Vegan Baking?!

Alright friends- here’s the deal. I’m a pretty decent baker. I can whip up a super yummy loaf of banana bread, perfectly golden. Quick breads are a snap, brownies a breeze, and cookies are pretty tasty too.

PRE-VEGAN

This week I have been trying new recipes, wanting to get my bake on, but my muffins are dry and tough, my quick breads gooey and my cookies have much to be desired (no-bakes aside.)

There has to be a secret. Will somebody PLEASE clue me in?!?!

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51 thoughts on “Vegan Baking?!

  1. More experimentation? If you’re currently making vegan substitutions in a non-vegan recipe, try to find some recipes that are vegan already. Also, I find that egg substitutes vary wildly, so play around to see what works best for you.

    • I did a couple from the “Everyday Happy Herbavore” and I think our definition of a yummy baked good is a bit different. :) More experimentation- noted. Like my old favorite, Nancy Drew, I will crack this mystery!

  2. A few questions…what kind of flours are you using and what kind of moisture ingredients are you using? (in place of eggs, butter, etc.) I bake all vegan and it turns out delicious. Takes a lot of trial and error since every type of flour can yield different results. I typically use no eggs, butter or even oil in most recipes. So you have to replace with different moistures. I like to use applesauce or pumpkin or fruit puréed in place of oil and eggs. My chocolate chunk cookies I have made for several NON vegans and have been told they were the best cookie they ever had..big deal considering no oil, eggs or butter! Just experiment and be patient, baking is definitely a science and an art :)

    • I usually use WW, or a WW and white combo. The last couple recipes used applesauce for egg replacer, I like your idea of pumpkin. And would you be willing to share your prized chocolate chip recipe? (I totally respect a no answer to that question if the cookies rank in the super-secret-awesomeness category.) PATIENCE- a good idea. Had a bit of a baking meltdown last night! :)

      • Of course! Here it is:
        http://thehealthyflavor.com/2012/08/01/double-chocolate-espresso-almond-cookies-vegan/
        I like to grind my own almond flour because it gives it an amazing nutty texture and flavor. I use it with some all purpose flour so I’m not using just all all purpose flour. I’m not a big fan of whole wheat because of the gluten in it tends to make things tough so if you use it, maybe not use ALL whole wheat and just partial and use another flour as well. There are so many other flours. There is also brown rice flour and I also like to use cake flour (in my brownies also on my website). Cake flour gives a very delicate soft tender texture thats amazing. Good luck and don’t be so hard on yourself! :)
        I’m going to be making some Cinnamon Maple Cookies and cherry chocolate cookies this week! :)

      • The WW flour may be a partial culprit! I have a monster bag of brown rice- I may just have to grind some up today. Those cookies look divine, can’t wait to get back to the oven. Or even better, how about I just come eat at your place?! ;)

      • Ah, dump the WW and use white whole wheat flour – the wheat it is ground from is way lighter in taste, color and texture! Or also use WW pastry flour. Both are great in taste!

  3. Whenever I make muffins or sweet breads, I always put in a few large spoonfuls of non-dairy yogurt (usually soy or coconut). That adds some more moisture into the batter and generally remains once baked.

    What’s wrong with the cookies – no taste, too dry & crumbly? I usually add lots of flavor with spices or mix-ins that give the cookies more flavor.

    • Ooooo, yogurt, Hadn’t thought of that one! Dry and taste for the cookies- I’ll work on more spices. What are your favorites?

      • For cookies, I have found that the type of fat used makes a difference – applesauce tends to make cookies puffy, while Earth Balance usually makes crispier ones (my favorite). Spice cookies are good to try (use cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger), or to a basic batter add vanilla, coconut and dried cranberries….

        For things like cakes and breads, I also add more baking powder than the recipe calls for (sometimes up to twice as much) – this makes a lighter result.

        I’ve also started experimenting with coconut flour. This was the first recipe that I found (I veganized it, naturally) – http://thecrazykitchen.blogspot.com/2009/11/angel-shine-cake.html. For the cake, I used egg replacer and Earth Balance, and it made an incredibly light delicate cake. I have used that basic recipe to make other variations that turned out just as well.

        If you’re interested in experimenting more with almond and coconut flour, you could check out Elana’s Pantry (www.elanaspantry.com). She is not vegan but makes lots of vegan things, and I’ve had good luck veganizing her recipes.

      • I feel like I just got the first lesson in Vegan Baking 101- I love it! Applesauce, fluffy. Earth Balance, crispy. Got it. Thank you! And I’ll check out Elana for sure. :)

  4. Head on over to Bryanna Clark Grogans blog “Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen” and she has answers to just about everything. Use orgran for egg replacers, use oil and fruit purees to add moisture content. If your baked products are too dry and you are using 100% wholemeal flour, sub a bit of almond flour or a little white flour to tone it down a bit or up the oil/veggie/fruit purees to add more moisture. Maybe its the margarine that you are using? Try subing oil as it seems to make things moister. Good luck! :)

    • Thanks for the heads up! “Vegan Feast Kitchen” has a nice ring to it- it’s making me hungry. I haven’t tried almond flour yet- do you grind your own or buy it?

