what gives bread its signature flavor.
Sugar is what yeast eats, so without it, your bread wouldn't expand at all. However, it's also what human beings eat, and greater or lesser amounts of sugar can have a big impact on the flavor of your bread.
While you might think salt is just for seasoning, it actually plays an important role in the yeast's fermentation process. Salt slows the growth of yeast to make sure your bread rises, but not too much.
Frequently Asked Questions
Whether there are eggs in your hamburger bun or not depends on the type of bread used. The most common type of bread used for burgers is brioche, which has a soft texture and a yellowish color. It's the color that should be a dead giveaway that the bread contains eggs.
If you're making bread and the recipe calls for eggs, you're better off leaving them in or trying a different recipe than just ignoring them. Most bread recipes are carefully set up to control the amount of water, how much the bread rises, and a dozen other things. If you leave out just one ingredient, your bread will probably be flat, dense, or too dry.
Most types of bread that have a glossy exterior do contain eggs, though bagels are the exception. In their case, the glossy exterior comes from the method of preparation, which involves boiling the raw dough.