Perfect Your Vegan Baking Skills With These Tips, Techniques, and Recipes


What is a good substitute for eggs? Or buttermilk? Whether you're new to vegan baking and need to learn the ropes, or you're simply looking for some tasty recipes for baked goods such as bread, rolls, and biscuits, you've come to the right place.

Baked goods are fun, but they can be really unhealthy. That's why, if you're going to do some baking, then vegan is the way to go.

Why?

Because you will not find any artery clogging milk or cream and no cholesterol-raising eggs. Vegan baking allows you to create masterpieces that taste so similar to conventional baked goods that it can be a little surprising to some people.

So first, let's review some basic rules about successful baking. Then, take a peek at my small but ever-growing collection of recipes for baked goods.

Sassy's Vegan Baking Tips

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You can easily convert many of your favorite conventional baked goods into vegan baking masterpieces if you know which ingredients to use to substitute dairy and eggs. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • To replace milk in your recipe, substitute a non-dairy milk in a one-for-one ratio. So if your muffins call for 1 cup of milk, you can use 1 cup of organic soy milk, rice milk, or oat milk (my personal preference is Pacific Natural Foods' Organic Plain Almond Milk).

    Non-dairy milks each have their own texture and mouth feel. If one turns you off, don't give up! There are, fortunately, many different brands out there, so keep experimenting until you find one you love.

    Note: Non-dairy milks usually come in plain, vanilla, and chocolate flavors. I prefer plain, but you can play around with these flavors when baking (although I wouldn't recommend using anything except plain flavor for your non-baking needs such as entrees, side dishes, and soups).

  • To substitute eggs in your recipes...

    My absolute favorite substitute for eggs, and the one I recommend to you, is flax eggs (below). These little dollops of goo mimic eggs and the results are outstanding. It's the only egg replacer I use.

    Plus, flax seeds are superbly good for you.

    Flax EggsFlax Eggs
    1/3 cup flax seeds
    1 cup water
    Grind flax seeds in a strong blender until powdered. Slowly add water and blend until it produces a gooey mixture.

    This makes 6 flax "eggs".
    3 Tablespoons = 1 egg

    Note: Refrigerate unused flax eggs in refrigerator for up to 6 days. (Be sure to clean out blender immediately or you'll end up with cement. Seriously.)

    I have also heard amaaaaazing things about using aquafaba for baked goods. What is aquafaba, you ask? Good question! It's the liquid that's leftover after cooking your beans. Just whip it up. Crazy, eh?

  • Need a butter substitute? Many newbies reach for margarine. But I say: STEP AWAY FROM THE MARGARINE! It's incredibly bad for your health due to the hydrogenation. In fact, I'd use butter before I'd use hydrogenated margarine. (And as someone who shuns dairy butter, you should know I must be very serious about not using margarine.)

    Instead, reach for a non-hydrogenated butter substitute. The one I use, and highly recommend, is called Earth Balance. You can find it in most health food stores, and even many mainstream grocery stores. If not, ask for it. I buy and recommend the organic variety. (By the way, there is a similar product by the same company called Smart Balance, but at this time it is not vegan.)

    Now, some people will opt for using oil for their baking needs. But one of the only oils I can recommend in good conscience is extra-virgin olive oil which admittedly is not very tasty in your baked goods.

    So instead, you can use a touch of organic coconut oil. Coconut oil seems to be steeped in controversy, but I believe it is good for you in moderation. (For more on this topic, check out Bruce Fife's The Coconut Oil Miracle and draw your own conclusions. Coconut oil works beautifully for nearly all baking needs when an oil or butter is needed.
  • If you can't use oils at all, then applesauce works very well and helps to make your baked goods super moist.

  • To substitute buttermilk, mix non-dairy milk with a foodie acid such as lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or brown rice vinegar and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

    The general rule is to add 1 Tablespoon foodie acid to a 1 cup measuring cup, then add non-dairy milk and fill to the top. Beware that this works best with soy milk (organic), almond milk or oat milk -- low-protein rice milk will not produce the same results.

  • To substitute cream look for Silk's Original Flavor Soy Creamer -- while I normally prefer to buy all my soy products organic, this is at least non-GMO which is on the right track. It really does the trick. But please use this sparingly, since it's very processed and not the best for your health.

  • Need a condensed milk substitute? Use canned coconut milk.

  • To substitute heavy cream refrigerate a can of coconut milk for 2 days. The layers will separate. Use the top thick layer for your heavy cream.

    By the way, if you whip this with a hand blender, it makes an excellent whipped topping. Thanks to my friend Linda for making us waffles topped with pecan maple syrup and this whipped cream yumminess.    :)

    And as a happy accident one day, I used the entire can of refrigerated coconut milk instead of just the top layer plus a little powdered sugar and vanilla to make a fantastic thick and smooth whipped cream as shown here oozing over a piece of my mouth-watering Creamy Chocolate Fudge Pie.

    Vegan Chocolate Fudge Pie with whipped cream

  • To substitute evaporated milk add 2 1/2 cups non-dairy milk to a saucepan, bring to a boil, and stir constantly as it evaporates down to 1 cup. Do not leave this unattended or it could boil over and cause a HUGE mess on your stovetop. Cool and keep sealed tightly in the refrigerator. Use within one week.

