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Egg and dairy substitutes


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So I have a handful of absolute favorite recipes for baked stuff (cookies, cakes, etc.), and am wondering whether I can successfully substitute for eggs and dairy products.

Biscotti and pizzelle, for example. Is there an egg substitute that will suffice? Any recommendations? (and apparently it's only the egg white that I'm allergic to, not the yolk)

Milk.... Will soy milk work in a custard?

I can't even talk about cheeses right now, lest I begin weeping.

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I've had good luck with the Ener-G brand substitute for eggs. As for the custard, I'd think soy milk should work, but I would think it would have a pretty strong flavor, you might want to use almond or rice milk instead, depending on what other flavorings you're going to add. Good Luck!

If you ate pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry? ~Author Unknown

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I made a fruit tart for some vegan friends last week and tried a vegan pastry cream using soy milk. I chose the most neutral tasting one I knew of, and it didn't taste beany to me. However I did also include a bit of coconut milk in it to add some fat content, so it did taste somewhat coconutty and without that, the soy may have been more obvious.

The problem I had was thickening. Without eggs I had to increase the starch, and it ended up getting a bit pasty and STILL not fully thickened. But if you can use egg yolks, that wouldn't be a problem at all.

In other things, you could try making flax seed goop. I haven't used it but some people report it works well in recipes where the egg is acting as a binder. It's mentioned a few times here on eG and i'm sure a google search would have recipes :)

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Ener-g Egg Replacer (basically, potato starch, tapioca flour, and a couple other things), or flax seed goop are the two egg replacements I'd recommend. I think Bob's Red Mill has a different egg replacer that should work Ok also (I think it's soy flour based). These will help things stick together, but I don't think they'll act as an emulsifier. I find it helpful to add a little extra baking powder (just make a teaspoon heaping instead of level, maybe 1/8 tsp extra) to quick-breads made with Ener-g.

Strays a little more into creepy ingredients land, but you can also add some soy lecithin dissolved in warm water if you need an emulsifier.

I have made non-dairy custards before, but eggs will be harder to replace. If you really can eat egg yolks, it should be do-able, though.

Soy or almond milk will work as a milk substitute in most things. I was big on almond milk for a while, but I do think soy works better texture / taste wise in a lot of baking stuff. Coconut milk will work for some things if you want that richness and if the flavor will work. When you want a richer dairy substitute (replacing cream), you can try making cashew cream -- soak raw cashews overnight, drain and rinse, cover with water, and blend. Supposedly you need a really high-power blender like a vita-mix... when I do it in a food processor, it seems a bit too gritty (I was told to strain, but didn't work right, at least with the strainer I had on hand). There are some commercial non-dairy "cream" substitutes. Some of them have weird stuff in them, but one or two are relatively simple.

Not the most elegant or tasty solution, but butter can usually be replaced by Earth Balance non-hydrogenated shortening or Earth Balance margarine or palm oil. This is not really ideal in terms of ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, so I would try to eat this kind of stuff sparingly.

I've been baking without eggs and dairy for years, though now I do use eggs once in a while at home. You can pull off more than you think with these simple substitutions. However, keep in mind that things which rely heavily on butter for the flavor (e.g., sugar cookies) or eggs for texture and / or flavor (e.g., sponge cake).

Edited by Will (log)
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Thank you all for the help and the suggestions. I'm supposing I'll be able to find a lot of your suggestions at local health food stores and at Whole Foods and the like. I ordered a few vegan cookbooks a couple of days ago and am eager to move on. Went to dinner with friends last night, and though it took a little extra time to sort things out with our server, she was really accommodating and we were able to make special requests to the chef which was nice. I got the impression they get that sort of thing a lot. We apologized for being high-maintenance, but they were lovely about it.

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Went to dinner with friends last night, and though it took a little extra time to sort things out with our server, she was really accommodating and we were able to make special requests to the chef which was nice. I got the impression they get that sort of thing a lot. We apologized for being high-maintenance, but they were lovely about it.

When going to restaurants, at least high-end ones, I find it helpful to call in advance. Some places are better than others.

You will find it rare, though, to get much other than sorbet and / or fresh fruit for dessert.

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