Vegan Baked Product Problems and Tips

With the rise of vegan cooking and baking, I get out and about to see what people are making.

Sometimes I run into restaurant owners, chefs, cooks and clients. What I have found is that most places are not aware of the cooking basics to make premium products. This means that consumers are paying premium prices for low-quality products. That bothers me.

Over 20 years ago, food science and research and development became quite the fad. A major example is America’s Test Kitchen. International cooking schools also have online classes to teach the basics. Online with YouTube, there are many videos as well.

The main topic I want to discuss is that for many vegan and vegetarian baking, there is so much oil and grease on my hands or plate.

This is really gross when considering I am not eating a broken sauce, but a pastry item such as bread or muffin.

The basic that got missed is that establishments that make these products aren’t keeping in mind the temperature of the mixtures they make before they bake them. If the dough is too hot, oils and butter will not incorporate correctly. If the dough is too cold, the internal temperature of the final product is not correct for the item to be “done” properly. Also with many doughs, the purveyor doesn’t allow the proper time for the dough to rise. This means I am purchasing a really dense item. If the price is by weight, then I get ripped off.


Baking Tips

Tip 1: Allow time for the dough to rise;

Tip 2: Freeze the butter or fat; then use a box grater to grate the fat. This will make pie dough flaky and chocolate can even be grated to help cool down chocolate that is being tempered.

Tip 3: To handle cakes easier, bake your cakes and freeze them anywhere from 24 hours to seven days.
Freshly baked cakes crumble too much plus they often break and tear when you are working with them. When you are ready to start working on them remove them from the freezer and let them thaw halfway.

Tip 4: When the cakes are semi-frozen it is easier to make straight cuts through them and you will not create anywhere near as many crumbs as you would with a freshly baked cake. Cakes with higher percentages of fat will not be affected by the cold temperature as cakes low in fat will be, such as angel food cake. Always wrap the cakes with food wrap.

Tip 5: Bon Bons – consider the filling and chocolate outside. For fillings that have a mild or medium flavor profile, use a white or milk chocolate couverture for the shells. For a filling that either has a strong flavor profile or is sweet, choose a dark couverture.

Apple Tart

Apple Tart

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 6 People

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Tablespoon Butter Softened
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoon Chilled Water

Filling

  • 5 Apples (Peeled, Cored, Sliced)
  • 4 Tablespoon Butter melted
  • 5 Tablespoon Sugar + ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

Instructions
 

  • In a food processor combine flour, sugar, salt, water, and butter pulse until coarse crumble is formed.
  • For the filling peel, core, and slice apples about ¼” thick.
  • In a bowl toss sliced apples with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon zest
  • Roll out tart dough into pan, trim edges.
  • Layer apples around tart pan, brush melted butter over tart
  • Sprinkle with sugar and place tart pan on sheet tray.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes.

Notes

Tools Necessary-
  • Food Processor
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Chef’s Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Sheet Tray
  • Pastry Brush
  • 9” Tart Pan
Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel

Apple strudel consists of an oblong strudel pastry jacket with an apple filling inside. Apple strudel dough is a thin, elastic dough. The oldest known strudel recipe is from 1696, a handwritten recipe housed at the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus. Whether as a type of sweet or savoury layered pastry with a filling inside, the strudel gained popularity in the 18th century.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Austrian
Servings 12 People

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Filling

  • 4 to 5 apples, any tart variety peeled, cored & thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh cake or bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter melted

Instructions
 

  • To prepare the dough: Whisk the egg, butter, and salt with about 3/4 cup cold water. Combine just enough of the liquid with the flour to make a soft dough. The dough should feel resilient but remain very slightly sticky. Drizzle in a tablespoon or more water if the dough is too ragged, or sprinkle in a small amount of flour if it is too moist and mushy. Knead for five minutes by hand, (2 minutes if using an electric mixer) until smooth, soft and warm. Form it into a smooth ball, wrap in plastic film, and let rest for at least 1 hour, preferably 4 hours.
  • To prepare the filling: Toss together in a medium sized bowl, the apple slices and lemon juice. Add the walnuts, raisins, sugar, and cinnamon and toss until evenly coated.
  • To assemble: Spread a table with a clean cloth and sprinkle evenly with flour. Place the dough in the center of the table, flatten with your palms into a 1-inch thick round, and then begin stretching the dough from the center to the edge. Use a combination of the sides of your hands and the tops of your knuckles to work the dough gently and evenly. Continue stretching the dough until you can see light through it. If there are occasional holes at the center, just pinch together to seal. Don't worry about holes or tears near the edge of the dough.
  • Brush the entire strudel dough evenly with butter. Sprinkle half the crumbs on one half of the dough, and on the same side arrange the apple filling in a long row close to the edge of the dough. Sprinkle with the remaining crumbs. Fold over the edge and roll the strudel into a log shape, using the cloth to help support and roll the pastry. Tuck in the sides and roll up completely, arranging the strudel seam side down.
  • Transfer carefully to a buttered or parchment-lined baking sheet, curve the log into a crescent shape, if needed, to fit the roll onto the pan. Brush with butter and chill for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the strudel until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting and serving.

Notes

Tools Necessary-
Mixer with paddle or pastry marble
Medium bowl
Whisk
Measuring cups and spoons
Spatula
Plastic Wrap
Table Cloth
Adult Supervision