Stuck at home with too much time or too many kids? Bake chocolate chip cookies, a cake, biscuits, bread or anything to take your mind off the pandemic for a few hours. You can also bake healthy, quick-breakfast baked goods — such as chia seed muffins high in protein — if time is short for you right now. Whether you have standard ingredients, alternative ingredients, or use substitutions in a pinch, there are many ways to enjoy baking these days.
Some people have stockpiled flour or managed to purchase their kitchen staples and baking ingredients before the grocery store shelves were emptied of those items. Others bought alternative products like non-dairy milks because their usual fare was gone by the time they went shopping. Many people didn’t have the opportunity to stock up until recently. Standard flour, eggs, cow’s milk, butter and other common baking ingredients may be impossible to find. But there are common, delicious substitutes you may have on hand already.
The internet is loaded with all kinds of coronavirus-era recipes for those lacking ingredients. Common substitutions are listed below:
• No eggs? Try using applesauce, canned pumpkin or sweet potato, bananas, or chia seeds (or egg replacement powder).
• Out of cow’s milk? Coffee creamer might make the recipe taste even better. Or use vegan milks such as oat, hemp, soy or almond milk. You can also make your own nut milks using instructions found online. Individual yogurts (flavored or plain) are a treat to add in place of cow’s milk.
• No wheat flour? Try using nut flours like almond meal. Brown rice flour is a nice gluten-free flour to use if in doubt. Gluten-free baking mixes may still be available. Other options include potato starch, tapioca starch, chickpea flour and oat flour.
• Butter can be replaced with oil or shortening sometimes. If you use vegan butters, be warned that they behave differently in some baking recipes, but generally work well.
Vegans and those with dietary restrictions and health problems depend more on alternative dairy and flour products, so if you do have the option at stores, choose the ingredients you can safely consume while leaving the alternatives for those who need them. If you want or need to try something alternative or vegan, however, don’t be afraid! Speaking from experience, gluten-free vegan baked goods taste amazing. Now is the perfect time to go online and discover a vegan recipe blogger and help alleviate animal suffering one cookie at a time. Keep in mind our local farmers, who are seeking customers for the eggs and products they once sold to restaurants. You may be able to support a farming family by purchasing directly from them.
Baking is one of many fun activities to do while stuck at home. But once the baking is over and everything has been eaten, what then? The flour will always run out, even the alternative flours, and maybe we can find more flour to buy or not. It doesn’t really matter. Whether we’re baking or doing some other activity, if we’re glad to be alive and making someone else glad to be alive with us, that’s what really matters.
Amanda Bancroft is a writer, artist, and naturalist living in an off-grid tiny house on Kessler Mountain. She and her husband Ryan blog about their adventures and offer tips to those wanting to make a difference at www.RipplesBlog.org.
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