Baking takes practice and vegan baking takes even more practice. The basics revolve around substitutes like: flax eggs, soy milk, mashed fruit, etc. I guess I’ll start with some of my vegan baking “hacks”.
To substitute eggs, I use either a flax egg or a mashed banana. When I want to imitate the structure eggs give, I use ground flax seed mixed with water. I typically use 1 tablespoon in place of one egg and mix this with 2-3 tablespoons of water. In most of my recipes, I use 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed with 4-6 tablespoons of water. I let it rest for about 5 minutes or until it is a gel like consistency. When I want the creamy texture eggs give, I go for mashed fruit. I typically use a mashed banana. If it is a fall recipe, then I might use pumpkin or sweet potato puree. One full banana equals two eggs in my opinion. You might find different measurements from other sources, but I have found that one banana is equal to 2 eggs.
Applesauce can be used to replace eggs or to replace oil in some cases. In place of butter: I use margarine (Earth Balance), coconut oil, or peanut butter depending on the recipe.
Another tip is to use slightly more baking powder. Let’s say that a non-vegan recipe calls for a teaspoon of baking powder. I might add 2 teaspoons. For pancakes and scones, I might even add up to 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
An obvious substitution is non-dairy milk. There are so many options and I have been able to find non-dairy milk nearly everywhere. I usually go for almond or soy milk. Oat milk and hazelnut milk are other options. The reason I go for soy milk more often is because it is most similar to dairy milk in terms of protein and vitamins/minerals. It is also more environmentally friendly compared to other plant milks and it has a neutral flavor. Fun fact, you can make a buttermilk substitute by mixing soy milk with either citrus or apple cider vinegar. Even if you are not plant-based, plant milks are sometimes cheaper than dairy milk and they don’t go rancid after a week.
I hope these quick hacks help you with enjoying plant-based baking. While I enjoy baking and do it frequently, I still make mistakes. I thought I would share some of my fails and also some of my successes.
Cranberry Bread Braid
Now this doesn’t look that bad. This was a yeasted dough, so it basically took all day to prepare. I did everything like I was supposed to. I put the loaf in the oven for 30 minutes. The recipe I used, said it would bake for an hour. So halfway through I checked on it. The bread was completely black. It was burned beyond recognition. I am still traumatized by this failure.
“Healthy” and Vegan Sugar Cookies
The result didn’t actually taste bad. They were supposed to be Christmas sugar cookies. At the time I made them I only had whole wheat flour and on top of being vegan, I tried to make them as unprocessed as possible. They didn’t turn out like sugar cookies at all. It wasn’t a complete fail though because they were more like short breads or a breakfast cookie so they didn’t go to waste.
Vegan Cherry Pie
Where do I even begin with this? So many problems with this one. I didn’t use enough margarine in the crust and it wasn’t flaky at all. The crust was actually quite dense. The filling was alright, but I didn’t make enough of it. I also didn’t grease the pie plate and I could barely slice it. It was slightly burnt as well. Total fail in my eyes.
Those were some of my recent fails. There’s always a bright side. Some of my bakes have also turned out to be my favorites.
These are great for any special occasion or if you just want something sweet.
Scones are my go-to and they have chocolate…so it’s an obvious win. I also made chocolate covered cherry cookies and they were amazing. I didn’t get a picture (gasp), but you can find it on onegreenplanet.org. I have a few recipes in the works too and I am excited to share them soon! I hope this post was helpful or at least comical. If you have any baking fails, let me know in the comments.