Fare Well - Baking Substitutions

Fare Well - Baking Substitutions

Baking for persons with food sensitivities or restrictions is a challenge. I'm not gonna lie: it ain't easy as pie. Having the right substitutions at your fingertips will take a lot of the guess work out of the baking process so that you can focus on the fun of creating something edible for the person whom you love (even that is you, yourself!)!

Butter - Mmm, butter! I swear it gives the absolute best flavor and coloring to a baked good. But it is so so very hard on many body. Although butter has a lower lactose content than straight up cow milk, there is still lactose present...not to mention the whey (protein), and these can be troublesome ingredients for digestion and migraine and allergy. And it is an animal product: butter has a lot of fat and is not ideal for someone watching their fat intake; butter is an animal product and is not vegan. We have got you covered with some great substitutes for the texture (flavor is a different story, but not impossible with the right, fresh ingredients in the remainder of the recipe).

  • SUBSTITUTE: up to 1 cup of oil with up to 1 cup puree (squash/pumpkin/apple/banana). In some recipes, try just ¾ cup to see if that is enough.
  • SUBSTITUTE: 1 part butter with 1 part palm shortening. This substitution works especially well in Vegan Buttercream.

Buttermilk - Buttermilk is a southern staple, as it lends abundant flavor and that necessary acidic content to baked goods such as biscuits, scones, pancakes, etc. As with butter and milk, it is super heavy on the stuff that is hard for sensitive persons. And it is not vegan. So let's talk about a substitution, y'all.

Egg - Eggs are my absolute favorite. They have protein and fat and they emulsify and lift. But eggs are definitely not vegan, and many people have egg allergies or sensitivities. Fret not, there are incredible substitutes out there for baking. The key with replacing eggs is to use a combination of several substitutions within one recipe.

  • SUBSTITUTE 1 egg with 3 Tbsp aquafaba. Aquafaba is the juice that remains from beans or legumes. The easiest way to "harvest" this juice is from a can of beans such as chickpeas. When whipped, it looks and acts just like meringue. Seriously. Side note: aquafaba is the portion of beans and legumes highest in FODMAPs, so be cautious.
  • SUBSTITUTE 1 egg with combination of 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds soaked in 3 Tbsp filtered water for 10 minutes.
  • SUBSTITUTE 1 egg with 3 Tbsp mayonnaise (use vegan mayonnaise if baking for a vegan diet).
  • SUBSTITUTE 1 egg with combination of 1 and ½ Tbsp oil plus 1 and ½ Tbsp filtered water plus 1 tsp baking powder.
  • SUBSTITUTE 2 eggs with combination of ¼ cup and 1 tsp vegetable oil plus 2 Tbsp filtered water plus 2 tsp baking powder.
  • SUBSTITUTE 1 egg with combination of ¼ cup apple puree (squash/pumpkin/apple/banana) plus ½ tsp baking powder.

Flour - OK, flour is probably the essential ingredient to any baked good, right? Well, thankfully, there are many options to skirt around traditional flour (made from wheat) and to avoid glutens. Some of my favorite gluten-free flours are almond, teff, coconut, sweet potato, potato starch, tapioca flour, rice flour, sweet rice flour, millet flour, buckwheat, and oat flour.

  • SUBSTITUTE: It's not as easy as a 1:1 substitution with gluten-free flours, so please turn to my article in Simulate about how to mix up your own Gluten-Free Flour Blends without the use of gums.

Milk - Milk, thankfully, is not a necessary ingredient in many baked goods. However, in some it is an absolute requirement, mainly for the fat and protein content. A lot of times, as in cake mixes, one may simply replace milk with water and yield very similar results (although not as rich of flavor). It has a very high lactose content and whey (protein) content, and these can be troublesome ingredients for digestion and migraine and allergy. And then there is the animal product factor: butter has a lot of fat and is not ideal for someone watching their fat intake; milk is an animal product and is not vegan. Don't worry, we got you covered! Moo've on over, milk!

  • SUBSTITUTE: 1 part milk with 1 part filtered water.
  • SUBSTITUTE: 1 part milk with 1 part nut or seed milk (try our Almond Milk, Flax Milk, or Rice Milk). This is my favorite substitution as it has some protein content from the nut/seed.
  • SUBSTITUTE: For whole milk, add 1 egg yolk to either of the above substitutions. Caution: this addition will make your substitution non-vegan.

Oil - Baked goods need a fat, and oil does the trick. However, in an oil-free diet or a low-fat diet, there needs to be substitution that will get the job done.

  • SUBSTITUTE up to 1 cup of oil with up to 1 cup puree (squash/pumpkin/apple/banana). In some recipes, try just ¾ cup to see if that is enough.

Sugar - Everyone knows that cakes are a vehicle for sugar! That's what's so great about them, right?!? Well, sweetness can be still had in other ways.

  • SUBSTITUTE up to 1 cup sugar with a combo of ½ cup puree (squash/pumpkin/apple/banana) plus ½ cup maple syrup and reduce liquid in recipe by about ¼ cup.
  • SUBSTITUTE 1 part sugar with up to ½ parts Truvia Spoonable. I prefer to use ⅓ parts Truvia; Truvia is a combination of stevia and erythritol, both of which are naturally-derived sources of non-glycemic sweetness at 2 grams carbohydrates per serving; thanks to Chef Alex Lovick for this recommendation.
  • SUBSTITUTE 1 part sugar with 1 part Swerve. Swerve is a combination of mostly erythritol with a little oligosaccharides (this is a FODMAP, so use with caution if sensitive to beans and legumes) makes for a non-glycemic sweetener at 4 grams of carbohydrates per serving. This substitution is what we use in our Vegan and Sugar-Free Buttercream.
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