“Free from” - with a great taste!

Baking without eggs, milk, sugar or gluten? No problem! Here are our ingenious alternatives

There are as many different food intolerances as there are grains of sand on the beach - and just as many diets. Before bringing some home-baked treats to a coffee date, you always have to start with a survey: Is anyone vegan, vegetarian, sugar/lactose/gluten-free or anything else? Ultimately, you want your cake to be free from all “disruptive” ingredients and suitable for every diet, so that everyone can have a bite of your delicious cake, without being excluded because of their diet.

 

Here, we have listed which ingredients can be replaced in baking, how, with what, and which of them you are most likely to have at home. The result is always a tasty slice of cake and that’s all that matters!

Baking without eggs - the alternatives

What can be used instead of eggs in baking recipes? This question is not only a matter for vegans. Even when it comes to spontaneous baking, your fridge or pantry may not have the right ingredients you need. If there are no eggs don’t worry, the dough will get the right binding quality, moistness and texture using these ingredients. The quantities stated always refer to size M eggs.

Linseeds:

Milled linseeds are great when it comes to binding dough. Moreover, they have a slight nutty taste and are therefore the perfect match for sweet baked goods.

Combine 1-2 tbsp linseeds + 3 tbsp water and leave to sit for a little until it forms a sort of gel. The perfect replacement for 1 egg.

Apple puree:

Apple puree (or apple mousse), which does not usually contain added sugar, holds the cake together, textures the dough, adds moisture and lends a slight sweetness, so that the rest of the sugar in the recipe can be fully or partially replaced.

3 tbsp apple puree (approx. 70 g) = 1 egg

Banana:

Like apple mousse, bananas (especially when ripe) bind the dough, lending it moisture and sweetness.

1/2 banana = 1 egg

Chia seeds:

Work well in sweet and savoury baked goods, such as breads, as they have a relatively neutral taste. Over time, chia seeds swell up in water. If, for example, you leave the seeds in water overnight, they will turn into a kind of pudding or gel, which can be used to bind the dough.

1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg

Psyllium husks:

Ground psyllium husks or flea seeds ground in a blender swell up in water to many times their original size, forming a broth that can be used for binding. 1 tbsp psyllium husks + 200 ml water = 1 egg

Other alternatives include:

  • Oats: 3-4 tbsp (fine) oat flakes or oat bran = 1 egg.
  • Starch: 1 tbsp starch + 3 tbsp water = 1 egg.
  • Soya flour: 1-2 tbsp soya flour + 1-2 tbsp water = 1 egg
  • Vinegar: 1-2 tbsp vinegar = 1 egg
  • Silken tofu: 50-60 g silken tofu = 1 egg.
  • Locust bean gum: 1 tsp = one egg.

Baking without milk - the alternatives

What can be used instead of cow’s milk? The answer is quite simple: a plant-based milk alternative. This is often known as a “drink”. Drinks such as coconut, cashew and hazelnut milk often work well in sweet recipes. For those concerned about sustainability, oat milk is a better option. It is brewed regionally and requires less water. Oat drinks have a natural sweetness due to the starch in the oats. Therefore, you can also reduce the sugar content in the recipe.

 

Plant-based milk can usually replace cow’s milk at a ratio of 1 to 1. Not only is plant-based milk similar in colour but also in consistency and it is perfectly suited to cooking and baking. The plant-based alternatives also taste good on their own: for breakfast with oats, muesli, porridge or rice pudding or simply in a cup of coffee. As there are so many plant drinks out there, you just have to try them out until you find your favourite type.

Oat drink:

Has a sweet, grainy taste, is rich in fibre and low in cholesterol, free from milk protein and lactose. It also has the benefit of being made locally and has a reduced impact on the climate

Soya drink:

Comes in many different varieties, often sweetened and available in a range of flavours such as vanilla or chocolate. “Soya milk” can not only be used as a replacement for cow’s milk and cream when baking, it can also be used for cooking.

Rice drink:

Well-suited to those with allergies, as it is lactose-, gluten- and milk protein-free, although its consistency is slightly more watery than cow’s milk.

Coconut drink:

Coconut drink is not as rich as coconut milk, which is used for desserts such as creams and cake-fillings due to its creamy consistency. Coconut drink, however, does not contain as much coconut pulp and is similar to cow’s milk in consistency. Both coconut drink and coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which is a watery liquid obtained directly from the coconut. You will need to like the strong taste of coconut in order to use coconut drink.

Water:

Sparkling water is great for obtaining a fluffy cake dough. The carbon dioxide textures the dough. Tap water can also be used to replace milk, however it is more liquid than milk. When baking, it is recommended to add water little by little until the desired consistency is reached.

Other alternatives include:

  • Grain drinks such as spelt drinks
  • Hemp drink
  • Almond drinks
  • Juices: Juices or lemonades also work well in pound cakes, providing taste and consistency, such as lemonade in lemon cakes. The carbon dioxide forms a fluffy dough and, depending on the juice, a different colour can be achieved.

