Aquafaba, simply put, is the trendy name for the slimy liquid found in a can of beans.
(Appetizing, huh? Hang tight — it gets better.)
This bean juice or brine (yes, we are talking about the same stuff you usually rinse off and toss down the drain) is similar in structure to an egg white and can even be used as an egg substitute for baking, although how aquafaba works is a bit of a mystery and the science behind the replacement is sketchy. The bean juice does contain protein and some starch and it’s slick like an egg white, but that’s about as far as the research goes.
Science be damned. I just had to find if this stuff really worked!
Supposedly any type of bean juice will suffice, but I went with the mild flavored cannellini bean (garbanzo, Great Northern and navy are mild also) and whipped up a batch of traditional coconut macaroons. I replaced each egg white with three tablespoons of bean juice and omitted the salt (canned beans are notoriously high in sodium.) The cookies turned out completely normal with not a trace of bean flavor.
I had my doubts that aquafaba would perform as well for a touchy meringue and was shocked out of my shorts when the liquid slime whipped up into beautiful stiff peaks!
I can’t attest that this egg white substitute will work in every recipe, but am confident it would hold up well for the more basic baking applications like cookies, cakes and muffins.
And if you are wondering how your digestive system will react, I am happy to report there were no smelly side effects!
Are you a convert yet? Of course you are. Here’s what you need to know about whipping up your own.
Making Your Own Aquafaba
If you choose to make your own aquafaba, use a large bowl and submerge one pound of dried beans in 2 quarts of water mixed with 1½ tablespoons of salt. Cover and leave on the counter overnight; strain out the beans for your favorite recipe and use the brine for baking.
Bean juice will keep for a couple of days in the fridge or store in the freezer (check out this handy method) for up to six months.
What’s that saying about one man’s trash? Many food trends are little more than a fresh slant on an old idea, but this thing called aquafaba is truly an original!
Have you tried baking with aquafaba? Share your success stories! —Karen