Are you trying to figure out vegan baking and how to use vegan leavening agents in your tasty, homemade baked goods?
Today we are talking about a handful of the absolute best vegan substitutes when it comes to baking vegan foods. Specifically, vegan goods that require a leavening agent.
There is a science to baking, and when you remove an ingredient such as eggs from your diet baking can start to feel difficult. Which is why it is important to find new ways of lightening up your vegan baked goods so that they will be just as good as the original!
So, keep reading to find out how to use leavening agents in your baking. And read till the end to find out why leavening is so important in any kind of baked good! And why you need to be using it in your baking.
Vegan Baking: Leavening Agents
If you are a beginner vegan you might have realized just how different baking is now.
Believe me, my first few attempts at baking once becoming vegan were pretty sad and generally inedible!
Vegan baking requires a special approach as you are now a few ingredients short I what you are cooking with.
Eggs are often used as leavening agents in baking, and it is now up to you to figure out how to fill that void. In order to still get nice and light baked goods.
But don’t worry, it is possible! Because here are just a few vegan leavening agents that you can try out. To replace those bothersome eggs.
Aquafaba is an amazing vegan substitute in baking as an egg replacement and a leavening agent!
It has a similar consistency as egg whites and is able to become frothy or whipped into a foam. Making it an amazing way of leavening your food as it is able to add lightness and airiness to baked goods.
Simply add 3 tablespoons of aquafaba for every egg in the recipe. You can use 2 tablespoons for each additional egg white.
In case you are new to what aquafaba is, it is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. I always use this brand of canned chick peas since it always works well!
When to Use:
You can really use aquafaba in anything that might require an egg, such as pancakes, muffins, cakes, cupcakes, and bread.
You could also add a little aquafaba to a recipe that tends to be flat or dense as it will add some extra lightness to it. This is a great leavening agent for adding lightness and airiness in otherwise dense goods.
Related: What is Aquafaba and How to Use it
Vinegar and Baking Soda
Apple cider vinegar and baking soda is another great way to add a vegan leavening agent to your baked goods.
This combination creates an obvious reaction in your dough or batter which produces gasses. Helping your baked goods to rise and build a pleasing gluten structure.
It can help to create light and fluffy baked goods that rise well in the oven. Just be careful of over-mixing, otherwise you can deflate your dough and get dense baked goods.
To make this vegan substitute combine 1 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. This can substitute one egg in a recipe.
When to Use:
This is a great option for leavening cakes, cookies, or pancakes. Though you could give it a try in just about any recipe that requires a leavening agent.
I have yet to have any issues with tasting the vinegar or baking soda so you shouldn’t need to worry about that. But if you are worried about it, just use white vinegar, as that is a bit milder in taste.
Flax Seed Egg
A flax egg is a great egg replacement in vegan baking and can even act as a leavening agent as well.
It is a very easy substitute to make as you probably already have flax seeds lying around if you eat a vegan diet.
I personally prefer to use finely ground flaxseeds since they blend in better into whatever you are adding them to. To replace one egg in a recipe you will need 1 small tablespoon of ground flax seeds and 4-5 tablespoons of water.
Combine the two and let them sit until they form a thick and slimy mixture.
When to Use:
This is a good substitute in pancakes, muffins, and some breads. I tend to avoid using flax eggs in cakes or cookies as I feel they have a tendency to get weighted down. But it is all personal preference.
Make sure that your flax egg is nice and smooth with no lumps. Otherwise you will get an unpleasant surprise in one of your bites!
Chia Seed Egg
You can use a chia egg much like you would a flax egg as they work very similarly and can often be used interchangeably.
Just keep in mind that flax and chia eggs can sometimes weigh down lighter baked goods. So, they aren’t the best option for everything.
To make a chia egg mix 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds with 4-5 tablespoons water to replace one egg.
Allow this mixture to become thick and slimy before using.
When to Use:
You can use a chia egg in things like pancakes, muffins, corn bread, and waffles.
Only use them in things that you don’t mind having a speckled look. You also might want to warn any guest eating your goods otherwise they might be suspicious over the little black spots!
