Baking Conversions

Baking Conversions

By Makaela Willis, Marketing & Owner Services Assistant

As the temperature drops and the seasons change, my urge to do some baking increases. I was thinking about how, while I can follow lots of recipes, some people can’t because of allergies or dietary restrictions. That doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t still have the best cookies or treats as the holidays and cold nights draw closer. So, I decided to put on my research hat again and find some good substitutions for gluten free and vegan recipes. I searched for alternatives to butter, eggs, milk, and flour.

I started with gluten free baking conversions. Luckily, this is an easy conversion to do in most recipes.

I know firsthand the struggles with gluten free baking, so I enlisted the help of someone who does a lot of baking for gluten free folks, my Grandma Kathy. I can remember her attempting to bake gluten free treats for my aunt since I was a kid. There were cookies that had no flavor or even tasted a little like Styrofoam. But in the past few years, vegan and gluten free options have become easier and easier to find and my grandma has become such a great gluten free baker that we can’t tell if her treats are made with normal flour or if they are gluten free! She gave me some great tips that she uses all the time and a tasty recipe for you all to try:

Grandma’s Tips:

  • Use all-purpose gluten free flour when you can.
  • You made need to add more moisture than a recipe says when using different flours.
  • For stews or thickening soups try cornstarch or pea flour.
  • For fried Chicken try instant potatoes.
  • When cooking gluten free add a little more spices or extracts to enhance flavors.

Gluten Free and Vegan Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange peel
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed or ground nut of choice
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ cups white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups cranberries (halved or coarsely chopped)
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven 350F. Grease Bundt pan. Vigorously whisk milk, zest, applesauce, flax seeds, and corn starch in large bowl. Add sugar, whisk till well combined, then add vanilla. Sift in half of the flour and all of baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Stir until well combined. Add remaining flour and stir until smooth. Fold in the cranberries. Pour batter into greased Bundt pan. Bake until firm to the touch about 50-55 minutes. Allow to cool for 20 minutes then use a small spatula to loosen the cake and invert onto a cooling rack. Cool for two hours.

To make the glaze combine all ingredients and stir or whisk vigorously until smooth. Thin with additional OJ or water if needed. Place the cake on the cooling rack over a cookie sheet or tray. Drizzle glaze over cake allowing the excess to drip off and let stand for about 15 minutes. Grandma’s note: This makes a lot of glaze. You may not need all of it.

We have a wide variety of products to help you make great gluten free recipes like this one! We have several shelves of gluten free flours and cornstarch substitutes in the baking aisle. From 1-to-1 baking flour to cassava flour, we have what ever grain free and gluten free flours you may need for your next baking project.

Vegan baking can be a little bit more of a challenge as there are many substitutions that could be required. But, based on my research, you have a lot of options when it comes to replacing eggs, milk, and butter.

Let’s start with eggs! There are a lot of substitution options for eggs in most dishes. You can use applesauce or a mashed banana. You can mix flax seed or chia seeds with water or try experimenting with aquafaba. Editor’s note: Aquafaba is the starchy liquid leftover after cooking beans, especially garbanzo beans. To learn more and get some specific measurements for these substitutes here is a great article called “9 Best Vegan Egg Substitutes for Baking”. The author also has more great recipes to try if you are vegan or want try and eat more plant based foods.

At GreenTree there are plenty of options for replacing eggs in both baking as well as daily life. We have powdered egg replacer in the baking section, unsweetened applesauce, and keep a consistent stock of bananas. We also have a product called Just Egg which is a plant based substitute made from mung beans that is a great alternative to eggs in a breakfast situation. It can also be used in baking as a substitute for whole eggs, but not seperated egg yolks or whites.

Next, I looked at substitutes for milk. There are so many plant-based alternative milks that we use in our daily lives, but I wondered, are there one or two that are better for baking? After reading through several articles, it seems the answer to that question is soy milk, with coconut milk (the type in the carton) or lightly sweetened almond milk as runners up. Why are these the better milk alternatives for baking? Because of their protein content and flavor profile. Soy milk is the closest in protein content to milk, so you can get a similarly fluffy baked good as you would with dairy milk. Coconut milk is very close too. (Tip: Canned coconut milk can be used as a substitute for heavy cream!) The Co-op has an entire fridge dedicated to dairy-free milks and creamers – everything from oat milk to cashew milk. We even carry non-dairy coconut milk powder.

Finally, we come to butter. We have 4 different brands of plant-based butter at GreenTree, but there are other replacements for butter when it comes to baking. In my Grandma’s recipe the substitute for butter is melted coconut oil. You can also use some of the same products that you would substitute for your eggs, like applesauce and mashed banana, as well as olive/vegetable oil to replace butter. Plain Greek-style vegan yogurt or pumpkin puree will work as a substitution too. (For pumpkin you only need 3/4 the amount, so 1 cup of butter is replaced with 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree.)  

I had a lot of fun doing some research on vegan and gluten free substitutes and conversions for baking and cooking. We have a great variety of gluten free and plant-based options here at the Co-op. And luckily, it has become a popular topic on recipe sites and food blogs. So if you don’t know what substitute to choose, you can easily search ‘alternative to {product} in baking’ and you will find pages and pages of research by talented bakers!  

I hope this article helps you with your baking adventures during the colder months and this holiday season!  

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