Photography provided by Bunner�??s: Simple & Delicious Gluten-Free Vegan Treats (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.) Credits: Photography provided by Bunner�??s: Simple & Delicious Gluten-Free Vegan Treats (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.)
Ashley Wittig, a lifelong baker, who went vegan in 2008 vowed to herself that she wouldn't settle for sad substitutes, and stationed herself in the kitchen testing every recipe until it was perfect. She and partner Kevin MacAllister, began selling their treats at farmer's markets on weekends, and eventually the Toronto bakery, Bunner's Bake Shop, was born in 2010.
The duo decided to share their gluten-free vegan baking tips for Canadian Living.
1. Do your research and test out recipes
"After going vegan, I avoided baking because I didn't really know where to start," says Wittig. "But once I had a few new cookbooks and searched out some tips on the Internet, I realized how simple and delicious it was!" So while you may be cutting out a handful of things you eat regularly (chicken, beef, cheese, milk, eggs) you'll be substituting them with a vast spectrum of new, amazingly healthy choices and your body will love you for it, she says. "I have never eaten more variety in my life, or been more creative with my cooking and baking. I love food now more than ever before, and I'm always so delighted to taste new flavours. The effects on your health, the environment, and your spirit, are remarkable and undeniable," says Wittig.
2. Focus on healthy, whole ingredients.
While baked goods can still be filled with sugars (even if they're natural or sans dairy) Wittig absolutely thinks that vegan and gluten-free baking can be healthy. "First of all, anything plant-based is 100 percent cholesterol free, and definitely more heart-healthy," she says. "Furthermore, vegans tend to be a bit more health focused, so ingredients are often organic, and sugars are unrefined which leave a bit more nutritional value in what you're eating."
3. Overcome baking challenges with substitutes.
"I'd say the biggest challenge for the vegan side of things was probably figuring out how to substitute eggs, because eggs do different things in baking," says Wittig. "Eggs are a binder and keep things moist, but applesauce is a terrific substitute (1 egg = 1/4 applesauce). However if you need eggs to leaven something, a little ‘buttermilk' (apple cider vinegar mixed with non-dairy milk like soy or coconut) plus baking soda will do the trick."
4. Find your favourite vegan substitues.
"My personal favourite substitutes for dairy are almond milk, coconut yogurt, and Earth Balance (a delicious plant based buttery spread)," says Wittig. "Instead of scrambled eggs I'll have scrambled tofu, but in baking I use applesauce. In terms of subbing out wheat, I love using Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour which has a very fluffy texture for things like cakes (and a lot of fiber and protein too)," she says.
5. The five essential ingredients you need for going gluten-free.
We asked Wittig what ingredients you should have in your kitchen if you're going gluten-free and she was happy to share:
-All Purpose GF flour
-Short-grained brown rice
Find the recipe for their gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookies here.
Pick up your copy of The Bunner's Bake Shop Cookbook (April 2014, HarperCollins Canada) for more than 100 recipes, written by owners Ashley Wittig and Kevin MacAllister of the Toronto-based bakery.