Vegan baking is fun no matter how you look at it. Sure, it takes a little getting used to without reaching for eggs, milk, buttermilk, yogurt, cream, etc., but look at what all you can make! You can choose between grain and nut-based flours, use multiple fruits like avocado and bananas to add a buttery, creamy texture, use fruits like raisins, bananas, pureed dates, applesauce or apple butter, and even pumpkin place of sugar. And for the egg issue, most of us know that flax and chia can both be used in place of eggs quite easily. However, if you’ve ever attempted to make your own egg-free, completely vegan, goods, then you might have noticed your goods fell … well, a little flat. While they likely taste good, eating a sunken muffin or flat pancake just isn’t much fun.
Luckily, you’re not a terrible baker if all your cakes, muffins, and cookies don’t turn out right.
Here are five troubleshooting tips you can use when using chia (or flax) in place of eggs so your goods don’t fall flat. Try them all in your next recipe and see how things improve!
1. Use Chia Flour and Flax Meal in Place of Whole Seeds
Chia seeds will soak up just dandy, but in whole form, they weigh more than the flour does and can cause some sinkage to occur. You might also consider using chia flour in place of some of your flour. Try using half chia flour (which is simply milled chia you can make in the coffee grinder) in place of half your flour called for. If you’re using oats in place of flour, grind those too. The more ground your ingredients are like seeds, nuts, and grains, the lighter your muffins will be (and better they’ll hold together). Chia flour (milled chia) will also soak up liquid the same way chia seeds to do make chia “eggs”. If you’re using flax, choose flax meal in place of flax seeds. The great part is, you don’t need to let these soak before hand since they will soak up perfectly on their own during mixing.
2. Don’t Forget the Baking Soda!
Baking soda is a must for light, fluffy goods when you leave out the eggs. It can be easy to forget, but will help your baked goods rise. A good ratio is 1 tsp. of baking soda for every 1/2 cup flour (or flour alternative). The only time you don’t need baking soda is if you’re using a baking mix (which already has it included). You can also use double acting baking powder, which will rise once during baking and again halfway through for a larger effect. Depending on the recipe, they’ll work different. For instance, you might not want super fluffy cookies, but pancakes and muffins? Yes please!
3. Be Mindful of Your Other Ingredients
Oats, bananas, pumpkin, nuts, and other seeds all make great baking options and are certainly a naturally healthy option. Just be mindful that these are also dense, rich in water and fiber, so they will naturally add some weight to your recipes. Try grinding oats and nuts as mentioned above, or at least grinding half of them, and implement lighter sweeteners like applesauce in place of bananas every once in awhile.
4. Whip it Up First
Air incorporates fluff for your recipes, so before you pour your batter into the baking pan, put the mixture in the blender and whip at a high speed for at least 30 seconds. Leave the small piece of the top of the blender off so there’s a circle of open air incorporating into the mix. The only time you don’t want to do this is with gluten-based flours (which would rise naturally on their own) since this would make them tough. You can also use a hand mixer if you prefer. Whipping is great for batters made of all natural ingredients like bananas, oats, applesauce, chia, flax, etc.
5. Use a Little Non-Dairy Milk to Help Leavening
Also be sure you use a non-dairy milk, not just because it’s dairy-free but also because it’s a natural source of sodium which can help baked goods rise. They’re also acidic and you need somewhat of an acidity to your recipes for them to rise properly. While you can use vinegar for this, or even cocoa powder, non-dairy milk will lend a creamy, light texture while also help leaven your goods. Be sure to see this guide to see which types of non-dairy milk work best for whatever recipe you’re using.
Flours that make light and fluffy crumbs include: coconut, brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa flour, while oats, almond, and whole grain options are a bit denser. You can also try using flax meal in place of flour for a dense, yet super fluffy result that’s also grain-free. Be sure to try out these steps above and check out all our plant-based baking recipes. There are many takes and variations on some of everyone’s favorite recipes so get exploring, and see which one you’ll try first!
More resources to check out include: How to Use Flax and Chia to Replace Eggs in Baking, How to Use Coconut Flour, and get these 7 Tips for Gluten-Free Baking.
Lead Image Source: One Bowl Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Muffins