Five Essential Vegan Baking Tips

Vegan baking is easier than it seems. Learn how to make perfect vegan desserts and vegan cookies with vegan egg substitutes and vegan milk substitutes.

Vegan baking is one of the most fascinating and exciting parts of cooking without animal products. I will always love the shocked look I see when I present someone with a baked good that has no milk, eggs, or butter.

Vegan pumpkin whoopie pies from Chloe Coscarelli's Vegan Desserts

1. How to Replace Eggs in Vegan Recipes

In traditional baking, eggs are used to help make baked goods light and fluffy, stick together, and be thick enough. They are so fundamental to baking that many people think baked made without eggs have no chance for survival.

We know that's not true. In some recipes, you don't even need a binding agent (like cookies and muffins), but you will need leavening. In other recipes, you need both leavening and binding.

Here are a few great vegan egg replacements:


Ener-G Egg Replacer:

This is the most commonly used egg substitute in vegan baking. It's available in many grocery stores, is relatively cheap, lasts forever, and is easy to use. But, it does give a crispier texture to the finished product and some people can taste the replacer.

1 1/2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons water whipped together = 1 egg

It works best in cookies and cakes. Don't try to use it to replace egg yolks or anything that requires a baked good to set (i.e. pecan pie, mousse, key lime pie.)


Silken Tofu:

Silken tofu comes in a vacuum-sealed Tetra box, often in the Asian food shelf section in the grocery store. It is softer than traditional tofu and works great to give smoothness to baked goods. It has almost no flavor, so you will not taste it in your end product. You should always blend silken tofu to give it a smooth texture.

1/4 cup blended silken tofu = 1 egg

It works best on heavier things like brownies and dense cakes.


Flax Seeds:

I think this combination gives an excellent replacement for egg whites. When you blend the flax and water, it becomes sticky and gooey just like egg whites. You will be able to taste the flax in your finished product, so it's better not to use it on simpler cakes and cookies.

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg

It works best in pancakes, bran muffins, oatmeal cookies, and other dense earthy baked goods.


Bananas:

Bananas also give a great sticky and creamy replacement for eggs. You will taste the banana in the finished product, so use it with that in mind. Any vegan baking done with bananas will come out light and moist, and will keep everything bound together well.

1/2 mashed banana = 1 egg

It works best in pancakes, muffins, cakes, and breads.


Soy yogurt:

You get just about the same results as using silken tofu.

1/4 cup soy yogurt = 1 egg

It works best in cakes, muffins, and breads.


Applesauce:

Applesauce works a lot like bananas in that it gives moisture and fluffiness to your baked goods. It doesn't have as much flavor so it's a bit more versatile. However, it doesn't hold stuff together as well as bananas.

1/4 cup applesauce = 1 egg

It works best in cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and quick breads.


Vegg:

Vegg is a new product on the market that is a wonderful substitute for egg yolks. You add the powder to a blender with water and whip it together to form the yolk substitute. You can get it on Amazon or at specialty stores online like Vegan Essentials.

It works best in quiches, custards, and in other recipes where yolks would have been appropriate.


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2. What Milk Replacements Can't You Use?

It's pretty easy to replace milk in vegan baking. Milk is made from a variety of beans, nuts, and grains, and each has its own consistency and flavor. Hemp milk and oat milk are the thicker milks; whereas rice, almond, and soy milks can be quite thin.


My mom's 40+ year old apple pie recipe that is naturally vegan because it's made with vegetable shortening, and it's also super famous with her friends and family.

3. Replacing the Butter

There are a few brands of non-hydrogenated non-dairy butter substitutes on the market. You can use hydrogenated, but the non-hydrogenated version is better for your health. Earth Balance brand is most people's favorite butter substitute, and it can be used in the same quantity as an recipe's butter amount.

Canola oil is another great option, but you will want to use less than the amount of butter called for in a recipe. For 1/2 cup butter, use 1/3 cup canola oil.

To make the baked goods with less fat, try applesauce or prune juice as a substitute. You can puree prunes (1/2 cup) with water (1/4 cup) and use the same measurements as with canola oil.


4. Making Buttermilk

Some recipes call for buttermilk, which gives a slight tang to the baked good, but still helps with consistency. You can easily make buttermilk by adding a coagulant to regular soymilk and letting it sit for a few minutes.

1 cup buttermilk = 1 cup soymilk + 2 tablespoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

OR

1 cup buttermilk = 1/2 cup vegan sour cream + 1/2 cup water


5. Vegan Baking with Unrefined Sugars

Many sugars are processed with bone char. Yes, that's bones as in the bones in your body, but bones from an animal's body. You can avoid using those sugars by looking for the vegan label, and by using unrefined sugars. Learn more about vegan sugars here.

  • Turbinado is a great option to substitute for white sugar. It is slightly brown, but tastes exactly the same, so you don't have to worry about new flavors in your vegan baking.
  • Agave nectar is the sugar from an agave cactus (the same one that your tequila comes from). It has a lower glycemic index, so it doesn't spike your blood sugar levels as much as regular sugar. It comes in liquid form and has a higher sugar intensity, so you will need to use less of it.
  • Maple syrup is also great as a natural sweetener. It can give the baked good a maple flavor, so be mindful of that.
  • Brown rice syrup comes from brown rice and has a flavor and texture so similar to honey that I think it can be used as an exact replacement.
  • Barley malt syrup is another natural sugar. It does have a slightly wheaty flavor, so use it more in heavier baked goods like muffins.

I hope this demystifies vegan baking and allows you to use your old favorite recipes and imagination when cooking. Enjoy!




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