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Substitutions and Other Cooking Tips

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After discovering I was out of eggs yesterday, just as I was about to make cornbread for lunch, I went online to find a substitute. It worked well, so I thought I'd pass it along.

 

For one egg, mix 2 Tbs ground flax seed with 3 Tbs water and set aside until it gels. Add 1/8 tsp baking soda to the recipe to help the bread rise, and make sure there is a little fat in the batter as well (I used half-and-half in lieu of my regular fat free milk).

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For one egg, mix 2 Tbs ground flax seed

 

This is the kind of thing that makes forums like this fascinating.  Someone is out of something as mundane as eggs but she has flax seed!   I've never had flax seed in my life and wouldn't recognize it or know what to do with it if I was given some.  I'm impressed.

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FYI Flax eggs actually don't work super well in everything, but they do work well in a lot of things. For instance, you really need a well-tested recipe for cookies. They do work well in quick breads (like banana bread), but the more eggs something has, the less successful a flax egg will be in it, so it's not like you can sub them out in pound-cake.

For a lot of vegan baking there's a method for plant milks that involves curdling the plant (or nut) milk with vinegar that works pretty well. Flax eggs can have kind of gelatinous thing going on and do give a different sheen to the end result, but they don't alter the taste of most things. They're pretty successful in spice cakes, etc.

They are a good binding agent though. I've done okay with vegan baking, although occasionally I've had some serious disasters unrelated to using flax eggs. Flax eggs are really good for helping to bind veggie burgers together though.

Edited by stillshimpy
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I do the same thing, but I use ground chia seeds in place of the flax. It does work really well most of the time, but can occasionally make a recipe turn out a bit funky. I also quite like to use this substitution when I'm baking cookies: mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) with 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and 3 tablespoons of water. I love adding cornstarch to my cookie recipes, it gives them a great texture.

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The flax seed substitution worked well for me when I baked for horses.  Occasionally I'd be making a birthday cake - carrot, of course - and since horses don't normally eat eggs (at least that I know of), I tried the flax seed/water thing. I could see having to be careful with how you apply it, and with a delicate type of cookie, it's probably not the answer.  

 

Everyone probably knows the buttermilk substitution:  add 1T of vinegar to 1C milk and let stand for 30 minutes. You can scale up or down, and I think you can also use lemon, but I was always nervous about getting a lemony taste where I might not want it.

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I did the flax seed/egg substitution with my kids first birthday cakes since I introduced foods very, very slowly. I don't remember exactly what I did but I do recall it was egg free, dairy free & gluten free. I think it was oat based. It was a strange looking little cake but it was mainly smashed & smeared on a high chair.

I've done the vinegar/milk for buttermilk substitution many times. It works well. I've also subbed vanilla for bourbon in a glaze for veggies since I don't keep liquor on hand usually. It worked well IMO.

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Everyone probably knows the buttermilk substitution:  add 1T of vinegar to 1C milk and let stand for 30 minutes. You can scale up or down, and I think you can also use lemon, but I was always nervous about getting a lemony taste where I might not want it.

 

I learned that one on a recipe blog just this year. When I mentioned it to my mother she said, "Oh yeah, I do that all the time."  Whaat?? And you never told me? It's a good little tip for recipes with buttermilk, which is not something I would ordinarily have in the house.

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We use banana as an egg substitute, although it does add flavor. But it makes my favorite cookie recipe even better! Also I've used applesauce in the absence of both egg and banana.

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This is the kind of thing that makes forums like this fascinating.  Someone is out of something as mundane as eggs but she has flax seed!   I've never had flax seed in my life and wouldn't recognize it or know what to do with it if I was given some.  I'm impressed.

I have flax seed.  Also have chia seed.  I have all kinds of weird stuff in my cabinets - guar gum, xanthan gum, nut flours, raw seeds to make seed flours,  I keep chickpea flour to make edamame falafel, tahini for everything from babaganoush to halvah shortbread cookies. 

