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« Baking Business | Main | neals yard »

18 February 2009


This is very interesting. I've actually been testing gluten-free cakes and cookies on and off, using coconut flour/fiber. But it's a tricky thing. I found a book on it though and hoping to work on it some more in the near future.

Most vegan, gluten-free and organic items can either hard-to-find or very expensive here. Bummer.

btw, i've heard that 1 tbsp of white vinegar is a good substitute for an egg in some baked products, mostly for leavening, i think. i've yet to try it though.

I am not vegan but because of the severe dairy allergy (milk proteins, butter, cheese, caseine) I cannot use any of those things. I have great success with vegan baked goods It does require a commitment to getting taste and textures right but it can be done SUCCESSFULLY. My Sister friend and New York Times Reviewed Author (The Black Girl Next Door) Jennifer Baszile makes some chocolate chips cookies that will make you smack yo mama they are so good! Trying to get her sell her creations!

Keep at it. You will be pleasantly surprised at how some things are better than the traditionally made baked goods.

Wonderful piece for vegan bakers. I wrestle with not only vegan baking but gluten-free vegan baking (I'm allergic to dairy and eggs and a host of other ingredients). It's a challenge working with such a limited palette. But when you create a success? It is damn sweet.

Thanks for the attention to vegan baking! I'm not vegan but I have vegan friends and I love a challenge. Some things work out great with minimal fuss, but others...

Anastasia, I'm particularly interested in your mention of pie crusts made with coconut oil/butter. I've tried it myself (several times) with coconut oil as a way to make a vegan pie crust without shortening, but I can't get good results. I can't get the fat to sheet out the way butter does and I end up with little pebbles of solid coconut oil mixed with flour. I have to add water to get any kind of dough and the result is a crumbly dough and tough crust. Does anyone ahve any tips for working with coconut oil for pastry?

Coconut oil seems to stay harder and melt faster than butter, with a smaller 'soft and pliable' zone.

Kevin ,
I don’t think it is possible to achieve the same flakiness, but you can get a decent crust. You are right about the "soft and pliable" zone; it is brief.

I treat the coconut oil like butter – I cut it in bits. I don’t chill it if it is cool enough for the coconut butter to be solid at room temperature (when it is hot, it is liquid at room temperature, and should be chilled). I pulse the flour and salt in the Cuisinart a few times, then add the coconut oil. Unlike butter, coconut oil is 100% fat. There is no additional water content. This means you will likely be adding more water than you would with butter. Add only enough so the mixture comes together when you press it together in your fingers. It is super important to then let it rest for about an hour, so the moisture has a chance to hydrate the flour. If your room temperature is kind of cool, you can do this without refrigerating. If your dough has been resting in the refrigerator, let it sit out for 10-15 minutes before attempting to roll -- the coconut oil can become as hard as a rock. You can give it a few gentle whacks with the rolling pin to help soften it up. Do chill (even freeze) your rolled out crust once you have placed it in the pie plate. This will help the crust keep its shape and help those little pockets of fat melt a little more slowly.

The resulting crust is less flaky than a butter crust and bit more crisp.

So does this mean that perhaps you are making some vegan baked goods for your new job my dear Shuna?

Hello Aaron!! Oh, no, not on purpose. But I did introduce a whole line of wheat free cookies & a cheesecake... xo Shuna

I too prefer almond milk over other milk substitutes. It tastes good and has a nice thickness to it.

I'm so happy to see this post. It is great to know that someone with professional baking experience is on our team! I have Celiac and have been gluten free for 3 1/2 years and mostly vegan for the last year. I've had a lot of success with gluten free vegan bread baking but as of yet have not conquered gluten free vegan pancakes. I'm not sure it's possible. I can't begin to tell you how much flour (and other ingredients) I've wasted. I'm a mad pancake scientist! I'm going to attempt your Sprouted Grain pancakes but I'll sub gluten free flours. If you have any suggestions I would be most grateful! Thank you!


I wonder if the soft and pliable zone of coconut oil could be extended by emulsifying it with water. This would result in a perishable product, like butter, but might end up with some more of its desirable baking characteristics. I'll have to try this out once I figure out how to do the emulsification and not have it separate. Melt, Vitamix and then flash-freeze?

