What do you do when you run out of eggs?

Years ago, I was a fiend for pressure cooking. Once I acquired my pressure cooker, I cooked everything I could find in it, got bored and then put it in a cabinet never to be heard from again. The author of my favorite pressure cooker cookbook, Lorna Sass, put out a vegan cookbook around that time. It was called Recipes from an ecological kitchen. Poor Lorna. I stopped using the pressure cooker book and the vegan book got relegated to the bookshelf as a reference manual for grain cookery. One thing in the vegan book that has always fascinated me was her use of flax seed as a substitute for eggs. She would grind raw whole flax seed in a blender, add water and blend for up to a minute to form a thick paste. She states in the cookbook that it works just like eggs in her recipes and makes for light and fluffy baked goods. It sounded like magic. It sounded too good to be true!

Even when I was a vegetarian, I still ate eggs and dairy. I love my eggs and dairy! I still do. I’ve never used her flax seed method because I always had eggs in the house and never had flax seed in my pantry. Now I bake bread. I have more flax seeds than I know what to do with. Today, I had no eggs. I was completely out and I wanted a muffin with my morning tea. Today seemed like a great day to try an experiment.

Over the past couple of months, I have baked muffins using Herbert a couple of times. Once was the delicious cocoa, coconut and pecan muffins and recently, I baked a recipe from my blog friend over at the Lost World of Drfugawe. John made these amazing cornmeal muffins. When I saw them, I had to make them. They turned out delicious, tall and fluffy. Drizzled with raw honey, they were superb. One thing that surprised me about his recipe was that he used a full tablespoon of baking powder. I followed the recipe, making just a tweak here or there, to be rewarded with such light fluffy corn muffins. When I thought about it, it made sense. There are acids that build up with the starter. The neutralizing powers of baking powder and acids are what makes baked goods rise. Since I planned to use starter, buttermilk, lemon juice and strawberries, all tart ingredients, I borrowed this little bit of baking wisdom from John.

My muffins were tall and fluffy. The flax seed paste mimicked the eggs as advertised but they also lent a nutty grainy flavor that complimented my toasted walnuts. I used a spare amount of honey for sweetener, so the muffins ended up on the less sweet side and the springtime strawberries are a bit tart but altogether, I have to call these muffins a huge success. Just the perfect morning breakfast food to go with tea or coffee. I was told by an appreciative boyfriend that these muffins are pure strawberry goodness.

These springtime muffins are going to YeastSpotting, the place to go for all your bread baking porn.

This recipe contains buttermilk because I like what buttermilk does to baked goods, but if you want to make them vegan, just substitute soymilk or rice milk for the buttermilk and agave syrup for the honey.

Egg free sourdough strawberry and walnut muffins

3 tbsp flax seeds

½ cup water

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp lemon zest

¼ cup canola oil

½ cup honey

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup sourdough starter

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted walnuts

1 ¾ cups diced fresh strawberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, Place the raw walnuts in a small iron skillet. As the oven gets up to temperature, toast the walnuts for 5 – 8 minutes, watching them to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from oven and cool.

Spray two six cup muffin tins with olive oil spray and set aside.

In a blender, grind flax seeds to a powder. Add water and blend for thirty seconds until thickened. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.

In another large bowl, mix together all of the flax seed mixture with the canola oil, honey, buttermilk, sourdough starter, and lemon juice. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Let stand for a few minutes to rise a little bit. Gently stir in the walnuts and the strawberries.

Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Put the muffin tins into the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.



  1. April 14, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    One year I asked my vegan son if he’d eat hot cross buns with us for Christmas morning, not if they have eggs, butter and milk … OK what do I do = flax did the eggs, a vegan butter and soy milk = wow! I mean to tell you those were the best hot cross buns ever AND you could eat them to your hearts/tummy content and feel comfortable!
    Your muffins look and sound beautiful!