Carbonated water is a great way to fluff up a recipe and to add some extra leavening.
As you might expect, carbonated water creates a gas effect in your dough or batter helping it to rise better and retain its body without falling and becoming dense.
To use carbonated water in your baked goods, replace ¼ cup of liquid in the recipe with carbonated water. Be careful not to overmix once it is added or it will lose its fizziness and not work as a vegan leavening agent.
When to Use:
Carbonated water is best used in more loose recipes such as pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, waffles, cornbread, and cakes.
Stiffer doughs like cookie dough or bread dough most likely wouldn’t do well with this vegan substitute. But you could always try it out for yourself, as it could still possibly work.
It might be a good fit for runnier cookie dough.
Baking Powder and Oil
This is one of the stranger leavening options that are available to you. And that is a combination of oil, water, and baking soda.
This combination is perfect for replacing eggs in a recipe as the baking soda provides lift and structure. While the oil provides a bit of fat to replace the egg yolk.
Simply combine 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoons of your oil of choice, and 2 tablespoons of baking powder.
When to Use:
This leavening agent would work best in things like, muffins, cupcakes, pancakes, waffles, and cake.
I would avoid adding this to bread doughs or cookie dough as you might end up tasting some of the baking powder.
Make sure that you completely incorporate this substitute into whatever batter you are working with. Otherwise you will get streaks that have a very obvious baking soda taste.. Which is not what you want!
When to Use a Leavening Agent in Vegan Baking
Leavening agents can make or break your baked goods which is why they are so very important when it comes to cooking.
Without the use of eggs we have to find adequate substitutes to take over their job. Or else we will end up with unappealing baked goods that didn’t rise, are dense, and possibly even gummy.
Leavening agents are an absolute must, so try to pick the right one for the recipe that you are working with.
Here are a few types of foods and baked goods that require leavening agents:
Depending on what you are making you will want to switch your leavening agent.
I have found aquafaba and the baking powder and oil mixture to be the most diverse. These two options can be used in almost anything though I would always pick the aquafaba first!
You could even combine two leavening agents together to see how the results are. Since they all work slightly differently, you might find a useful pair!
What is a Leavening Agent?
Leavening is a chemical reaction where gasses are created in your dough or batter. These gases help the dough or batter to expand which creates a nice texture.
When your dough or batter is able to expand while cooking it creates light and airy baked goods. Giving them structure and body that they would have otherwise.
Leavening agents are used in order for your baked goods to be able to rise in the oven and create a nice texture. Eggs are most commonly used as leavening ingredients in baking, long with something like baking soda or powder.
Leavening agents can also work to bind ingredients together, which helps the goods to properly expand and rise.
Without them everything you made would be flat, tuff, and dense.
Why You Need Vegan Leavening Agents
Leavening agents in cooking and baked good provides a great deal of benefits to what you are making.
It creates lighter and airier foods that have a much better crumb and consistency.
Think of a homemade loaf of bread. Without a leavening agent it would bake into a big block of dough and end up being more like a cracker. Not at all like the soft bread that you were probably wanting.
You have probably even made a batch of muffins or cupcakes that turned out flat and dense. This is because you needed a vegan leavening agent to help them rise and expand.
Without leavening nothing we make would ever rise nicely or become soft and airy. Everything would be flat and dense and crumbly.
Has this article helped you to decide which vegan leavening agent is the best option for you? Have you tried any of these alternatives in your baking?
Vegan baking may feel tricky at first, but once you get the hang of it, it is surprisingly easy to adapt to. And recipes can easily be adjusted accordingly.
With the right substitutes you no longer have to worry over tuff cookies or flat cakes!
I know, when I first went vegan, all of my baking attempts were disasters! Nothing turned out, everything had a strange taste, and everything was flat and dense. It took a while of trial and error but eventually I got the hang of it, and now I can bake delicious vegan treats!
Just hang in there and try your best. There is a steep learning curb but you will get there eventually and be rolling in all of your vegan baking knowledge!