One point argument that was brought to my attention came from a friend of mine, “I would love to eat less meat and dairy, but I could never give up baking.” It brings up the question of can vegans really bake all the sweet treats we are used to? Even if they can, are they still as good as the original? However, the biggest question to ask is how can we still eat our favorite baked snacks while on an animal-friendly diet.
99.99% of all recipes have a vegan version or meatless substitute. Any meal is a google search away. However with baking, it is somewhat harder because all ingredients serve a specific purpose in the process. It’s not like a stir-fry where meat can be substituted for tofu or mushrooms. In the above infographic is a simple replacement chart for common ingredients in most recipes.
Some ingredients are relatively easy to substitute. Cow’s milk can be replaced by soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, or coconut milk. Depending on the recipe, a plant-based milk can create a whole new level of flavors. Coconut milk in ice creams and cold treats adds a sweetness without the sugar rush. Soy milk in pancakes and breads creates a nutty flavor.
Cheese is a little harder. In my opinion, dairy-free cheeses don’t do it for me. The texture, even when melted in a meal, tastes bizarre. However, I have found making my own cashew cheese is much more successful. I have control over the consistency and thickness, and I know what’s in it to make it taste the way it does. You really have to explore your options to see what works best for your palate.
Eggs are by far the most difficult. Using potato starch as a leavening in whips will leave the final product dense and goop-y. Using tofu as a binder in cookies will cause crumbling, tasteless lumps. Use the infographic below as a quick reference for baking substitutes.
What does it all mean?
Any recipe, whether a spicy Indian dish, a thick double burger, or a decadent cupcake, all have a recipe that is entirely plant-based and kind to animals and the environment. Just like figuring out how to replace meat, dairy, and eggs from your normal meal times, there is a definite way to replace them in dessert as well. Do your research and learn what works best for you. It is possible to live animal-free. You just have to be creative enough.