Egg white powder is exactly what it sounds like: dried powdered egg whites that can be used anywhere normal egg whites would be. The benefits of using egg white powder are: no risks of being contaminated with salmonella, easy storage and good shelf life, faster since there is no need to break eggs and separate the egg white, no smelly trash and no waste of egg yolks when recipe just needs egg whites. For a modernist version with similar properties that is also vegan, try Versawhip.
Egg White Powder Origin
Powdered egg whites are simply egg whites that have been dehydrated and ground into a powder. Modern processors spray tiny droplets of liquid egg whites into a stream of hot air. The air instantly dries the product and the result is a fine powder without the need of grinding.
Powdered egg whites or egg white powder are also sold as spray-dried egg whites and spray-dried albumin. Since egg white is often taken as a supplement, it is also sold as "egg white protein" or "egg white protein powder," though these products may contain bulking agents or flavorings besides egg whites.
Egg White Powder Applications
A modernist cuisine application of egg white powder is to make bubbles. Think of soap bubbles but with an incredible flavor.
Note that in our recipes for cranberry bubbles, lychee bubbles, and coconut bubbles we use an immersion blender to hydrate the egg white powder. That's because we know we'll be using the egg white powder to create a foam, so it doesn't matter if we aerate the mixture while hydrating.
Egg whites can be used to form thermoirreversible gels when mixed with other ingredients. A range of textures are possible, just as with soft-cooked eggs, but precision temperature control is required.
Egg White Powder Properties
Temperature (gels and melts): egg whites will thicken and form a permanent (thermoirreversible) gel in the temperature range from 60°C/140°F to 65°C/150°F.
Texture: Rehydrated egg whites behave just like normal egg whites, just slightly less gelled in their uncooked state.
Appearance: Transparent. Turns white when foamed or beaten.
Mouthfeel: Forms a light and airy foam in small concentrations after whipping. Forms a dense, thick foam when used in high concentrations in an ISI whipper.
Freeze / Thaw stable: No.
Syneresis (weeping): Yes, after freezing, and to some degree water may run out of uncooked egg whites, though this usually isn't a problem. Once cooked, egg white gels hold their water well.
Shearing: uncooked, quickly forms a stable form. cooked, you get egg salad.
Interactions and Tolerances of Egg White Powder
PH Tolerance: Egg whites foam better in slightly acidic conditions.
Other Tolerances: Will form foams in the presence of alcohol, though its unclear how much alcohol egg whites will tolerate before the foam begins to thin. So yes, you can use it to make cocktails such as Pisco Sour or Ramos Fizz without salmonella risks.
Synergies with other ingredients: We use xanthan gum to improve the stability of egg white-based bubbles. Other hydrocolloids could be used to change texture in other ways, but we know of no specific synergies. The gelling temperature of egg whites changes when mixed with other ingredients.
How to Use Egg White Powder
There are two basic ways to use egg white powder: (1) rehydration and (2) as a powder.
To rehydrate egg whites, combine 2 tsp. egg white powder with 2 tbsp. warm water to create roughly 1 oz. of egg white. It can take some time for the mixture to hydrate. Stir gently as appropriate. Avoid mixing or blending or the egg white will begin to foam. Avoid overheating, as the egg white can cook.
Powdered egg whites are usually used to stabilize foams. They can also be used to give texture to baked goods. When used for foams, make sure to hydrate in room-temperature or warm liquid and then whip as appropriate. It's generally easier to hydrate the egg white powder in water first. You would use the powder straight in order to create a more concentrated flavor.