Have it Yer Way

In this age of wheat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and other freedoms, the question of substituting always comes up. With so many products on the market catering to our food sensitive society, it’s actually not difficult to make substitutions and get a similar (but not the same) texture and flavor from the recipe.

Living Without Magazine

Replacing wheat flour with a non-wheat flour
Barley, kamut and spelt flour work fine.  Barley flour will give the most similar texture to whole wheat pastry flour.  Whole grain kamut and spelt flour have a lot of fiber, so you may need a tablespoon or two of extra liquid in your recipe.

Replacing gluten flour with a non gluten flour
Wheat, kamut, spelt and barley all contain gluten. For the family-member that is gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive, a substitution needs to be made. In my classes we use the formula we give in Gluten-Free Flour Mix video.  Works well.  Nother option is a guaranteed gluten-free oat flour.  Expensive but you will get the most wheat-like texture.

Fats
Notice whether the fat in your recipe is solid or liquid. When you replace a liquid fat with a solid fat (for example canola oil with butter), melt the solid fat to get the correct measurement. It is tricky to replace a solid fat with a liquid fat (for example replacing Crisco with olive oil). You will need to examine how the fat is used in the recipe and experiment. If you need to make a dairy-free recipe that calls for butter you can substitute coconut oil.  Melt if first on very low heat, then measure and use. You will get better results.

Milks
Soy, rice or nut milk  can be substituted for cow’s milk in any recipe.  It’s easy to make nut milks at home.  See our Vanilla Nut Cream recipe.  Thin in out with more water.  If the recipe you are substituting milk in is sweet you could leave the maple syrup and vanilla  in.  If not, omit both.

Eggs
I don’t recommend replacing eggs in a recipe unless there is an allergy or a commitment to being vegan.  Fear of dietary cholesterol is not the threat we once thought it was and current research does not support eliminating it. Eggs are unequal in their ability to bind.  They also add high-quality protein and fat to baked goods and desserts which help balance the high-carbohydrate content.

  1. Two eggs equal approximately ½ cup of liquid and fat.  One option is to simply increase the liquid and fat in the recipe by ¼ cup each.
  2. Another choice is to use ½ cup of fruit or vegetable puree.  This can be handy if you want to get more fruits and vegetables in your family’s diet.  Dates, bananas, applesauce, sweet potato or yam are a few choices. The texture will be softer than if the dish was made with eggs.
  3. A third option is to grind 2 tablespoons of flaxseed, add 6 tablespoons boiling water, let mixture set 15 minutes then whisk with a fork.  This will replace two eggs in any recipe for baked goods.  The flax will also significantly increase the fiber content.
  4. When eliminating eggs from a recipe I have found that substituting 1/4 cup of the flour in the recipe (if there is flour) with 1/4 cup of teff flour is helpful, especially with cookies and brownies.  Teff is a whole grain that is sticky and chewy when cooked, so it adds those qualities to the baked good.

In my book, there are recipes for a Tofu Kale Supper Pie (like a quiche) and a Tofu Vegetable Breakfast Burrito (replacing scrambled eggs) if that is the type of egg substitution you’re going for.  Tofu can do some cool things.

So many substitutions, so little time.  I know you guys have more ideas.  Okay, discuss.

One thought on “Have it Yer Way

  1. We have no allergies nor sensitivities in my house, but I sometimes need to make substitutions just because I ran out of something. I use almond milk in place of dairy quite often, and flax instead of eggs. I don’t even add water to the flax, I just mix it in with the dry ingredients, then add 1/4 cup more liquid per T ground flax. I also recently ran out of whole wheat flour, and have been using buckwheat flour instead, and it has worked great. My favorite pancakes are made with ground oats, flax, buckwheat flour, and almond milk. They’re unintentionally vegan, bu pretty darn good.

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