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5 tips for vegan baking

Cake from The Chicago Diner
Cake from The Chicago Diner
Leolin Lopez

April 26 kicks off the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale across the world. These are individual organized events focused on not only introducing people to vegan baking, but to also raise money for various causes. Chicago’s vegan bake sale will be held on April 26 at the Loving Heart and the proceeds of the bake sale will benefit the Chicago Veggie Pride Parade. Want get in on the action? Whether it’s to bake something for the bake sale or for a dessert at home, here are 5 tips for vegan baking.

1. Egg Substitutes
Eggs serve numerous purposes in baking such as a binder, to add moisture, or to help the ingredients turn from a liquid state to a solid or semi-solid state. Some egg substitutes include bananas, applesauce, oil, or Ener G egg replacer. Which one you would use will depend on what is being baked.

2. Margarine
Although margarine is made from a blend of oils, some companies add whey or casein, which are both derivatives of milk and therefore not vegan. When a recipe calls for butter or margarine, use a vegan brand like Earth Balance, which also comes in stick form for easy measuring.

3. Other flours
Instead of reaching for the easy all purpose flour, now is the perfect time to incorporate other flours such as oat, hemp, spelt, or buckwheat into some recipes. Like egg substitutes, depending on what is being baked, will influence the type of flour to use. However, this is the perfect time to try different tastes and textures.

4. Got milk?
Almond, rice, hemp, soy, oat, and cashew milk are just some of the flavors of milk that can be used for baking. In some recipes, silken tofu can even be used as a substitute for milk. They all have different tastes so sample them first. Also non dairy milks are not just sold in health food store any more. They are now also sold in major grocery store chains as well.

5. Shhhh…Don’t tell them it’s vegan
It will be hard to hide this fact at the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, but when baking at home or for a party, this is the most important. Some people may not try a baked good just because its vegan, so not mentioning this will allow the person to judge the food based on how it actually tastes and not on what they think vegan food tastes like. Once they say that they love it (and they will) then let them in on this little secret.

For more information on the Chicago Vegan Bake Sale or the Chicago Veggie Pride Parade, visit www.chicagoveg.org.