baking substitutes

Baking Substitutes and How to Use It In Your Next Bake

Imagine this, you’ve decided to make your favorite dessert or do some baking in your kitchen. You then realize that you are missing an ingredient or two per your recipe. You have decided to avoid sugar, fat, and all those calories because your favorite pair of jeans won’t fit. Seems relatable!?

Worry not because you and I are in the same boat, my friend! There are changes in our diet and the incorporation of more healthy options. Because of this, you no longer have to give up on your sweet desires. 

Here you will find; high-protein, low-fat, gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, and GUILT free substitutes. These you can use to whip up a delicious baked good. There are also substitutes for bakery ingredients that you don’t have in your kitchen at the moment.

Before using baking substitutes…

It’s good to tweak recipes with substitutes and make the recipe healthier. Using substitutes, you can still make the recipe even if you are missing out on a certain ingredient. But before you start tweaking, you must consider the following important points:

I recommend you to read the original recipe. This is to understand why a certain ingredient is being used in that recipe.

Each ingredient has a certain function. Without that ingredient, your baked product will be incomplete. Hence, removing an ingredient out of the recipe at your own convenience is only you being lazy. And it won’t give you a tempting baked good or any baked product at all!

Instead, use substitutes. For example, you want to make a dessert egg-less then you don’t remove the egg completely. Instead, use any of the following substitutes like:

  • Buttermilk
  • Condensed milk
  • Vinegar
  • Liquid soda
  • Flax seeds or flaxseed gel

It’s important to study a bit on the texture, taste, and moisture content of each ingredient also. You could be replacing a certain type of flour and mix it with a different type of fat/sugar. This might result in a horrible baked product.

For example; whole wheat flour makes denser products as it requires more moisture. So, you wouldn’t want to use it for making sponge cake products which are light and airy.

To make a whole wheat sponge you’ll have to use whole wheat pastry flour. This flour is made from the soft wheat kernel and consists of less gluten and more carbohydrates. It is finer than whole wheat flour and makes the product lighter and softer.

Always try making smaller batches using substitutes before ruining a big batch. Also, always measure your ingredients before starting a new recipe using substitutes. Remember, Baking is like a chemical experiment. Too much or too little of something can end up blowing in your face. Not literally; but you get it!

1. Let’s start with the most common baking ingredient: Flour

Flour gives bulk and structure to baked goods. The most common types of flour used in the bakery are

•     All-purpose flour

•     Whole wheat flour

•     Rye flour

•     Cornmeal

•     Oats

•     Buckwheat

•     Rice flour

•     Almond flour

•     Millet flour 

Baking Substitutes for Flour

A most popular substitute for flour is whole wheat flour. It has a denser texture than regular flour and might need few adjustments in the recipe. But it adds a lot of minerals, vitamins, and fiber in the recipe.

You can use nut flours such as almond flour and coconut flour along with wheat flour. This will bring moistness, heaviness, texture, and a rich taste in the recipe. It’s also a gluten-free substitute in the recipe. Another substitute for flour is making a mixture of oats, flax, and nut flour/ whole wheat flour. Hence, you can avoid all-purpose flour completely. Put all these in a blender and you’re set.

2. Leavening agent is an important baking ingredient.

They have a crucial role in a baked product:

  • Produce and incorporate gases
  • Help in giving volume and shape to the product

Leavening agents are as follows:

•     Baking powder

•     Baking soda

•     Liquid soda

•     Yeast

Baking substitutes for leavening agents

If you have run out of baking powder, use ½ teaspoon of cream of tartar and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda. To make your own substitute for 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar use 2 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar.

To make 1 tsp powdered baking soda use 4 tsp level baking powder.

There are three types of yeast available in the market:

•     Commercial fresh yeast or baker’s yeast

•     Instant dry yeast

•     Active dry yeast  

The process of using and storing them is different. If you don’t want to use any of these, you can use your own homegrown starter. This ‘starter’ you would usually associate with Sourdough Bread. But a healthy starter is also used in regular baking. The process of creating a healthy starter takes little time. But once, it’s alive and kicking, it’s a great healthy substitute for baking loaves of bread. And, you would want to add a little bit starter in your regular baking! 

3. Chocolate is a common ingredient used in Baking

The various types in which chocolate we use are,

•     Cocoa-powder

•     Baking Chocolate/Chocolate Bar

•     Choco-Chips

Do you get confused between Chocolate chips, cocoa powder, Chocolate bar, commercial chocolate? I urge you to read the recipe carefully. This to check which chocolate is it referring to and how is it used?