Isa Chandra Moskovitz has a really good buckwheat gluten-free pancake in her Vegan Brunch book. I'm not a vegan but love her cookbooks for finding things I can make for my Celiac and dairy/egg-free sister, plus her recipes are just excellent for all purpose eating. Thanks for the baking tips that do not rely on junque to make things work!

Thank you both, Shuna and Anastasia, for this post-- as a cook and baker dedicated to flavor and nutrition, conscience and flexibility, I have been underwhelmed by most of the vegan recipes I have tried. There should not be a lower standard of taste and texture! These tips are very helpful; as I continue to explore the many worlds of pastry, I'll be using them with gratitude.

I am Vegan and have a hard time with the rise in a finished product, I have tried every egg replacer there is but the rise in the finished product just isn't the same. i think that pro. vegan bakers use some sort of dough enhancer not available to home bakers. I bought the Baby Cakes cookbook and nothing has come out right, but when you go to the bakery the products are gorgeous.

Hello Linda-- you may want to call or email Babycakes. Dough enhancers are really only used with very large scale commercial baking, which Babycakes certainly is not.

I'm not sure you are not going to get the same lift with egg replacers that you would with eggs. My own experience with eating vegan baked goods is that they tend to be a lot denser, and so are generally built smaller, to make up for the heft. ~ Shuna

I used Bob's Mill mix yesterday for corn bread and replaced the 2 eggs, the rest the same and after 60 minutes (recipe said 25) it was still raw. There was too much dough to make it smaller, do you mean if I had made muffins or 2 smaller loaves it might have cooked?

This month’s egg substitute is vinegar. I read in a couple of books that 1 tablespoon of vinegar along with 1 teaspoon of baking soda can be substituted for 1 egg. Both white distilled vinegar and apple cider vinegar can be used. This combination works best in cakes, cupcakes and quick breads. I also read in few forums that 2 tablespoons of lemon juice can be used in place of the 1 tablespoon vinegar. So for this event you could use either.

Yesterday I made Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies which take 4 eggs. I used 2 T vinegar w/ 2tsp. baking powder for 2 and 2T soy flour w/2T water for the other two. They came out great but were too sweet, I wonder in the food science world the sugar was sweeter because there was no fat to absorb it, next time I will use less sugar.

I have come to the conclusion that Vegan baking sucks, if you are making a simple cake/cupcakes it's OK but for anything more complicated just doesn't work, you need the eggs for more than the rise, you need the fat to absorb the sugar and the end product is dense and dry. I have made every recipe I can make in the 2 years i have been Vegan and I have not been pleased with anything other than a simple chocolate cake w/PB frosting. I use the cake recipe for everything I make and just change the flavoring but it is a piss poor excuse for anything fancy or fine. Ugh!

Went to Karina's site only to find out that she had no luck with brownies either using egg replacer, at least I'm not the only one!

in culinary school we were never allowed to use the cuisinart to make pie crust because of the chance of the flour and butter getting overmixed, and then forming too much gluten when the water is added. instead we pinched the butter into the flour by hand until there were small thin pieces of butter left. i wonder if this technique would work well for the coconut oil pie crust dilemma. the warmth of your hands would soften it a bit so you don't get the hard balls of oil in your crust. if it gets too melty and oily, pop it in the fridge for a few minutes, and then continue, or maybe put your bowl over an icebath to maintain the cold temperature. then just add in your water/liquid until it just barely holds together and voila!

i haven't actually done this, but it might be worth a try.

Instead of ground flax seed, try ground chia seed or chia flour. It's gelatinous and makes a good binder/egg substitute. It also doesn't have much flavor.

Thank you, because I am at the end of my rope! With the chia seed do you have the equivalent to an egg? Gee that maybe what I need is the gelatinous piece I was only thinking of the rise, thanks so much

Could someone please tell me what to substitute for the gelatin in this recipe? It is not baked but refrigerated overnight. Thank you.
8 oz. Cream cheese
3 very ripe bananas
1 tsp. gelatin
2T cold water
1/2 C. heavy cream
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp. salt

for the above agar-agar is the answer. Also, I have learned that sorghum and tapioca flours mixed w/cornstarch helps a product that is vegan. if anyone wants to contact me I can be reached at [email protected]

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