Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vegan Baking/Desserts

Here is some excellent material compiled by Heather G. for last weekend's vegan dessert class -

Butter Substitutes
  • Vegan Margarine – Earth Balance is often used since it has natural ingredients. To avoid trans-fats, look for non-hydrogenated. Keep very, very chilled when using for pie crust and chill before cutting and again before baking. Unless margarine is unsalted, reduce amount of added salt by half.
  • Coconut Butter/Oil – Great for pie crusts (adds a little flavor.) Not good for cookies as they may turn out very flat. Don’t refrigerate before using for pie crust as it will be rock hard!
  • Vegetable Oil – Use 25% less oil than butter.
Milk Substitutes
  • When baking, use a fattier milk for better results, such as soy, hemp, coconut, or nut milks. Less fatty milks, like rice, will give lesser results.
Buttermilk Substitutes
  • Use an equal amount of soymilk mixed with a little lemon juice. Allow the mixture to thicken 5 minutes before using. For 1 cup buttermilk, mix 1 cup milk with 2 Tbsp lemon juice.
  • Use an equal amount of vegan sour cream substitute diluted half and half with water. For 1 cup buttermilk, mix 1/2 cup vegan sour cream with 1/2 cup water.
Sour Cream Substitutes
  • Use a vegan sour cream substitute. One recommended brand is Sour Supreme.
  • Use soy yogurt in a 1:1 substitution ratio.1 cup sour cream = 1 cup vegan sour cream.
Cream Cheese Substitutes
  • Use a vegan cream cheese substitute. Recommended brands are Tofutte (non-hydrogenated version) and Follow Your Heart.
  • Use coconut cream with lemon juice; mix a dash of lemon juice with heavy coconut cream.
Egg Substitutes

Eggs are used for either binding the other ingredients and thickening or they are used for leavening – helping the dessert to rise and be light and fluffy. It is best to identify the egg’s purpose in a recipe in order to best replace it. You may need to experiment with this! And while you won’t be able to create some very light items, most baking with one to four eggs can be replicated.

- In cookies and muffins, no binding agent is generally needed.

- In quick breads and cakes both leavening and binding is needed.

- In custard pies, like pumpkin pie, eggs are mainly for thickening.

For Leavening (cakes, cookies, muffins, quick breads, etc.)

  • Use soymilk with lemon; mix 1/4 cup soymilk with 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice for one egg equivalent.
  • Use sour cream substitute with baking soda; mix 1/4 cup Sour Supreme + 1/4 tsp. baking soda for one egg equivalent.

Optional: In cakes and quick breads, add 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch/arrowroot powder to the dry ingredients for each egg being replaced. This will bind the ingredients and give a nice soft texture.

For Thickening and Binding:

  • Use finely ground flaxseeds whipped with water; mix 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds with 3 Tbsp water for one egg equivalent. Note: flaxseeds are strictly a binder, so where leavening is also needed, one solution is to mix in a little bit of Ener G Egg Replacer.
  • Use cornstarch with pureed soft tofu; mix 3 Tbsp. pureed tofu with 2 tsp. Cornstarch. (Good for quiches and custard pies.)
  • Commercial Egg Replacers – Ener G Egg Replacer is a popular brand. Note: some people notice a bitter aftertaste.
  • Use soy flour mixed with water; mix 1 heaping Tbsp. soy flour with 1 Tbsp. water. Note: Add more water if it seems too dry.

Fat Free Egg Replacers

  • Pureed fruit (applesauce, pureed banana, squash or pumpkin) works as a binder. They are low in fat but some flavor may transfer over to the finished product. 1/4 cup puree substitutes as one egg equivalent.

Gelatin Substitutions

  • Agar agar flakes, powders, or bars. This will thicken as it heats. Note: agar agar sets more firmly than gelatin.
  • Commercial substitution – There are some commercial products for Jello available. (Natural Desserts Gluten-Free Vegan Jel Desserts is available at Eureka Natural Foods.)
Honey Substitutions
  • Alternative liquid sweeteners. Agave, maple syrup, liquid FruitSource can be substituted in equal measure. Varying in sweetness are frozen fruit-juice concentrates, malt syrup, brown rice syrup, sorghum syrup; with these experimentation may be necessary.
Sugar Substitutions
  • Alternative dry sweeteners. Beet sugar, fructose, evaporated cane juice crystals, unbleached cane sugar, turbinado sugar, palm sugar, date sugar, maple crystals, and granulated FruitSource are alternatives. Note: some dissolve better than others, so experimentation may be necessary.

Note: Many vegans do not eat sugar since some sugar is refined using bone char from animals.

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