Vegan Baking

I enjoy baking when I get a chance to do so. When I do bake though, I find I don’t want to eat what I’ve baked. Maybe it’s the effort that went into the baking process or I simply enjoy seeing others eat it happily. Regardless, it’s fun to do when I have time. I have a bit of a soft spot to desserts and anything sweet every now and then. Unfortunately, most vegans can’t just run to the local store and pick up a cake to satisfy a craving. Those who are vegan would have to pay attention at the ingredients list.  Many dessert shops now offer Vegan or Gluten-free cake. What if you can’t find one? Would you consider baking it yourself? Why not! You may not succeed on the first try, but practice makes perfect.

As you may already know, many baking recipes you find on the internet require dairy products such as eggs, milk, and butter. Can you still enjoy baked goods even if you’re Vegan? Of course! Thankfully, there are many items available for vegan baking. Here are a few tips on how to replace items many dairy products and other non-vegan items.

1. Eggs

Do you remember the article on flax seeds and how you can use them as an egg substitute? That’s where flax seeds come in handy for baking. 1/3 cup flax seeds to 1 cup water can make 6 flax “eggs”. 3 tablespoons = 1 egg. You’ll have to grind the flax seed into a powder form then slowly add water and blend until it produces a gooey mixture. (If you are left with unused portions, refrigerate for up to 6 days.)

2. Milk

Replace with any other milk of your liking. Soy milk and coconut milk is a great replacement for richer desserts. If your desserts don’t need to be that rich, replace with almond or rice milk instead.

3. Butter 

Try coconut oil. Also, try any other vegan butter or vegan margarine. I don’t recommend margarine because it’s bad for your health due to the hydrogenation. In the past I would bake using margarine before and I was never satisfied with the results. My cookies would fall incredibly flat and the taste was just not right for me.

4. Cream

Luckily, there’s no need to mix anything to substitute for cream. Try and look for Silk’s Original Flavor Soy Creamer. 

5. Buttermilk

Mix soy milk with an acid such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and let sit for 5-10 minutes. The general rule here is 1 tablespoon of acid add to 1 cup measuring cup and add the milk and fill to the top. 

6. Condensed milk

Canned coconut milk can be used as a substitute here.

7. Heavy cream

Refrigerate an upside down can of coconut milk for 2 days. This will make the layers separate because of the difference in density. Pour out the water that has now separated from the thick layer. You can choose to save that for something else. Scoop out that thick layer and replace for heavy cream. You can even make whipped coconut cream with that thick layer. 

When you adjust or revise a recipe, it might not work on the first try. So practice is important. Don’t give up if the first batch doesn’t work! I was on the brink of giving up on baking, and I started doing a little more research. After multiple failed batches of cookies and cupcakes, I began to look at the ingredients and material I used. I found that splitting the ingredients worked as well. Dark brown sugar and light brown sugar can change the taste of a cookie. More baking soda or baking powder changed the chewiness or softness of a cookie. Little things like that.

If you do enjoy the occasional baking such as myself, you’ll know that many recipes will require preheating the oven from 325°F – 350°F. I have found that not all ovens and cookie sheets are made the same. My oven at home gets super hot very quickly, if I left my cookie dough in for 12 minutes at 350°F, it would not result in that nice golden crust I wanted. After tons of research, I found some nifty tips from bakers about adjusting the temperature and time. I also found that the different metals can also control different heat for some cookie sheets. This is my personal research, but when I switched from a darker cookie sheet to a lighter cookie sheet, my cookies came out more evenly baked. 

Little adjustments that fit your baking style is helpful to know. Don’t make that dozen batch just yet. Test a small batch to find that right temperature and time for your batter. So even if you mess up, you won’t mess up a dozen cupcakes or cookies at a time and be left with no batter to continue baking. Another tip to keep in mind is to make sure your ingredients are still fresh. Baking soda and baking powder can expire if it’s been stored for too long. To find out if the baking soda and baking powder is still good to use, try this easy test.

Baking Powder: Place 1 tablespoon hot water in a bowl and add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. If it bubbles and fizzes, it’s still fresh.

Baking Soda: Place 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in a bowl with 1 tablespoon white vinegar. If it bubbles and fizzes, it’s still fresh.

So I hope this list helps you out when you’re experimenting with those vegan recipes. Feel free to share some tips with us! We’d love to hear what your bakers secret are.

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