If you didn’t already know, baking is big. It is official!
Baking has always been big of course, ever since baking began as far back as 600 BC when the Ancient Greeks began baking bread, eventually leading to the enclosed oven to be created. From then on in, the world has been obsessed with all of the baked goods, and it is no surprise really. The smell of baking brownies, the taste of a ripped corner of hot freshly baked bread buttered fresh from the oven. Then of course, we can’t ignore the staggering effect the Great British Bake Off has had on the UK’s love of creating in the kitchen, boosting baking ingredients sales by a whopping 62% according to media reports.
If you bake, then you’ll likely already know about how important it is to be precise with ingredients when you do bake. The problem is, you may not always have certain ingredients available to you. This can be extremely frustrating if you’re in a rush, have a certain recipe you want to make, or you simply have no way of getting the missing ingredient at all.
The great news is, you don’t have to worry about this problem any more. We’re going to list substitutes for common baking ingredients, so next time you find the supermarket isn’t stocking what you need, you don’t have time to go out and buy an ingredient, or you need to replace the ingredient because of allergies, you’ll be totally ready to go:
Egg is such an important baking ingredient, binding everything together seamlessly. However, you don’t have to bake with eggs if you don’t want to, or can’t, in fact some say it makes baking easier leaving eggs out. There are also lots of egg replacements you can use so you don’t just have one choice to try:
Flax Egg – Ground flax seeds mixed with water make a great, taste neutral egg replacement. One tablespoon of ground flax to three tablespoons of water makes one egg and you whisk the two together until the mixture becomes gelatinous.
Apple Sauce – Apple sauce is an extremely cheap egg replacer, but it only really works in sweet recipes if you buy a sweetened variety, so bear that in mind when planning an egg replacer for your project. Unsweetened applesauce would work in any recipe. Around a third of a cup of applesauce equals one egg, or you can add a quarter of a cup of applesauce to 1 tsp of baking powder and that would replace one egg as well.
Bananas – The riper the better, and blending the banana first or mashing it to a ‘gloopy’ consistency works best. Around half a banana equals one egg in baking, but again like sweetened applesauce they only really work in sweet recipes.
Cream Of Tartar
Cream of tartar is a common baking ingredient used for leavening, stabilizing egg whites, preventing sugar crystals forming and more. It often crops up in the most surprising of recipes and it can be so annoying when you can’t get it. Luckily, cream of tartar does have plenty of alternatives like lemon juice, and baking powder, and there are more opportunities to omit it from a recipe than you might think.
Milk is important in baking as it makes the batter moist, but it can be easily replaced in baking which is great if you’ve ran out, or you’re exploring dairy alternatives. When choosing an alternative, it is important to consider the potential flavor of the milk, and to be aware that it may be sweetened or unsweetened, which can have an effect on the flavor of the baking project you are working on.
Soya Milk – Easily available and usually the cheapest milk alternative, soya milk is a great option for all recipes because it has a neutral flavor that usually can’t be picked up in baking. Just be careful to use unsweetened for the most neutral flavor.
Almond Milk – Almond milk is a lovely rich milk to use in baking that is naturally low in sugar and high in protein.
Oat Milk – Oat milk has more of a malty flavor compared to other milk alternatives, but makes for a rich dairy alternative.
There are also many other milk alternatives available to use, including cashew, hazelnut and hemp milk. Some recipes will also work with water used as a milk replacement. If you’re trying to make buttermilk without dairy, add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to one cup of your chosen milk alternative.
Sugar-free baking has been really popular this year, and it is no surprise as the world becomes more and more aware that sugar is a real problem. Nearly 10% of the US is suffering from type 2 diabetes according to recent statistics, and various government bodies across the world are looking at things like sugar tax and stricter laws regarding the labelling of food containing sugar. In the meantime though, it’s up to us to monitor our own sugar intake, and one great way to do that is with sugar alternatives in baking. It is a great way to explore the world of sugar alternatives in a way where they aren’t the ‘main event’ of the food, so you’re much less likely to notice any difference. Top sugar alternatives include:
Fruit & Vegetables – Bananas, mangoes, pineapples, dried fruit made into puree – there are many whole food alternatives to sugar, just make sure you’re open to playing with the texture and amount as an alternative as the effects on the end bake differ greatly.
Sugar replacement powder – Xylitol is a good choice as it is extracted from plant fibers and so is natural. Stevia is another natural choice but some people do get tummy problems with it, so it might be worth trying it first before making the effort with a cake.
Agave – Although agave is a natural sugar, it is still classified as a sugar that shouldn’t be indulged in, the same as normal sugar. However, some might say it is a much better alternative.
Coconut sugar – The same as agave, this is classed as a sugar the same as normal sugar, however, a lot of evidence supports the idea that coconut sugar is better for you, namely because it has a lower GI (almost half of that of natural sugar).
By now you’re likely chomping at the bit to try your new baking alternatives. Once you realize how fluid and interchangeable different ingredients are, the world of baking becomes so much bigger and even more exciting! Happy substituting!