Thursday, 2 July 2009

Duck Eggs

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!


  1. Yes - we bake with duck eggs, too! However, we started using duck eggs by pure luck. A vendor at a farmer's market was selling duck eggs, and I asked about them out of curiosity. She mentioned the fact that she has several customers with sensitivities to chicken eggs, but that they have no trouble with her duck eggs. Well, both my daughters have a sensitivity to chicken eggs, so we gave duck eggs a try. Hooray - finally my daughters can enjoy yummy foods made with eggs, and as a bonus, the whole family is enjoying better baked goods! Unfortunately, I also discovered that I have to compete with local pastry chefs for available duck eggs. :)

    You have some delicious recipes on your blog; I look forward to exploring some more here!

  2. Interested to read about your use of duck eggs - we have three chickens and usually get 3 eggs / day. Love 'em. The yolks are so sturdy and bright yellow that they are actually quite tricky to whisk up - they just want to stay in one piece.

    A friend has just bought 3 ducks, so with any luck, I'll be trying out some duck egg recipes soon!

    I have voted for your blog in the Dorset Cereals comp.

    Thanks so much for commenting on my blog - really trying hard to get it off the ground and amass some followers!

    Best wishes

  3. Oh, and I once made a Victoria Sponge with one ostrich egg - yep, just the one. It was great - and just felt so weird!

  4. Lisaiz - apologies for not responding to your comment before now, don't know how I managed to miss it. I guess any chance of you seeing this is long gone, but just in case! Enjoyed looking at your blog - it's always good to have another Sally Fallon fan - just hoping you will return to it.

    Grazing Kate - I'm very envious of your chickens, it sounds like your eggs are fabulous. Cooking with an ostrich egg does sound fun - it must have been one enormous sponge! Duck eggs are as exciting as it's got for me.

    Thanks for voting for me on Dorset Cereals. If you're not already on there, it's worth getting yourself there - I do get the odd hit via that route.

  5. Duck eggs huh?!! How interesting. We dont get duck eggs over here but it's such an interesting fact to know. Thanks for that!

  6. Dharm - interesting that you don't get duck eggs in Kuala Lumpur - surly there are ducks in Malaysia?

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