Vegan baking is an art of its own – what’s one to do without the butter, milk and eggs?
Vegan baked goods are just as delicious as their traditional counterparts, but they take a bit more honing in the kitchen to master, as well as a wider knowledge base of formerly unbeknownst-to-you ingredients and techniques.
Here are 21 vegan baking tips you should never enter the kitchen without.
1. For leavening, replace one egg with 2 teaspoons of baking soda mixed in 2 tablespoons of water.
2. For leavening, replace one egg with 1 teaspoon of baking powder mixed into 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
3. Also for leavening, replace one egg with 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds mixed in 3 tablespoons of water. Let set for a few minutes to thicken before using.
4. For binding, replace one egg with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed in 2 tablespoons of water.
5. For binding, replace one egg with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed in 2 tablespoons of water.
6. Also for binding, replace one egg with 2 tablespoons of instant mashed potatoes.
7. Replace 1 cup of buttermilk with 1 cup sweetened nondairy milk mixed with 2 tablespoons of either lemon juice or vinegar. Whisk until creamy.
8. Replace cow’s milk with equal amounts of either soy milk (for richer desserts), coconut milk (for richer desserts), almond milk or rice milk. Make sure all milks are unsweetened.
9. Use coconut oil in equal quantities as you would use butter. The best brand that offers that buttery effect without the coconut aftertaste includes Earth Balance and its many butter variations.
10. If you need to replace just one egg white, dissolve 1 tablespoon of plain agar in 1 tablespoon of water. Whip it, chill it and then whip it again.
11. One-half of a banana, mashed, also replaces one egg in baking.
12. Canola oil, or any light tasting oil, replaces butter well, just use slightly less than the measurement for butter. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, use 1/3 cup of oil.
13. Vegan recipes often cook at cooler temperatures and for longer because they rely on sugars and starches for binding instead of dairy products. Keep this in mind when trying to turn a regular recipe vegan. Knock down the temperature by 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 5-10 minutes longer, keeping an eye on the baked good towards the tail end of its increased cooking time.
14. Buy organic and in bulk whenever possible. You’ll save money and support sustainable farmers.
15. Don’t be afraid to experiment – that’s how you learn!
16. High fat non-diary milks, like coconut milk, can stand in for cream in a recipe.
17. Always taste as you go – there are no raw eggs in there, so make sure you taste the mixture to determine any missing ingredients or whether you should adjust the balance of sweetness.
18. So-called “hard” flours have a higher protein content (all purpose, winter wheat and spring wheat) and are fit for studier baking, like for breads. “Soft” flours (pastry and cake) are better fit for fluffy recipes, such as pies, tarts, cakes and cookies. Gluten-free flours fall into the “soft” category, but you can always add in xantham gum when baking gluten free to offer the recipe more structure.
19. If you are worried about sugar, try a healthier sweetener, like agave, maple syrup or organic brown rice syrup. The proportion for substituting white sugar for liquid sweeteners, however, is not 1:1. Research how to strike the perfect balance.
20. Avoid vegetable oil, because it leaves behind an aftertaste. Stick to canola, which is light and aroma free.
21. Frost a cake when it is cold so you don’t mess up the amazing vegan baking job you accomplished up until that point.
Related on EcoSalon
15 Vegan Gifts to Buy this Holiday Season
8 Substitutions for a Healthier Kitchen
Recipe: Vegan Avocado Alfredo Sauce
Photo Credit: Rubyran