- The Hows and Whys of Vegan Baking - The Hows and Whys of Vegan Baking

Fat and Oil Melt Point Temperatures

Fat and oil melt point temperaturesVegan baking is all about reverse engineering, especially when it comes to things like understanding the melt point temperatures of fats. Often I choose to examine the building blocks of a recipe so I can understand it and attempt create a decent, actually edible vegan version. Of course, you don't have to do that if you just want to play around in the kitchen and have fun. But if you really want to nail it with minimal fuss and know why you nailed it, it helps to know what building blocks you have to work with. Much like a child who knows his lego pieces well enough to the point of where he may already have a pretty good idea of the spaceship he's going to build according to the various size lego pieces he has on hand.

While working on foods such as vegan butters, shortenings, ice creams and cake frostings, I've had to endlessly fumble around the internet looking for the melting temperatures of various fats. I soon realized that assembling this information in one place could be a helpful resource for other adventurous food voyagers!

When referring to the below chart on the melting point of fats, keep in mind that melting temperature is the same as freezing temperature; it's the temperature where the fat transitions from a liquid to a solid. Trippy! Fats that are solid at room temperature are already frozen and fats that are liquid at room temperature area already melted so to speak. Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fat information is there to show you the health factors of various fats. Generally speaking, healthy fats have a high amount of monounsaturated fats as well as polyunsaturated fats and a low amound of saturated fats.

But hold on. What are the best fats for vegan baking? I'm glad you asked. Learn more about the fats I recommend for vegan baking and why.

Oil and Fat Melt/Freeze Temperatures

FatMelt/Freeze Point TemperatureMonounsaturated Fat %Polyunsaturated Fat %Saturated Fat %
Cottonseed Oil-55F (48C)185428
Flax Seed Oil-11F (-24C)21718
Almond Oil0F (-18C)73198
Sunflower Oil1F (-17C)206911
Safflower Oil2F (-17C)14788
Soybean Oil3F (-16C)246115
Corn Oil12F (-11C)256114
Canola Oil14F (-10C)58357
Grapeseed Oil14F (10C)572914
Rice Bran Oil14-23F(-5 to -10C)383725
Hemp Seed Oil18F (-8C)13639
Olive Oil21F (-6C)79811
Sesame Oil21F (-6C)404214
Peanut Oil37F (3C)483418
Palm Kernel Oil75F (24C)12286
Coconut Oil77F (25C)6292
Cocoa Butter93-100F (34 to 38C)20 to 430 to 557 to 64
Palm Oil95F (35C)381052

Vegan Butter Cubes

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Baking Ingredients by Weight

Baking ingredients by weightNorth Americans are the only people on earth that measure baking ingredients by volume: cups, Tablespoons and teaspoons. The rest of the world measures by weight which is significantly more accurate, having more benefit as your recipe scales up into larger quantities.

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Vegan Baking Substitutions and Replacements for Ingredients

Vegan Baking Substitutions and ReplacementsSometimes you just don't have the right ingredients on hand that your recipe calls for or you don't feel like shelling out hard earned funds for something you're just going to use a small amount of. Walk how many blocks in the snow at 2am to get cake flour? Yeah right. This Baking Substitution page (it lives permanently under the Resources tab) is here to help and will be constantly updated as new baking substitutions are found. If you have any conversions you'd like to have listed here to help bakers around the world, please let us know about them.

Chocolate Substitutions

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder, dutch processed3 Tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder + 1/8 teaspoon baking soda 
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder, natural unsweetened3 Tablespoons dutch processed cocoa powder + 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, white vinegar or lemon juice 
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate3 Tablespoons cocoa powder + 1 Tablespoon Regular Vegan Butter, margarine, Vegan Shortening or store bought shortening or coconut oilMelt ingredients together and whisk until smooth.
1 ounce semisweet baking chocolate½ teaspoon unsweetened baking chocolate + 1 Tablespoon sugarMelt ingredients together and whisk until smooth.
1 Tablespoon carob powder1 Tablespoon cocoa powder 

Egg Substitutions

For egg substitutions please check out the extensive Egg Replacer section.

Emulsifier Substitutions

1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin or liquid sunflower lecithin2 ¼ teaspoons soy lecithin powderThis substitution is done by weight. 1 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin weighs 5 grams.

Fat Substitutions

1 cup margarine, butter or Vegan Butter1 cup Vegan Shortening or store bought shortening or coconut oil + 2 Tablespoons water 
1 stick margarine, butter or Vegan Butter½ cup Vegan Shortening or store bought shortening or coconut oil + 1 Tablespoon water 
1 stick salted butter1 stick margarine + ¼ teaspoon salt or ½ cup Vegan Butter 

Flour Substitutions

1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cake flour + ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons cake flour
1 cup bread flour1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon gluten flour 
1 cup cake flour¾ cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour + 2 Tablespoons cornstarchSince cake flour is only 6 to 8 percent protein, it lends a more tender, soft texture to cakes than all-purpose.
1 cup pastry flour2/3 cup all-purpose flour + 1/3 cup cake flour 
1 cup self-rising flour1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.You probably won't ever need to use self-rising flour because most recipes worth their salt call for their chemical-based leaveners such as baking powder and baking soda to be added separately. Just in case you do come across this in a recipe though, keep this conversion in mind.
1 cup whole wheat flourcup + 2 Tablespoons flour + 2 Tablespoons wheat germ 

