Helpful Vegan Baking Tips

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Becoming a better vegan baker involves understanding basic building blocks of information regarding the optimal way to subject heat to food so it comes out at its best. When baking vegan, there's a whole different level of information that you may want to consider because many baked items involve extra special care due to the absence of eggs. For example, if you're designing a recipe that's using a sugar syrup such as brown rice syrup or maple syrup to improve density and chewiness in the absence of an egg, you might want to consider reducing the baking temperature and baking for a bit longer to reduce the syrup's tendency to caramelize and/or burn on the bottom. Many of these tips may be obvious to some but they're worth considering on your quest to becoming a better vegan baker.

  • Get a couple oven thermometers to place in your oven. Most ovens are off by about 25 degrees which is a make or break deal for your recipes.
  • Make no substitutions when following vegan baking recipes. Baking is an exact science and vegan baking is an extremely exact science. 
  • When baking things in an oven, preheat the oven until the desired temperature is achieved before putting in the item to be baked.
  • When baking things in an oven, place item to be baked on the middle rack unless otherwise noted.
  • For things like cookies, use parchment paper instead of lightly oiling the cookie sheet or using teflon. Parchment paper makes things much easier.
  • Always coat cooking sheets or pans with a light film of oil before using (except when using parchment paper).
  • Vegan recipes are usually cooked at cooler temperatures for a longer period of time because we’re relying on sugars and starches for binding instead of dairy products.
  • Desserts should be a little over-sweet before they are placed in the oven because during baking some of the sweetness diminishes.
  • Oil and salt are essential for every dessert recipe because they're important flavor enhancers. Don’t skimp on adding oil. Low fat usually means low taste. It’s plant-based fat so don’t worry about it.
  • I've found that most vegan baked goods that utilize tofu are not that tasty. If you have to use tofu in a baking recipe, avoid using Nigari tofu. Nigari tofu is a Japanese style tofu that uses magnesium chloride as a coagulating agent (as opposed to calcium sulfate), making it super firm. This is great for some applications but usually not baked items. Blending Nigari tofu in a baked item will usually add an undesirable grainy texture.
  • Get a really good quality 5 cup capacity food processor if you can afford it. You'll use it all the time if you spend time in the kitchen. I've used my KitchenAid food processor almost daily for the last ten years and wholeheartedly recommend it.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment! That’s where all recipes come from.
  • Buy organic and in bulk whenever possible. You'll save money, support sustainable farming practices and be healthier.
  • Clean as you go. Cleaning up is much easier when you do it one bit at a time.  Eliminating an hour of washing and wiping at the end of your baking session makes baking way more fun.
  • Listen to plenty of music while baking. It helps get those creative juices flowing.

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