Did you know that this week is Food Allergy Awareness week?
And since I know that a lot of my readers are dealing with food allergies and intolerances, I thought that I would share some of my favorite substitutions for vegan and wheat free baking.
This list is just meant as a general, quick start guide for those who are new to baking dairy, egg, and wheat free. This list is not going to cover every food allergy out there, but is meant to help those who love to bake, but need some ideas for baking without dairy, eggs, and wheat. This is the information that I wish I would have had after Baby Bee was born, and I had to eliminate dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, and corn from my diet. I still really wanted to bake, but in my sleep deprived state, it was difficult for me to figure out exactly where to start.
Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional – please consult your doctor if you are not sure if an ingredient is safe for you or your family.
So, here we go! And just a note, some of these links are Amazon affiliate links.
Spelt Flour: There is some confusion regarding spelt flour. The FDA has classified it as wheat, but it really is not wheat, although it is closely related to wheat and does contain gluten. Spelt is not suitable for people with celiac disease or true wheat allergies. It works well for our family, because my boys are sensitive to wheat, but do not have a true gluten intolerance. Spelt flour is more water-soluble and more easily digested than wheat flour. It acts very much like all purpose flour in recipes. You can read more about it here.
Gluten Free Flour Blends: There are so many great gluten free flour blends available these days. The ones that I prefer are a cup for cup substitution for regular flour. Bob’s Red Mill, Enjoy Life Foods, and King Arthur all make gluten free flour blends. There are a lot of other options out there, if you have a favorite, let me know in the comments! You can also make your own blend. There are lots of recipes online if you choose to go that route.
Oat Flour: Oat flour is another flour that you can use, although it does have a different texture than wheat flour. I usually just use some oat flour in my recipes, in combination with another flour. Oats do not contain gluten, although they can be cross contaminated if they are made in a factory that does not process wheat as well. As long as the oat flour is made in a a certified gluten free facility, it should be free of gluten. You can also make your own oat flour by grinding gluten free whole oats in a food processor until it is a fine flour.
Almond Meal: If you don’t have a nut allergy, almond meal can be a great option for grain free baking. It does tend to make baked goods a little bit heavier, but also very flavorful and moist.
There are a couple of options for egg replacers. One thing you can do, that you have probably seen in some of the recipes on my blog, is to make flax seed eggs. It’s really simple: for each egg that you need to replace, just mix 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed meal with 3 Tablespoons of water. Let it sit for a few minutes, and it will form a gel. Once it has gelled up, add it to your batter as you would a real egg. You can also make chia seed eggs: Just grind up 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds with a mortar and pestle, and mix with 3 Tablespoons of water, and let it sit for a few minutes until it forms a gel, then add to your batter.
You can also use unsweetened applesauce in the place of eggs: for each egg in the recipe, substitute 1/4 cup of applesauce. If you are looking for a lighter texture, then applesauce is a better choice than flax eggs.
Dairy substitutions are actually pretty easy because there are so many great products available now. For milk, just use an equal amount of non dairy milk. Our favorite non dairy milks are almond milk and coconut milk. I’ve also used rice milk and hemp milk in some recipes. Use whatever milk suits your preference and dietary needs.
For butter, we use Earth Balance Soy Free Vegan Buttery Spread. It has a great buttery flavor, and works really well in baking and on top of toast, pancakes, etc. You can also experiment with using coconut oil, or vegan shortening, like the Spectrum brand.
Tips for those who are avoiding corn:
When we were avoiding corn, we discovered Featherweight Baking Powder, which is corn free. Most baking powders contain cornstarch.
Cornstarch is often used to thicken sauces, puddings, and gravies. You can substitute an equal amount of tapioca starch or arrowroot powder in recipes that require cornstarch.
Confectioner’s sugar is often a mix of cornstarch and sugar. Whole Foods 365 Brand of Powdered Sugar is corn free, as is the Kroger Brand Simple Truth Organic Powdered Sugar.
The other thing that is important to note, especially if you are adapting your favorite recipes to be wheat free, gluten free, or vegan, is that the baking time might vary! Keep an eye on everything while you are baking so that you don’t have over or under-done baked goods. With a little bit of time and practice, you’ll get the hang of baking with these new ingredients.
I think that’s about all for now! I will continue to add to this list as we find new favorite products. I hope that this little quick start guide helps some of you who are overwhelmed with the idea of baking wheat, dairy, egg, and corn free!
What has your wheat free/vegan baking experience been like? Please share in the comments!
Some links to favorite EASY gluten free and vegan recipes to get you started:
- The Easiest Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Gluten Free and Vegan Sugar Cookies
- Easy Gluten Free and Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Gluten Free and Vegan Scotch Shortbread
- Gluten Free and Vegan Molasses Cookies
Because I’m passionate about tasty allergy free food, I’ve written two allergy friendly ecookbooks: Allergy Free & Delicious, and Allergy Friendly Comfort Food. These cookbooks are full of colorful, tasty, easy to make recipes that are allergy friendly. d