Chocolate substitutes in Baking

If you don’t have a baking chocolate bar you can use another baking ingredient, Melted Chocolate Mix. Make 30 grams of unsweetened chocolate by mixing 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil/ unsalted butter with 3 tablespoons of natural cocoa powder. To make it sweetened chocolate, add 1 tablespoon of sugar to the above.

Chocolate chips: This is made at home by melting baking chocolate of your choice. Let the chocolate cool a bit. Pipe small chocolate-chips on a baking sheet. Refrigerate and use.

Coco-Powder: To substitute coco-powder you should use an unsweetened chocolate bar. Melt 10 grams of unsweetened chocolate to get 1 tablespoon of coco-powder.

Chocolate Bar: also called baking chocolate. The types of chocolate bars available in the market are:

•     Dark

•     Milk

•     White

•     Sweet

•     Semi-Sweet

•     Unsweetened

Did you know, the healthiest out of all is the dark chocolate?

Despite people telling you that its bad, dark chocolate is good for the heart (and it calms those crazy mood swings). It is rich with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and lowers the blood pressure.

Please Note: A chocolate sauce that you get in the market is not real melted chocolate! Use it only and only for garnish and topping.

4. Next essential ingredient in most baked goods is Eggs.

Eggs are an incredible source of protein and give structure to a baked product. They are an important ingredient in sponge cakes, macarons, meringues. Eggs can be substituted when making loaves of bread, cookies, pie, cakes, etc.

Baking substitutes for Eggs

The following are popular healthy substitutes for Eggs. These are good egg substitutions in making muffins, cakes, cookies. Some of them can be used to eggless macarons, meringues, and marshmallows as well (Aquafaba):

•     Aquafaba: water in which chickpeas have been cooked.

•     Applesauce

•     Flax seeds or Chia Seeds: they are a good source of protein, vitamin B and help lowering cholesterol level

•     Banana

•     Avocado

•     Yogurt

•     Tofu

•     Condensed Milk

•     Flaxseed gel

•     Corn-starch

•     Arrowroot

•     Vinegar

•     Lemon Juice

•     Baking Soda

•     Buttermilk

•     Sweet Potato

•     Pumpkin puree

5. Next important baking ingredient is the Fat.

Fat in the recipe acts as a tenderer and gives moistness and richness to the product. Common fats used in Bakery are Butter, Oil, Lard, Margarine, Ghee, or Clarified butter.  Vegan and healthy substitutes for fat are, prune, yogurt, pumpkin purée, unsweetened apple sauce, coconut oil, and olive oil.

Healthy baking substitutes for Fat

Prunes are a great healthy and vegan substitute for butter/ oil. Use an equal amount of prunes purée instead of butter and remove the fat in your recipe. To make the prune butter blending 1 cup of pitted prunes in 6 tbsp of hot water.

Unsweetened applesauce is also an awesome substitute for oil. It can also help you cut down some sugar in the recipe. For 1 cup of oil/fat, use ½ cup of applesauce mixed with ½ cup of fat.

You can also use ripe bananas in cookies, sweet bread, pancakes, and brownies to cut down fat. You can add natural sweetener instead of sugar. By doing this you increase vitamin, mineral and fibre in your baked product. Use 1 cup of mashed bananas to substitute 1 cup of fat.

Another popular substitute for butter is ‘hung yogurt’. Instead of removing butter completely from the recipe, you can use half butter and half yogurt. Similarly, in muffins and cakes, you can use ¾th cup pumpkin purée along with ¼ cup butter or oil instead of 1 cup of oil.

6. Sugar is yet another essential ingredient in Baking.

Sugar is important is baking products. Because:

•     It acts as a tenderer

•     Gives the crust a golden color

•     Makes the product sweet and gives flavor

•     It retains moisture while baking in the product

•     It is an essential food for yeast in loaves of bread and yeasted products

 A sweet yummy dessert wouldn’t taste amazing if the “sweet” factor is out. Instead of using white sugar, you can opt from so many other options such as:-

•     Honey

•     Brown sugar

•     Jaggery

•     Applesauce

•     Maple syrup

•     Coconut sugar

•     Stevia

•     Fruit, fruit pulp or fruit concentration

Healthy Baking substitutes for sugar

To conclude, Baking ingredients can be substituted easily.

There you go, some healthy substitutes, and some to use instead of the original one for you to try out in your kitchen. It is important to know that when you use substitutes know this that it’s hard to get the original texture or taste.

But with substitutes, you can either make a recipe healthier. Or you can still make a recipe without having all the original ingredients at home.

So, get baking and tell me which baking substitute did you use? 

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  1. That a real wonderful piece Chef. It indeed brings out in great detail a lot of substitute products we can use in baking making it healthier and suit all kinds of diets. Extremely grateful for sharing your expertise

  2. Shalini Singh

    Very informative chef thank you keep the good work coming.


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