      • I don’t buy anything if I don’t have to Erika. I make my own as we are penniless hippy student horticuluralists so we tend to do what we can to keep our costs down ;). I make my own almond milk, I take the pulp that I get from making the milk and dry it out in the oven so I get 2 uses from one nut (so to speak lol). Most recipes on the net use ground almonds and call it “flour”. As far as I am concerned, “flour” is dry mealy stuff NOT moist almost nut butter stuff and so I use my dry almond pulp to make cakes etc and it is lovely. It gets a malty smell to it thanks to the nuts having a day soaking to activate them before I make my almond milk. Bryanna is amazing. I imported all of her books a few years ago and wouldn’t be without them. She makes it easy to be a vegan baker with very few “weird expensive” things. Even my non vegan husband Steve made me a delicious vegan peanut butter chocolate lemon drizzle cake for my birthday recently so its really not that hard…just takes a bit of practice and the bonus is that you get to eat everything that you try to cook! :)

      • Oh. My. Sweet-Heavenly-Goodness. Genius points to the hippie horticulturalists! I am trying hard to cut costs right now (the initial vegan transition put the grocery budget through the roof) and I love this idea. I have been looking for my next couple vegan cook books (time to branch out from the first few) so I will have to check her’s out. I already printed her
        “buttermilk” biscuit recipe. I love how she breaks down the trouble-shooting process and the step-by-step of recipe building. Thank you!

  5. As mentioned above, I often use applesauce in vegan baking and that definitely adds moisture. One of my favorite tips for moisture (and added flavor) in vegan baking is adding in a mashed, very ripe banana. This is particularly good in vegan cookies and muffins and can take the place of oil or butter, and even some of the sugar if the banana is sweet enough.

  6. Yes, I remember this part of becoming vegan – many of my first experiments ended in tears!! Sorry to self promote, but I have some recipes on my blog that might help (unless you’re trying to do low fat). Try searching it for banana bread, tahini cookies & cupcakes. Good luck!

    • Self-promote away my friend. Clearly, I need help! :) Your banana bread is on the top of the list, I have 4 mushy brown beauties waiting to be baked.

      • Awesome! :) I can’t remember if I noted it on the post, but I usually use margarine (Smart Balance) for the banana bread and didn’t have any, so I had to use oil. I couldn’t really tell the difference, but I still don’t like the idea of using plain old oil!

      • I have some Earth Balance in the fridge right now. Do you ever do half oil, half applesauce? Does that work well with vegan baking?

  7. Oh and I also use lemon juice in pretty much ALL my baked goods…just a tsp or two. Lemon really enhances all the other flavors WITHOUT tasting the lemon. Also, use some coffee or espresso for your chocolate recipes..that will deepen the chocolate flavor. :)

    • NO WAY. I never would have thought to use lemon! I’m not a coffee drinker, but I bet some Cafix (chicory root) could add that robust flavor.

  8. I tend to take non-vegan recipes and change them. I find this often more successful. The tweaks are simple enough. Eggs in cookies, quick breads and similar? I do the flaxseed meal slurry – 1 Tablespoon of it to 3 Tbsp water per egg. I let it soak for 10 minutes, then whip with a small whisk.
    Butter? Use Earth Balance or as I prefer, find recipes that use oil and that is easy.
    So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk works great instead of milk.
    I use white whole wheat flour but I weigh it. It makes a BIG difference in how heavy tasting or dry the finished good is :-)

    • I do have a vegan cinnamon quick bread that I have made for years that I love and it uses the flax slurry. I haven’t even tried converting my old recipes yet, that could prove to be a great adventure. And I just bought my first kitchen scale, maybe flour will be it’s first use! Thanks for the tips!

  9. Sure, come on over lol!! :) Yeah, whole wheat has never tasted good in almost anything I’ve tried…very dense. Almond flour is great in cookies, brown rice is better suited for muffins or breads than cookies, in my opinion..unless you use small amounts. It just takes a lot of practice :) Just know that brown rice has no gluten at all so there will be no structure or “hold” so definitely use an additional flour or “glue” ingredient. I’ve combined regular flour with brown rice and it turned out great. I’ve NEVER had to use egg replacers…not yet anyways and no problems. Also, if you use banana just know that it will give a banana flavor almost always, so keep that in mind. I don’t like banana so I can always taste it.

  10. Everything I have made turns out good so I cannt comment too much. I found when you use egg replacement the one we have here in Australia, I have to use twice the quantity which the recipe is asking for me to use, also I make a few cakes which are made with a small amount of oil which makes the cake moist. I make several different types of bread they are perfect so sorry that doesn’t help you…..

    • Yeah.. why don’t you just rub that in. ;) No, really, I think it is fantastic that you have mastered the art. Hopefully one day I’ll catch up!

  11. I recommend Oh She Glows – a great blog with lots of yummy vegan desserts. Also, Candle Cafe, Candle 79 and The Kind Diet cookbooks all have awesome vegan baked goodies.
    I second the calls for applesauce, bananas, coconut milk yogurt and whole wheat pastry flour! Also avocado works well for creamy richness.
    Once you find a few recipes that work well, it becomes a lot easier and you’ll be able to veganize old recipes and be making up your own recipes before you know it. Good luck in the kitchen :-)

      • Love her story- haven’t delved too far into her recipes. inspiration needed, will check her out again! Wow on the avocado and I am checking the library for the 3 cookbooks. I feel like a kid in a candy store, the possibilities are endless!!

    • I agree Kelli, and I can’t wait for the Oh She Glows cookbook!
      Erica, while you’re at the library, check out The Joy of Vegan Baking as well, it’s amazing!

  12. I also take non-vegan recipes and just replace the egg with some store bought egg replacer (tapioca starch, something like that). There are lots of other ways to do it though, I think they’ve all been mentioned.

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