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.

Longer Lasting Strawberries

Who loves Strawberries?

I do!

The biggest concern I have when I buy lots of them is using them before they spoil. They spoil fast.

Here are a few tips for making them last longer:

Farmer’s markets are the best. Especially during the strawberry season which is from Spring and Summer.

When bringing these beauties home from the store or market, get a bowl and add 1 part of vinegar to 3 parts of water. Remove any dirt or mud and mold spores from the strawberry and drop them in the solution. A few minutes won’t even change the taste. Also, unlike other fruits, strawberries do not continue to mature after they have been picked.

 

Swirl them in the vinegar wash to wash them. After a quick soak, let them dry before putting them away.

 

Another idea is to line a salad spinner with paper towels and give them a spin.

 

Store strawberries that are dry on a paper toweled lined container that prevents trapping moisture.

 

These steps will slow the aging process and reduce fast spoilage.

Lastly, if you are freezing strawberries, hull them. Next slice them into the shape you want then place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and pop them into the freezer. After they are frozen (1-4 hours) place them in freezer bags or freezer-safe storage containers.

Enjoy your wonderful strawberries!

Please comment about your favorite way of using strawberries are. Share with the Chefsville community.