    • Mimi said,

      April 14, 2010 at 1:10 pm

      My 80 year old Dad is a vegan (Yes we are a strange family, the old timers pick up the alternative lifestyles, lol!). I’m happy I finally tried this. I’d like to make up a version of these without the starter that I can make the next time I’m down south visiting them. My Mom is not remotely vegetarian, so they go out to eat a lot. I’ve seen the ingredients on the Tofurky he microwaves, I’d hate to know what he is eating at Subway. It would be nice to make some healthy homemade snacks for him.

  2. drfugawe said,

    April 14, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Damn! We are really raising the bar on these sourdough quick breads, aren’t we? Way to go, girl.

  3. Richa said,

    April 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    The muffins look awesome…i should pick up my lazy butt and plunge into the world of sourdough ! I just turned vegetarian last year. I was trying for vegan, but thats too big a step right now.! Recipes like these are surely encouraging!

  4. Andreas said,

    April 15, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Fabulous muffins.

  5. April 16, 2010 at 12:03 am

    […] Egg Free Sourdough Strawberry and Walnut Muffins […]

  6. Joanne said,

    April 16, 2010 at 4:59 am

    Strawberry sourdough flax seed buttermilk muffins. I don’t know how you come up with this stuff. But I sure am glad you do!

  7. Sandra said,

    April 16, 2010 at 10:45 am

    This is so very outrageous. I absolutely ADORE sourdough but never even dreamed of using it this way. What a wonderful idea of using sourdough in muffins!

  8. Champa said,

    April 16, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I probably am going to make these since I do have lot of strawberries to use up and sourdough starter too. Nice muffins.

  9. Sandra said,

    April 16, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Sourdough, huh? Really wonderful idea. Think I am going to have try these. Thank you

  10. Jeanne said,

    April 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Oh, you used the flax substitution! I tried it recently, too, and it worked well. These muffins have so many of my favorite things (strawberries, sourdough, honey, buttermilk, …), I’ve got to try them!

    • Mimi said,

      April 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm

      Cool! I’m glad it worked out for you. Did you do muffins too?

      • Jeanne said,

        April 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm

        Yes, I used the same raspberry muffin recipe that I had posted before, but used the flax substitution instead of applesauce. I like the subtle flavor that the flax adds.

  11. Elle said,

    April 16, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Had heard about using flaxseed as egg sub but never tried it. Your recipe is going to change that this weekend. I actually have all the ingredients! Many thanks Mimi!

  12. Oriana said,

    April 17, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Well who knew! Flaxseeds substituting for eggs is something I never would have guessed. Your muffins look great!

  13. April 18, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Oh my goodness…these muffins are gorgeous. I’m serious! I tried to veganize a strawberry muffin recipe some time ago, and although tasty, they were lacking in the texture area. Your strawberry muffins look really wholesome and the strawberries so vibrant.

    I’ve been deviating into began baking, so the flax seed idea is very intriguing. Fluffy strawberry goodness indeed–are the muffin tops hard? That’s one thing that I have trouble with when I make muffins, I don’t know what to do to get those iconic “muffin tops”.

    • Mimi said,

      April 18, 2010 at 10:23 am

      I’ve had the same trouble with the tops and I think it may be due to the fat. I don’t think the oil makes the same crunchiness that butter would. These muffins had a little more the of the crunchiness factor and it may be due to the flax. Want to know a secret? Store the muffins in the fridge and then reheat them in a 350 degree F. oven for a few minutes. You’ll get the crunchiness and they’ll stay soft in the middle.

      • April 19, 2010 at 6:05 am

        Oh! These are good tips, I must kick my margarine out of my fridge, and use up my butter! And thanks for the secret ;D

  14. April 19, 2010 at 5:50 am

    Mimi, I put an award up for you on my blog. Only if you’re in the mood.

  15. ohiofarmgirl said,

    April 19, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Run out of eggs? hee hee hee i dont think we’ve ever had that day! our hens are cranking and no one crosses our path with out getting at least a dozen eggs! hope you are well – your pix continue to be fabulous, great work!

  16. April 30, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    […] Sourdough strawberry walnut muffins […]

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