  • I find the taste of full-on whole wheat flour to be a little too strong. Plus, due to the high protein content, it usually makes very dense baked goods.

    Instead, I recommend a mixture of 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and 1/2 unbleached white flour. So if your recipe calls for 2 cups flour, use 1 cup whole wheat pastry and 1 cup unbleached white; feel free to play around with ratios to suit your exact tastes.

    If you can't find whole wheat pastry flour, you can use whole wheat flour.

    You don't HAVE to use "unbleached" white flour, but please note that the bleaching process usually involves the use of animal bones, which most vegans won't touch with a 10-foot pole.    :)


Pssst...Be sure to check out the scrumptious muffins I have listed over on my Breakfast and Brunch page.

Chive Pepper Popovers

These are fun.

  • 1 cup oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1 cup, minus 2 Tablespoons flour (I like 1/2 whole wheat pastry and 1/2 unbleached white)
  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, softened (or try applesauce with a few drops of non-dairy milk -- see note below)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 flax eggs (see recipe above)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Generously grease six 2/3-cup popover cups or nine 1/2-cup muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer combine milk, flour, oil, and salt and beat mixture on high speed 1 minute. Add flax eggs 1 at a time, beating 20 seconds after each addition, and beat in chives and pepper.

3. Divide batter among cups and put in middle of a cold oven. Set oven at 425°F. and bake popovers 35 to 40 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. (I only cook them 25 minutes.)

Yield: 6 popovers or 9 small muffins

Note: If opting to use applesauce instead of oil, then you will add the applesauce (plus a few drops of non-dairy milk or fruit juice) to the batter at the end, when you beat in the chives and pepper. This is to avoid the natural separation of the applesauce which could change the consistency of your batter.

Per Serving: 112 Calories; 3g Fat (22.5% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 197mg Sodium.

Vegan Cheese -n- Chive Mini Muffins

These are my most favoritest little muffins. Totally yummy and adorable. But there's a lot of pre-packaged ingredients, so I recommend them only for special occasions. If you're new to baking, though, give these a try since they are nearly foolproof.

  • 3/4 cup organic Earth Balance
  • 2 cups non-dairy cheddar cheese*
  • 2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup dairy-free sour cream*
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons frozen chopped chives

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Melt Earth Balance in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add Cheddar cheese, and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in flour, sour cream, baking powder and chives.

3. Spoon batter into ungreased mini muffin pans, filling 2/3 full. bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 22 minutes. Remove muffins from pans immediately.

Yield: 48 mini muffins

Per Serving: 77 Calories; 5g Fat (56.4% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 6g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 217mg Sodium.

Green Onion Drop Biscuits

These biscuits are very tasty and always turn out well. Perfect for the baking novice.

Vegan Biscuits
  • 1 cup flour (I like 1/2 whole wheat pastry and 1/2 unbleached white)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons organic Earth Balance (or other non-dairy buttery spread)
  • 1/8 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup vanilla non-dairy yogurt

1. Preheat oven to 400º.

2. Lightly spoon the flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in green onions. Add yogurt, stirring just until the flour mixture is moist.

3. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400º for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Serves: 8.

Per Serving: 87 Calories; 3g Fat (26.8% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 107mg Sodium.

Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits

Oh my lordy be these biscuits are yummy. Add these to your baking must-make-soon list.

  • 1 cup flour (I like 1/2 whole wheat pastry and 1/2 unbleached white)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic sugar (I like Sucanat)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup organic Earth Balance (or other non-dairy buttery spread)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy cheddar cheese (I like Follow Your Heart)*, shredded
  • 1 Tablespoon jalapeno pepper, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in Earth Balance until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk, cheese and jalapeno, stirring just until combined.

2. Drop by Tablespoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until tops and bottoms are golden.

Serves 6

Note: Be careful with jalapenos (and other spices too in your cooking). Dairy mellows the heat of spice, and when you're not using dairy you have to add spicy foods with a light hand. This recipe calls for 1 Tablespoon jalapeno pepper, chopped, which is the amount I recommend, but experiment until it suits your tastes.



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Just Biscuits

What can I say? They're just biscuits. With a light coconutty flavor. And they're very filling.

  • 2 cups flour (I like 1/2 whole wheat pastry and 1/2 unbleached white)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, pourable, warmed, if necessary (or try applesauce with a few drops of non-dairy milk -- see note below)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup non-dairy milk

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Use a large bowl. Stir the dry ingredients together.

3. Pour in the oil, then "cut" it in with a pastry blender or two butter knives until mixture resembles little pebbles.

4. Gradually stir in the milk, adding only the amount you need for the mixture to form a ball.

5. Divide the dough into 6 to 12 pieces and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet, evenly spaced apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until biscuits are firm to the touch with a light golden color. Biscuits should be slightly doughy on the inside.

