Baking 101: Using Gluten-Free and Vegan Substitutes
Dietary restrictions are more common than ever these days. But have no fear – there are still plenty of ways to enjoy your favorite treats, no matter your allergies, intolerances, or personal preferences! Just walk into any grocery store and you’ll find shelves that are stocked with substitutions.
Thankfully, there are plenty of delicious ways to create baked goods that are both gluten-free and vegan-friendly without sacrificing flavor and texture. So, whether you’re looking to make a dietary change or just want to experiment with something new, we’ve got you covered with the best gluten-free and vegan-safe alternatives. Get ready to discover a whole new world of baking possibilities!
What is Gluten-Free?
Gluten has become a buzzword in the world of baking, but what exactly is it? Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye that gives dough its elasticity and chewiness. It’s found in a lot of our favorite products, including bread, pasta, and cereal. While gluten is not harmful by itself, people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have an inflammatory response to it. When these people eat gluten, their immune systems go into overdrive and create a whole host of problems like intestinal inflammation, bloating, and fatigue.
As a result, people who are gluten-free have to avoid anything with wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. But don’t worry! Thankfully, there are plenty of gluten-free alternatives available on the market today. By learning how to bake with gluten-free flour, you can still enjoy your favorite baked treats without negatively affecting your health. Plus, having a few gluten-free recipes in your repertoire is always a good idea, as you never know when you might be baking for someone with a gluten intolerance or sensitivity!
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to gluten-free baking and finding the right combination of flour and ingredients that will produce the desired texture and flavor can be a challenge. Different gluten-free flours have varying hydration levels, so direct substitutions may require trial and error. But with practice, people will better understand what alternatives work for what recipes.
Fortunately, there are some shortcuts to gluten-free baking that can save you lots of time and effort. One of the easiest options is to use high-quality pre-mixed gluten-free flour, like King Arthur’s gluten-free flour. It’s a simple 1:1 substitute for wheat flour and produces fantastic results. The only downside is that it can be a bit pricier.
It’s important to read the ingredient labels carefully and choose a pre-mix that aligns with your dietary needs and preferences. Ultimately, the key to successful gluten-free baking is to be patient, have fun, and be willing to experiment until you find the perfect combination of alternatives for your favorite recipes! That being said, here are some of the most common gluten-free substitutes.
Almond flour has become a popular gluten-free alternative in recent years. It’s made from ground-blanched almonds and has a fine, powdery texture.
Almond flour can be used as a substitute for wheat flour in many of your most-loved baked goods, but it works especially well in recipes that call for a moist, dense texture like cakes, muffins, and cookies. However, it may not be the best choice for bread or other yeast-based recipes because it lacks the structure that’s needed to support rising. Almond flour also absorbs more moisture than wheat flour, so you may need to adjust the liquid content in your recipe.
And the best part? Almond flour is high in fiber which can help to keep you feeling full after eating, and it’s also low in calories – making it a healthy option for weight-loss baking! Overall, almond flour is a versatile and delicious alternative to traditional wheat flour and can be a great option for gluten-free baking.
Buckwheat is an Asian plant ground into flour and is used in many recipes as a gluten-free and vegan substitute. Despite its name, buckwheat is not a type of wheat and is actually related to rhubarb. While wheat flour is made from the endosperm of the wheat kernel, buckwheat flour is made from the bran and germ – two other parts of the wheat kernel. This means buckwheat flour has more protein and fiber than regular wheat flour, making it a nutritious alternative!
Buckwheat flour has a strong, nutty flavor and a dark color, making it an excellent choice for hearty baked goods like pancakes, waffles, and bread. Because it has such a distinctive flavor that may not be to everyone’s taste, it’s a good idea to experiment with different ratios of buckwheat flour to other gluten-free flour types to find the perfect balance.
Brown Rice Flour
Brown rice flour is another great gluten-free substitute that you can use in place of wheat flour. As the name implies, this flour is made from brown rice and is considered a whole-grain product since it contains all parts of the original grain kernel.
Because of its texture, brown rice flour is best used in recipes that require a denser, moister crumb. It is not as fine as wheat flour, so it can be trickier to work with in some recipes. When substituting with brown rice flour, keep in mind that it absorbs more liquid than wheat flour, so you may need to adjust the liquid content in your recipe to get the right consistency.
Brown rice flour is high in fiber and protein, which makes it a smart choice for those looking to maintain or lose weight. On top of that, it’s widely available and relatively affordable compared to other gluten-free flours, making it a great option for gluten-free baking!
Coconut flour is a gluten-free flour made from dried, ground coconut meat. It’s a highly absorbent flour and is often used in small quantities to thicken or bind recipes. Coconut flour has a mild coconut flavor and is an excellent choice for gluten-free, grain-free, and paleo baking.
Coconut flour is best used in recipes that require a denser texture, like pancakes, bread, and muffins. It’s also high in fiber and protein and is a good source of healthy fats, making it a popular choice for those following a low-carb or paleo diet.
Because coconut flour is much drier and more absorbent than other gluten-free flour, you’ll need to use less of it in a recipe and increase the liquid ingredients to compensate. This also means that coconut flour is not a good 1:1 substitute for wheat flour and requires some experimentation to get the right consistency.
Sorghum flour is a type of flour made from ground sorghum grain and has a toothsome texture that makes it perfect for creamy desserts. It has a low glycemic index value and is a good fiber source, so it’s an especially good choice for people looking to reduce the amount of sugar they consume.
