Baking Info

When I bake I have a few general rules I stick to:

  • obviously always veganize (no dairy, no eggs etc.)
  • use non dairy milk (coconut and almond are great choices)
  • use extra virgin coconut oil in place of regular oils-
  • use sugar substitutions as to lower the glycemic index (decrease the sugar content)
  • substitute alternative flours in place of all-purpose white flour (which has no nutritional value)

Why do I use coconut oil?  

  1. Extra virgin coconut oil is one of the safest oils to cook/bake with. It does not contain trans fatty acids and does not break down, even at high temperatures, unlike many other oils.
  2. Coconut oil is about 50% lauric acid, a rare medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s milk that supports healthy metabolism and is now being studied for its anti-fungalanti-viral, and anti-bacterial health-protecting properties.
  3. It is known as the “energy fat” and is favored by dieters, athletes, and body builders. It is slightly lower in calories than most other fats and oils, is processed in the liver, and converted directly into energy.

Really, the list of health benefits is endless. Google it, or check out the information for yourself here! (MAKE SURE YOU BUY EXTRA VIRGIN UNREFINED COCONUT OIL)

Sugar Control-

  • Veganbaking blog tells us that Glycemic Index or GI is the measurement in between 0 and 100 of how fast carbohydrates raise blood glucose levels. The faster carbohydrates break down and raise blood sugar, the higher the glycemic index.
  • Low glycemic index foods are preferred because recent studies have shown that a diet involving high GI foods can increase the risk of diabetesheart disease and obesity.
  • Foods that have a GI of 70 or more are considered to be high.

Different sweeteners have different GI levels. Below is a chart to see where your favorite sweetener places on this scale.

Sweetener/Glycemic Scale

Stevia <1***
Agave Syrup 11*
Fructose 22**
Brown Rice Syrup 25***
Barley Malt 42***
Maple Syrup 54*
Blackstrap Molasses 55***
Corn Syrup 75***
Turbinado Sugar 65***
White Sugar 80***
High Fructose Corn Syrup 87***
Glucose 100*

So when I can, I like to lower the glycemic index of a recipe by switching the source of sweetener.  For example, say the recipe called for 1c. of regular white sugar, I will use 1/2 c. of brown rice syrup and 1/2 c. of organic turbinado sugar.  When you use a significant amount of liquid sugars (like the brown rice syrup), you have to lessen the liquids somewhere else so your batter isn’t too goopy.  If that same recipe called for 1c. milk- I will even it out by only using 3/4 cup.  If it is still too liquid-y you can always add a little flour to thicken.  Test it as you go, just add a tbsp or so of flour and mix, and adjust until your desired consistency is reached.

Alternative flours –

When its possible, I like to use ingredients that add nutritional value to what I am creating.  All purpose flour is refined, stripped of all its fiber, and increases insulin which promotes fat storage- something I don’t think anyone wants.  I use whole wheat & whole wheat pastry flour.  I also use gluten free flours such as almond flour, coconut flour, and quinoa flour. Lately I have been trying a lot of gluten free flours – using half gluten free flour/half whole wheat.  I started doing this because the gluten in wheat is hard on the digestive system for most people- which increases bloating! I don’t know about you, but I hate being bloated!!!! So in my recipes, you can use whatever flour {flour combination} you want, but I will try to make it the easiest, yet healthiest way I can.

Below are descriptions from The Holistic Chef ‘s blog of different gluten free flours that I currently use or may use in the future.

Almond Flour – made by grinding blanched almonds into a fine powder (skins removed). The consistency is more like corn meal than wheat flour. You can find extra fine Italian Almond Flour which has more flavor, but can be very pricey. Baking with almond flour requires using more eggs to provide more structure. Use it in cakes, cookies, and other sweet baked goods. You can make it yourself by placing blanched almonds in a Vitamix or high power blender.

Brown Rice Flour – made from stone ground brown rice. Used in gluten free baked goods as a replacement for wheat. Can also be used to thicken soups and stews. I prefer to use this instead of white rice as it contains more fiber and therefore has a higher nutritional value. The higher fiber content will contribute to a heavier product than recipes made with white rice flour. Can also produce a gritty product when used alone and is best when combined with other flours like sorghum, potato flour and tapioca starch.

Coconut Flour – delicious alternative to wheat and other grain flours. It is very high in fiber, low in digestible carbohydrates and a good source of protein. It gives baked goods a rich, springy texture but needs a lot more liquid than other flours. Replace up to 20% of the flour called for in a recipe with Coconut Flour, adding an equivalent amount of additional liquid to the recipe. You will not need as much sugar when using this flour as the coconut has a natural sweetness.

Millet Flour – adds a subtle flavor, creamy color, and more vitamins and minerals than other grains Substitute 1/4 cup millet flour for an equal amount of unbleached white flour in any baked good. Can be a little gritty, like rice flour and contains no gluten, so is best to substitute around a 1/4 millet flour for other flours when baking.

Potato Flour – made from dehydrated potatoes. Used in bread, pancake and waffle recipes and as a thickener for sauces, gravies and soups. It adds smoothness and moisture in gluten free baking. It is high in carbohydrates and lacks fiber which makes it necessary to use it along with other flours as a mixture.

Quinoa Flour – made by grinding quinoa (keen-wah) to a powder. Highly nutritious, containing more protein, calcium and iron than other grains. It has a light nutty flavor. Not recommended to use alone as it does not contain any gluten. Best when substituting 1/4 cup for another flour.

Sorghum Flour – is an annual grass originating in Africa and a popular cereal crop worldwide. It has a higher protein content than corn and about equal to wheat. It is neutral in flavor which allows it to absorb other flavors well.

Tapioca Flour – made from the cassava root. Once ground it takes the form of a light, soft, fine white flour. It is starchy, slightly sweet and adds chewiness to baking and is a good thickener. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup per recipe to lighten and sweeten breads made with heavier flours like brown rice and millet.

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