6. Good hot or cold.

Yield: 6-12 biscuits

Note: If opting to use applesauce instead of oil, then you will add the applesauce (plus a few drops of non-dairy milk or fruit juice) to the batter at the end, as you stir in the milk before forming into a ball. This is to avoid the natural separation of the applesauce which could change the consistency of your batter.

Per Serving: 257 Calories; 11g Fat (36.7% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 35g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 396mg Sodium.

Lemon Poppy Sunburst Bread

I have no idea where I got this yummy bread recipe, but it's been part of my baking roster for years. It is a bit of work to make, but the results are worth the effort. A very healthy and yummy bread.

By the way, the nutrition data below is based on 1 slice, with 8 slices per loaf.

  • 2 Tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or try applesauce with a few drops of non-dairy milk -- see note below)
  • 3 Tablespoons toasted sesame tahini
  • 3/4 cup organic sugar (I like Sucanat)
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I like oat milk)
  • Juice and grated peel of 1 lemon (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 9x5-inch loaf pan.

2. In a strong blender, grind flax seeds to a fine powder. Add 1/3 cup water and blend until frothy. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Rinse blender immediately.

3. In large bowl, combine oil, tahini and sugar. Beat with electric mixer on medium until blended. Beat in reserved flax mixture.

4. In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add to wet mixture, beating at low speed until smooth. Beat in milk, lemon juice, and peel. Fold in sunflower seeds and raisins until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

5. Sprinkle poppy seeds evenly over top. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes, then invert loaf onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 1 (9x5") loaf

Note: If opting to use applesauce instead of oil, then you will add the applesauce (plus a few drops of non-dairy milk or fruit juice) to the batter at the end, when you fold in the sunflower seeds and raisins. This is to avoid the natural separation of the applesauce which could change the consistency of your batter.

Per Serving: 404 Calories; 19g Fat (40.7% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 55g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 297mg Sodium.

Red Wine and Black Pepper Biscuits

These cracker-like biscuits go well with dried and fresh fruit, non-dairy cheeses, breads and nuts. Great for parties.

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (can also use whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar (I like Sucanat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or try 1/4 cup applesauce and 1/4 cup oil - see note below)
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I like almond milk)
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, sea salt and black pepper. Pour in red wine and olive oil. Stir until smooth.

3. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a log. If desired, flatten the log slightly for oval shaped slices.

4. Place milk in a small dish. Using pastry brush, coat each log with milk. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Cut each log into 3/8" slices. Place slices on a parchment lined baking sheet.

5. Bake 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on rack.

Yield: 7 dozen

Note: While we always like to give the option of cooking entirely without oil, not all recipes cooperate! Historically, oil can be substitued for applesauce up to 1/4 cup. More than that, and you're moving into experimental territory -- for instance, you can substitute half the oil for applesauce. But as in this recipe, substituting 1/2 cup of oil for the 1/2 cup of applesauce might not produce the results you are looking for.

Per Serving: 34 Calories; 2g Fat (47.1% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 4g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 30mg Sodium.

Sweet Beer Bread

Hold it! Hold everything! This bread will make your baking experience fun and satisfying. Beer bread is incredibly easy to make. Fabulous with chili.

Sliced Beer Bread
  • 3 cups flour (I like 1/2 whole wheat pastry and 1/2 unbleached white)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar (I like Sucanat)
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle of beer (such as a lager, or a Belgian or an ale)
  • 1/4 cup organic Earth Balance (or other non-dairy buttery spread), melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Add beer, mix briefly but thoroughly, and pour into a lightly greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

3. Bake for 45 minutes.

4. Pour melted "butter" on top. Bake 10 more minutes.

Variation:

  • Add 3/4 cup shredded non-dairy cheddar cheese* and 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives to dry ingredients. Proceed as directed with remainder of recipe.

Serves: 8

Per Serving: 268 Calories; 6g Fat (21.1% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 649mg Sodium.

Note: If it makes a difference to you, not all beer (or other alcohol) is vegan.

Yam Biscuits

These yam biscuits are de-li-cious. Period.

  • 2 cups flour (I like 1/2 whole wheat pastry and 1/2 unbleached white)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1/3 cup organic Earth Balance (or other non-dairy buttery spread)
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil (or try applesauce with a few drops of non-dairy milk -- see note below)
  • 1 rounded cup cooked yams, mashed
  • 2 Tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Sift dry ingredients, then cut in dairy-free buttery spread and oil. Blend in mashed yams. Add milk and maple syrup to make a moist (slightly sticky) dough. Drop in 1/4 cup measures on a dry cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes.

Yield: 12 biscuits

Note: If opting to use applesauce instead of oil, then you will add the applesauce (plus a few drops of non-dairy milk or fruit juice) to the batter at the end, when you add the milk and maple syrup. This is to avoid the natural separation of the applesauce which could change the consistency of your batter.

Variations:

Note: Unbaked biscuits can be frozen on a cookie sheet for several hours and then stored in freezer in airtight container until needed. Bake frozen for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Per Serving: 186 Calories; 10g Fat (49.9% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 222mg Sodium.


Note: An asterisk (*) denotes a "fun food" and should be used sparingly. Not recommended as part of a healthy everyday vegan diet.



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