Sorghum flour can be used in a 1:1 ratio to replace wheat flour in most recipes. It’s a great option for gluten-free bread, cakes, muffins, and cookies because it helps to create a light and fluffy texture.
On top of that, sorghum flour is a nutritious alternative to wheat flour because it’s high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. All in all, it’s a versatile and easy-to-use option for those who want to experiment with gluten-free baking.
More and more people are turning to veganism as an alternative to traditional diets. Basically, veganism is the ultimate form of vegetarianism. It excludes all animal products from your diet – this means no meat, dairy, eggs, and honey.
There are many reasons why people might want to switch to vegan or gluten-free diets, including ethical, environmental, and health reasons. Beyond that, studies have shown that a vegan diet can have many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. As more people learn about the advantages of veganism, the demand for vegan products has risen tremendously.
When it comes to baking, there are many vegan alternatives to traditional ingredients that can be used to create delicious, healthy treats. Vegan baking can be just as delicious and satisfying as traditional baking, allowing you to experiment with new ingredients and flavors. Below are some examples of vegan substitutes used in baking.
Replacing eggs with plant-based equivalents isn’t always easy – especially if you’re looking for something that behaves like eggs in terms of binding together liquids and powders while cooking (think meringue). If you’re looking for an easy fix, there are plenty of commercial egg substitutes available. However, we believe mixing your own can be a purer alternative.
One option for egg alternatives is chia seeds. These tiny seeds are a great substitute for eggs as they form a gel-like substance when mixed with liquid. Plus, chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which can add a healthy twist to your baked goods. To replace one egg, mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water and let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
Another great option for an egg substitute is hemp hearts. These soft balls can be used instead of eggs when making baked goods or creamy sauces. Hemp hearts are known for their nutty flavor and can add a unique taste to your baked goods. To replace one egg, mix three tablespoons of hemp hearts with three tablespoons of water and blend until smooth.
Lastly, ground flaxseeds can be used in place of ground eggs when making muffins or other grain-based desserts. This is because they provide moisture and binders similar to egg whites while also providing healthy omega-3. To replace one egg, mix one tablespoon of ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of water and let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes. This is the mixture we use at our bakery!
Milk and Cream Substitutes
When it comes to milk and cream, many people are dairy free for various reasons. Whether you’re trying to cut down on your caloric intake or you just don’t like the taste of cow’s milk, there are plenty of easy and accessible substitutes for milk and cream out there.
One common alternative is non-dairy milk, such as soy, almond, coconut, or oat milk. These options are readily available and have a similar consistency to dairy milk. However, they may have a slightly different flavor profile and can affect the texture of the finished product.
Another option is coconut cream, which is made by simmering coconut milk to reduce the water content. It has a thick and creamy consistency similar to heavy cream and works well in desserts like pies and puddings. For a lower-fat option, applesauce, pureed silken tofu, or yogurt can also be used as substitutes. These options can add moisture and density to the finished product but may also affect the flavor.
Just remember, different substitutes may work better in different recipes, so some experimentation may be necessary to find the best option for a particular dish.
Butter substitutions are perhaps one of the trickiest substitutions to make. After all, butter provides flavor, moisture, and texture to many of our favorite recipes. But there are a few options out there that can help you achieve similar results when baking.
- Coconut oil: This oil is great for replacing dairy in many recipes, as it has a similar consistency and flavor. It can also be used for baking instead of classic butter because it does not create a dense or heavy cake or pastry.
- Vegetable shortening: This substitute is popular for replacing dairy in vegan baking because it has a similar consistency and flavor to cow’s milk cheese. It also works well in sweet recipes because it doesn’t have a strong flavor profile. However, vegetable shortening does not work as well as butter when it comes to deep frying or frying foods with high heat levels.
- Margarine: Margarine is another excellent option for vegan and gluten-free baking because it has a similar texture to butter. Just keep in mind that margarine doesn’t have the same nutritional value as real butter – so be sure to adjust your recipe accordingly.
- Nut butter: Nut butter can provide a rich, creamy texture to baked goods, making it a good substitution for cakes, cookies, and muffins. However, for recipes that require the creaming of butter and sugar, nut butter may not produce the same result.
- Plant-based oils: Most plant-based oils can be substituted for regular old fats like butter when making baked goods or cooking foods high in saturated fat like fried foods or fatty meats. Some popular choices include grapeseed oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Just follow the recipe-specific instructions carefully!
To sum it up, many vegan substitutes are available for common baking ingredients like eggs, milk, cream, and butter. These substitutes can help those following a vegan diet or those with dairy or egg allergies enjoy delicious baked goods without compromising taste or texture. Experimenting with these vegan alternatives can open up a world of possibilities in the kitchen and lead to the creation of unique and delicious treats!
Taste the Difference
Baking is a fun and creative way to show off your culinary skills. It can be tricky to know which ingredients to use when looking for vegan or gluten-free alternatives. By knowing which gluten-free substitutes are available to you and learning how to bake with them, you can make sure that your meals are both delicious and nutritious! So why not give these vegan or gluten-free options a try?
You can try your hand at them yourself or order some of KBC’s decadent vegan and gluten-free treats delivered straight to your door! Either way, you’re sure to find a few new favorites that taste just as good as their traditional counterparts. So, what are you waiting for? Dig in!