Pro Taste

Bakers, this one’s for you

Have you ventured into the realm of vegan baking yet? It’s so fun! Whether you’re an aficionado with treasured family recipes that need to be veganised, or whether you’ve only ever burnt toast – this short guide is for you.

Here’s the thing about baking: it’s a bit of a science, so if you want to experiment, it’s important to learn about how the core ingredients function. For example, eggs in a cake recipe have multiple functions: a) to bind the ingredients together – so that the cake doesn’t fall apart; b) to add moisture – no one likes a dry cake; and c) to act as a leavener – think fluffy sponge cake!

If you won’t take the time to learn about these things, it’s best to follow a trusted recipe, to the letter! But if you want to whip out those family classics and try your hand at veganizing them, here are some substitution options that will almost certainly work. Just… don’t try them on a recipe that calls for 8 eggs. Can’t help you with that.

Milk

Instead of cow’s milk, use any plant milk. It doesn’t really matter which you use: soy, almond, oat, rice… They have different nutritional profiles, but they function in pretty much the same way when used for baking.

If you need a cup of buttermilk, just add a teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of plant milk and let it sit  – it’ll curdle, and that’s all you need!

Eggs

Eggs play an important role in baking recipes, so choose your substitute based on what you’re making. Here are just a few options, but there are sooo many! Google is your friend…

Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas) is a great all-purpose egg replacer. 3 tablespoons = 1 “egg”. Whisk it up before using. Believe it or not, it fluffs up like egg white. And no, it won’t make your cake taste like hummus.

Egg replacer powder is a handy egg substitute to keep in your pantry. Various brands are available at most health shops – just mix with water according to the instructions on the box.

Ground flax seeds and chia seeds are great binding agents for healthy bakes like muffins! 1 tablespoon + 3 tablespoons water = 1 “egg”

Mashed banana works well in muffins or cake where you don’t mind that banana flavor. Half of a large banana = 1 “egg”

Butter

This is just a fat that needs to be solid at room temperature: you can use any plant-based version.

Vegan butter or margarine (if you’re buying vegan margarine, make sure it’s marked as suitable for baking)

Coconut oil

Vegetable shortening (check your local supermarket, and scan the ingredients)

If it’s a cake, you can usually get away with using oil (canola or sunflower) instead of melted butter – it’ll just be a bit more moist than with butter.

This should be all you need to get started on your vegan baking adventures. But if you want to dig deeper and learn more, check out these two resources:

  1. Veganbaking.net – a blog with tons of recipes and guides on vegan baking
  2. Aquafaba (Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses!) – a Facebook group (88,000-strong) where people post their successes and failures with that humble but magical ingredient, chickpea water.

Happy baking! Feel free to share your results in the Veggie Challenge Facebook group and inspire others!

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