Vegan Cooking, 8 Tips And Tricks For Egg And Dairy Free Baking

Baking has long been considered a delightful art that tantalises our taste buds with scrumptious cakes, cookies, and pastries. However, for those following a vegan lifestyle or dealing with allergies, the absence of eggs and dairy in traditional recipes might seem like a significant hurdle. Fear not, for in the world of vegan baking lies a treasure trove of secrets that unlock a universe of delectable treats without sacrificing taste or texture. Let's dive into the creative realm of egg and dairy substitutes and discover the wonders of vegan baking!

1. Flax and Chia Eggs: The Magical Binders

Eggs are often used in baking as a binding agent, giving structure and stability to the final product. In vegan baking, flax and chia eggs come to the rescue. To make a flax or chia egg, simply mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes until it forms a gel-like consistency. These magical binders work wonders in muffins, cakes, and cookies, ensuring your treats stay together flawlessly.

2. Aquafaba: The Versatile Wonder

Have you ever opened a can of chickpeas and wondered what to do with the liquid inside? That liquid is called aquafaba, and it's a game-changer in the world of vegan baking. Aquafaba mimics egg whites' properties and can be whipped into stiff peaks, making it an excellent replacement for meringues, macarons, and even marshmallows. You can also use aquafaba as an egg replacer in cakes and brownies, leading to moist and fluffy results.

3. Silken Tofu: The Creamy Transformer

When it comes to replicating the creamy texture of dairy in desserts, silken tofu takes centre stage. Its smooth consistency works like magic in cheesecakes and custards, lending a rich and creamy mouthfeel. By blending silken tofu with sweeteners and flavourings, you can create velvety fillings for pies and tarts that rival their dairy-based counterparts.

4. Non-Dairy Milks: The Liquid Gold

Milk plays a vital role in baking, providing moisture and tenderness to the finished product. Thankfully, an array of non-dairy milk options is readily available, such as almond, soy, oat, coconut, and cashew milk. Experiment with different kinds to see which best complements your recipe. Some non-dairy milks, like coconut milk, can even add a delightful tropical twist to your baked goods.

5. Coconut Oil: The Solid Wonder

Butter is a key ingredient in many baking recipes, lending richness and flavour. Enter coconut oil, the versatile substitute for butter in vegan baking. When using coconut oil, opt for the refined variety to avoid a strong coconut flavour, which might overpower the other ingredients. In cookies and pie crusts, coconut oil adds a delightful flakiness, while in cakes and muffins, it maintains a moist and tender crumb.

6. Nut Butters: The Nutty Indulgence

In addition to coconut oil, various nut butters can be used as a butter alternative in vegan baking. Almond, peanut, and cashew butter bring their unique flavours and nuttiness to the table, elevating the taste profile of your treats. They also contribute to the overall richness and moistness of the final product.

7. Applesauce: The Healthy Sweetener

Replacing eggs and sugar simultaneously might sound like a dream come true. With applesauce, this dream becomes a reality. Unsweetened applesauce can act as both an egg substitute and a natural sweetener in your baked goods. It adds moisture and a subtle apple flavour, making it particularly suitable for muffins, quick breads, and brownies.

8. Baking Powder and Baking Soda: The Leavening Duo

Leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda are crucial in creating light and fluffy baked goods. In vegan baking, these two ingredients work in tandem to provide the lift that eggs would typically offer. To ensure your treats rise beautifully, check the expiration date of your leavening agents as they lose their potency over time.

9. Flavours and Extracts: The Taste Enhancers

Enhancing the flavour of your vegan treats is essential to make them truly delightful. Get creative with extracts like vanilla, almond, or citrus to infuse your baked goods with tantalising aromas. Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom to bring warmth and depth to your recipes.

10. Experiment and Have Fun!

The most exciting aspect of vegan baking is the opportunity to experiment and have fun in the kitchen. Don't be afraid to mix and match different egg and dairy substitutes, and try out unique flavour combinations. Every baking adventure is a learning experience, and who knows, you might just stumble upon your signature vegan dessert that will delight friends and family for years to come.

In conclusion, the secrets of baking without eggs and dairy open up a world of possibilities for creating delicious vegan treats. From flax and chia eggs to aquafaba, non-dairy milks, and nut butters, the options are abundant. Embrace the creativity, explore new flavours, and share the joys of vegan baking with everyone around you. So, preheat the oven, grab your mixing bowls, and let the magic of vegan baking unfold in your kitchen!