Leavening Substitutions

Leavening AgentSubstitutionNotes
1 teaspoon double acting baking powder½ teaspoon cream of tartar + ¼ teaspoon baking soda + ¼ teaspoon corn starchAs a rule of thumb add 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon baking soda per 1 cup of flour in cakes.
1 teaspoon cream of tartar2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar 
1, ¼ oz package of active dry yeast
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 ¼ Tablespoons bulk yeast
  • 1 compressed yeast cake

Non-Dairy Milk Substitutions

1 cup buttermilk1 cup non-dairy milk + 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.Whisk the ingredients together and let them sit for about 10 minutes so they curdle slightly.
1 cup buttermilk¼ cup silken tofu + ¾ cup water + 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar + pinch of saltBlend ingredients until smooth.
1 cup evaporated milk1 cup coconut milk 
1 cup cream or half and half¾ cup + 1 Tablespoon soy milk and 3 Tablespoons melted Regular Vegan Butter or margarineWhisk the ingredients together until smooth.

Spice and Flavoring Substitutions

Spice or FlavoringSubstitutionNotes
1 teaspoon allspice½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cloves, ¼ nutmeg 
1 teaspoon apple pie spice½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon cardamom 
1 teaspoon citrus zest½ teaspoon citrus oil1 lemon has about 1 ½ teaspoons of zest
¼ cup coffee2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder + 3 Tablespoons hot waterWhisk with a fork until espresso powder is dissolved
1 Tablespoon minced ginger1 ½ teaspoons ginger powder + ½ teaspoon lemon juice 
1 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice¼ teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon cloves 
1 teaspoon table salt1 ½ teaspoon kosher saltKosher salt crystals are bigger and take up more space
1 vanilla bean
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla powder
1 lemon3 Tablespoons lemon juice 
1 teaspoon dried herbs2 teaspoons fresh herbs 

Starch Substitutions

1 Tablespoon arrowroot flour = 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour = 1 Tablespoon ClearJel = 1 Tablespoon corn starch = 1 Tablespoon potato flour = 1 Tablespoon tapioca flour

Sweetener Substitutions

1 cup agave syrup1 1/3 cup sugarAgave syrup is about 40 percent sweeter than sugar. It is about as sweet as maple syrup and honey.
1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup dark agave syrup
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup + ¼ cup light molasses
1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup amber agave syrup
  • 1 ¼ sugar + 1/3 cup water
1 cup honey
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup maple syrup
1 cup light brown sugar1 cup white sugar + 1 Tablespoon molassesBrown sugar is just white sugar that has had molasses added back to it. So why buy brown sugar like a sucker when you can just have one type of sugar on hand and add molasses as you see fit? Put the white sugar and molasses in a food processor and give a it a couple pulses to make brown sugar.
1 cup dark brown sugar1 cup white sugar + 2 Tablespoons molassesBrown sugar is just white sugar that has had molasses added back to it. So why buy brown sugar like a sucker when you can just have one type of sugar on hand and add molasses as you see fit? Put the white sugar and molasses in a food processor and give a it a couple pulses to make brown sugar.
1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, increase liquid in recipe by ¼ cup
  • ½ cup maple sugar, increase liquid in recipe by ¼ cup
When converting from sugar to maple syrup reduce your recipe's liquid by 2 to 4 Tablespoons per 1 cup of maple syrup. Maple syrup is slightly acidic, which will deactivate your baking powder if it's not neutralized by other alkaline ingredients like baking soda. This can cause cakes to have issues with rising. When converting to maple syrup in recipes where baking powder is used, add an extra ¼ to ½ teaspoon baking soda to account for maple syrup's acidity. Maple syrup caramelizes at a lower temperature which may cause problems for some recipes. In these cases, decrease oven temperature by 25F (4C) and increase baking times slightly.
1 cup molasses¾ cup dark brown sugar + 1 teaspoon cream of tartar 

Tablespoons image by bobshowrocks via Flickr

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Non-Vegan Animal Ingredients List A-Z - Animal Byproducts

These days with all the food additives used in food production, eating food can be like navigating a minefield. In order to make your vegan baking adventures easier while keeping the animals where they belong, we've posted this list of animal products (thanks PETA).

Please note that the world of food science is always changing. This means that the way food ingredients are derived changes due to technology, necessity and the efforts of animal rights activists. Depending on these factors some of the ingredients on this list may change from being animal derived to vegan or vice versa at any time.

Since obtaining this list from PETA, we've been updating it whenever we notice that a particular food product is derived from a different source. Over time, more and more of the ingredients on this list are being derived from plant sources.

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Candy Making Temperature Chart - Sugar Caramelization Stages

Candy Making Temperature Chart - Sugar Caramelization StagesCandy consists of foods made with large amounts of sugar. This includes lollipops, brittle, taffy, nougat, some chocolates, fudge, toffee, licorice and jelly beans. Candy is made by combining water and sugar and exposing it to various temperature stages so it caramelizes. Eventually the heat causes the sugar crystals to melt and darken and the water to evaporate. The water evaporation causes the mixture to increase in density. The extent to which this happens is what makes the difference between caramel syrup, chewy taffy or hard rock candy. This is because the heat is one of the most important factors that determine how these sugar crystals reform when the mixture cools. 

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