Baking without sugar - the alternatives

Unbelievable but true: Even sugar can be replaced in most recipes without issue. “Why” is the key question here. Is it because you do not want to use any industrially-manufactured “empty” sugars and would rather use the natural, “rich” sweetness from fruit? Or are you concerned about the calorie content? Once the reasons are clear, it is easy to make the right choice.

Honey:

Note, this natural product made by hard-working bees is not suitable for vegans but it is rich in minerals. Depending on the taste, honey can have a blossom-like sweetness or even a bitter, forest-like taste as is the case with fir honey.

80 g honey = 100 g sugar

Maple syrup:

This tasty syrup is obtained from Canadian sugar-maple trees. It is more liquid than honey and tastes more bitter, however it contains fewer calories than sugar. When it comes to maple syrup: The lighter the colour, the milder and finer the taste. 

80 g maple syrup = 100 g sugar

Dates:

Dried fruits, such as dates, plums, apricots and apples, taste sweet and work well in most sweet baked goods. The fibres within are gentle on the digestive system. Simply blend dried dates in a mixer. A small tip: by adding a few tablespoons of water, you can form a fruit puree, which can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

Approx. 125 g = 100 g sugar

Coconut blossom sugar:

It is less sweet than sugar but has a wonderful, caramel-like taste. It is generally obtained from coconut palms in South-East Asia. This means it has long transport routes and a high impact on the environment. Unfortunately, coconut blossom sugar forms clumps when baking and you need to use more than you would with sugar.

Approx. 125 g = 100 g sugar

Banana:

Ripe bananas are a silver bullet when it comes to solving the issue of sweetness. Depending on how ripe they are, they can take on a vanilla or pleasant, fruity caramel note. The darker the banana, the better. Therefore, they are perfectly suited to cooking and baking.

Approx. 125 g = 100 g sugar

Other alternatives include:

  • Syrups like date syrup or rice syrup
  • Thick juices like apple or pear juice or agave juice
  • Sugar alcohol and sweeteners like erythritol and xylitol or the sweet plant stevia are low in calories or even calorie free.

If required, the recipe may need to be adjusted when adding thick juices or syrups, as the high-moisture content can affect the consistency of the dough.

 

Baking without gluten - the alternatives

Tasty cakes do not need to be baked with wheat flour. Here too, there is another way. You can avoid gluten by steering clear of wholegrain wheat, rye flour, barley or the currently trendy true wheats like emmer, spelt, Kamut or Einkorn and others. Would you like to bake cakes that can be eaten by people with gluten intolerances or coeliac disease?


You can get started straight away using these gluten-free flour varieties: Buckwheat, teff, millet, rice, corn, oat, coconut and plantain, as well as many more. As none of these contain gluten, baking recipes such as bread recipes do not need amended much. Experiment with the flours, then you can work out how they act during baking and whether the wheat flour can be replaced with another flour of your choice at a ratio of 1 to 1. The only drawback is: Baked goods do not often rise as well as they would with gluten-based flour types but the taste will nonetheless be a winner!

Almond flour:

Consists of finely-ground almonds and lends the dough a wonderful texture. Almonds have a very high protein content and are well-suited to baking sweet cakes. The flour is also very easy to make yourself: simply blend blanched or raw and unpeeled almonds finely in a mixer.

Soya flour:

You can even make flour from this all-rounder. We know soya from tofu, soya drinks and substitute-meat slices, as well as soya flour. It is rich in fibre and protein.

Approx. 75 g flour = 100 g wheat flour (type 405)

Chickpea flour:

The basis for this flour is peeled chickpeas. Many people know chickpeas from the famous savoury dish: Falafel. It is very well suited to savoury doughs but it also gives sweet doughs a special twist.

Hazelnut flour:

Another nut flour, however this one is even stronger in taste and has more character. However, pay attention here to allergies and ask people in advance to be sure.

Rice flour/cornflour:

  • Buckwheat flour: Don’t be misled by buckwheat. It may have “wheat” in the title but it has nothing to do with it. It contains no gluten, tastes nutty, aromatic and works well in sweet and savoury baked goods.
  • Teff flour: Comes from Ethiopia and is made from Lovegrass or wholegrain millet. It has a slightly sweet taste and contains many minerals.
  • Oat flour: Due to its savoury taste, it is good for bread but it needs to be paired with another flour as it has a bitter taste on its own. Look for certified gluten-free oats, as commercially-made oats may contain traces of gluten from the manufacturing processes.

Other alternatives include:

  • Syrups like date syrup or rice syrup
  • Thick juices like apple or pear juice or agave juice
  • Sugar alcohol and sweeteners like erythritol and xylitol or the sweet plant stevia are low in calories or even calorie free.

If required, the recipe may need to be adjusted when adding thick juices or syrups, as the high-moisture content can affect the consistency of the dough.

 

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