A plate of huevos rancheros topped with a basted egg. Lydia Thompson/NPR hide caption

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The hard part of making an egg replacement product is coming up with a substitute for the protein in egg whites. Wilson Hui/Flickr hide caption

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The Salt

Eggs Go AWOL, And Bakers Scramble For High-Tech Substitutes

The national egg shortage is hitting bakers hard. Some are replacing eggs with highly engineered ingredients that promise to work just as well.

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Eating eggs with your salad helps boost absorption of carotenoids — the pigments in tomatoes and carrots. Photo illustration by Meredith Rizzo/NPR hide caption

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Cartons of eggs are stacked on shelves at Laurenzo's Italian Center, May 21, 2015, in Miami. Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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A gate blocks the entrance of a farm operated by Daybreak Foods, on May 17, 2015 near Eagle Grove, Iowa. The facility was reportedly struck by the current outbreak of bird flu. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsick says biosecurity measures are crucial to containing the spread of the disease, which has only infected birds, not humans. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption

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Steve Kudlacek is an undergraduate at the University of California, Irvine who helped Professor Greg Weiss develop a way to unboil an egg. Steve Zylius/UC Irvine Communications hide caption

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These "enriched cages" from the JS West farm in Atwater, Calif., in 2011 comply with the state's new law. They are larger and allow chickens to perch and lay eggs in enclosed spaces. Jill Benson/AP hide caption

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To refrigerate or not to refrigerate? It boils down to bacteria, aesthetics and how much energy you're willing to use. Robert S. Donovan; Flickr / Alex Barth; Flickr hide caption

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Free-range chickens lay eggs for Sauder's Quality Eggs in Pennsylvania. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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Empty shelves where eggs should be at a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C. The store blames increased demand for organic eggs. Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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The white egg yolk at left, seen next to a yellow yolk, may seem strange, but it's just a result of the chicken feed used, scientists say. Junko Kimura/Getty Images hide caption

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