Top tips to master free-from and vegan baking

GBBO has given German, caramel, and pastry-themed weeks, with this Tuesday focusing on ‘free-from’ baking.

The remaining five contestants will be battling it out in the tent tonight to make the best gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options, in the show’s crucial quarter final.

Fans have been calling for the return of Freya. the vegan hopeful who was eliminated in week five. But only time will tell how the remaining bakers cope under the pressure.

As we’ve seen with Bake Off participants in years gone by, switching tried-and-tested methods can be a disaster – although it doesn’t need to be.

Even the most traditional bakers can adapt recipes to fit dietary requirements, especially as specialist ingredients are more readily available than before.

Dr Oetker has provided some tips to master gluten-free and vegan bakes. Give them a go, you might be surprised at how tasty the results are:

Gluten-free baking

  • If you are adapting a sponge recipe to be gluten-free, you sometimes might need to add slightly more baking powder than the recipe states as this will help to give the sponge a lighter texture.
  • Gluten-free flour absorbs lots of moisture from a bake which can result in dry cakes, Again, if you are adapting a recipe to be gluten-free you may need to add more liquid than the recipe states.
  • Xanthan gum is a great addition to gluten-free baking, it helps the structure of the bake and mimics the role of gluten in a bake.
  • Try not to overmix your gluten-free mixture as this can lead to your bake having a rubbery texture.

Vegan and dairy-free baking

  • With a lot of vegan recipes, you will combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and then wet ingredients in another bowl, before combining them both together. It is important to add the wet ingredients to the dry as this will result in a smoother batter.
  • Soy milk tends to be thicker than most other plant-based milk and is, therefore, a great substitute for cow’s milk and getting moisture into your bakes.
  • Try to use unsweetened plant-based milk as they have less effect on the overall flavour of the end bake.
  • Don’t over mix your vegan bakes as this will result in a tough, chewy texture.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. There are so many vegan substitutes out there so sometimes you need to find the right one for your bake. 

If you’re not normally one to experiment in the kitchen, there are thousands of simple, free-from recipes online, including on the Dr Oetker website.

Building up your knowledge of what works – and what doesn’t – will turn you into a star baker in no time.

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