Thursday, April 8, 2010


Being vegan presents lots of challenges. And almost everyday I get asked a new perplexing question from a curious omnivore. Most relate to things like, how do you make vegan potato bake? How do you make lasagna? How do you make toasted cheese? Believe it or not, I have found solutions to all these dilemmas. And although it usually takes a little sweet talking about how nutritional yeast is nowhere near as gross as you think it is, my solutions to the food queries are usually pretty well met. Although, as a furious baker there is one area that seems to get the cold shoulder again and again. And that is the case for eggless baking. Now although when you’re having a supreme moment of spiritual transcendence while chowing down on a donut, cookie or cake you’re probably not thinking about the role that the simple egg played in its conception; try and make one without them and you’ll realize their quite importance. Eggs are actually a bit of a necessity, unfortunately they also tend to be the result of horrible battery cage situations, where chickens beaks are burnt off, their legs broken and are pumped full of hormones to lay several eggs a day, literally ripping them apart. They keep them in artificial day light for about 23 hours a day to keep them laying and then slaughter them the second they are not hyper productive.
But enough about that, I’m not here to lecture, I’m here to eat. So I thought I’d put together some egg alternatives and their pros and cons. Different methods will work for different recipes so select in line with your tastes and needs. As with everything I say experiment as much as you can be bothered to find the perfect fit, because there is always an alternative is you take the time to look.

In place of 1 egg, substitute:

Egg Replacer
Personally this is my choice. It’s easy to measure, tasteless and pretty well foolproof. All come with directions for measurements of the box and its only a case of adding hot water. There are a few things you need to remember though. Always mix in a cup before adding, you need to create a smooth (and I mean smooth, those fuckers are gonna wanna form lumps if you let them) paste before adding it to your mix.
For all my enthusiasm there are a few cons, my sister swore she could taste the egg mix in some Snickerdoodles I made her the other day. The thing was I didn’t tell her they had been sitting on my kitchen bench for about a week before she got them, so I don’t know how seriously you should take that comment. Another thing is it’s really important to read the back of the box before you buy. And this goes for all vegan replacement stuff. There is some animal free stuff out there that substitutes a lot of chemical stuff in its place, and there isn’t a whole lot of point in going natural if you’re consuming bucket loads of Gelling agent #227 everyday. So my recommendation is Orgran, No Egg; you can get it from pretty much all health food stores and some big supermarkets in the health food section. Its easy, cheap and tasteless. Just like all good things in life.

This is one of the weirder, but most effective options. I use silken tofu because it blends better. And in my experience it’s probably the only possitive experience I’ve ever had with silken tofu. Again this is pretty much tasteless, natural and probably something your average vegan is going to have on hand. A good tip for this is blend 50g of silken tofu with about 2 T of the liquid portion of the recipe. Not only will you get a smoother blend, but it’s also going to bind with your batter or mix better. Probably not a good idea to tell people who are already a bit weird about egg alternatives that your baked goods have tofu in them. Another nice side effect is I also find it tends to keep things nice and moist as well, just watch out because sometimes it can turn cookies a little bit cakey.

1/2 Mashed Banana/ Avocado or ¼ Cup Apple Sauce
Now the amount you use is obviously going to depend on the size of your fruit. But I use this as a guide for a larger banana or a medium avocado. Again this method is really nice because it’s natural, nutritious and a nice little trick for keeping things from being too dry. The only side effect, especially with the banana, is it will flavor your dish. The banana can actually be a really yum addition though if you’re expecting it. The avocado and apple leaves less of a trace but again just be careful if you’re making with delicate flavors. Both work great in chocolate based things and the banana and apple can be a great addition to muffins and breads.

1 table spoon of flaxeed oil in 3 tablespoons of water is great in your heavier foods like pancakes, muffins, cookies and bars. Any type of high quality oil will work pretty well but just be aware that it will make your batter a little heavier, especial vegetable oil. I nice trick it to prepare this by running it through a food processor first of mixing bit by bit and microwaving at 15 second intervals, this gives a weirdly egg like consistency. It can be a good idea to include flaxseed oil in your diet because it includes a lot of important nutrients from oil that is hard to get if you’re not eating fish.

Don't eat eggs, that's where I grow my kids!

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