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Substitution for oil in baking a cake or loaf or muffins --> For every one cup of oil, substitute the equal amount of unsweetened apple cause plus 1 TBSP of oil.

 

I'm right now baking a carrot cake for the hubby and not making substitutions like I usually do, but my god this recipe. TWO cups of sugar. Over ONE cup of oil. FOUR eggs. Then the cream cheese icing from scratch - HALF cup butter, block cream cheese and TWO cups icing sugar.

 

I am sure once done this will taste fabulous, but still. This is like a coronary in a pan, which is why I try to substitute out the oil. I also tend to cut back on the sugar too, because I don't want things that sweet.

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I've long heard about that applesauce substitution, but my stumbling block is - I hate applesauce (my mother ate it like it was going out of style while gestating; I think I got sick of it in utero).  Can you taste that it's there?  I don't know how you wouldn't, but I doubt people are randomly adding apple flavor to things that don't call for it, so maybe you can't.

 

I hardly ever bake, so I don't worry about the fat and sugar when I do, since it's a treat.  But I am curious on the applesauce thing.

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I have flax seed.  Also have chia seed.  I have all kinds of weird stuff in my cabinets - guar gum, xanthan gum, nut flours, raw seeds to make seed flours,  I keep chickpea flour to make edamame falafel, tahini for everything from babaganoush to halvah shortbread cookies. 

 

Chia and flax not only make good egg substitutes, but for guar and xanthan gum too.  As for applesauce as a butter/oil supplement, I don't have any in my pantry now, but I have apple butter.  Will that work? 

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No, apple butter will not work, it's a different moisture content :-)  

 

You can't taste the applesauce, Bastet, but for a lot of recipes Avocado can be subbed in for butter, which doesn't really alter the fat content as much as make it a healthy fat and that definitely has an impact on the overall look of the end result.  I've made Avocado pound cake (subbed half the butter with avocado) and it was insanely good, but it was indeed green.  Not like "Kermit has perished" green, but more like a pale "hey is this cake supposed to be green? You're sure?  I'm not going to die from some exotic mold poisoning am I?" hint of green.  

Edited by stillshimpy
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I personally can't taste the apple sauce, but maybe for more sensitive palates? For once recipe, I just used Motts Apple and Pomegrate apple sauce - the ones that come in those little single serve containers. It was for banana bread and there was a bit of a pomegranate flavour, which was nice. Worked just as nicely and keeps it moist.

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Chia and flax not only make good egg substitutes, but for guar and xanthan gum too.  As for applesauce as a butter/oil supplement, I don't have any in my pantry now, but I have apple butter.  Will that work? 

I no longer do fat-free cooking/baking.  But way back when, I often used prune paste for a fat substitute in chocolate baking.  Applesauce in other things. 

Apple butter might work - all you can do is try it out.

 

I also have guar and xanthan gum in my pantry, and agar agar as well. 

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Cooking Hacks I Have Tested:

 

1. Chewing gum while cutting onions to stop tearing. 

Findings:  Did not work for me.

 

2. Using an empty water bottle to separate eggs

Findings:  Worked!

 

You could youtube this to find a visual, but basically crack an egg in a bowl, squeeze empty water bottle, position it over yolk and release.  Yolk will be sucked up into water bottle.

 

My daughter had read about this hack and suggested we try it when a recipe called for egg whites only.  Good kid.

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I made banana bread about two weeks ago and used ZERO BUTTER/oil.  Instead, I used Greek-style yogurt, added a bit more banana than the original recipe and a little bit of apple butter.  It worked (this is the actual recipe I created the bread with.  The original-original was from a book)! :)

Edited by PRgal

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I know I'm late getting this question in, but I just learned about this late last night and need some advice:

 

I'm cooking a turkey today for the very first time.  The plan, based on a lot of different tips (some even from posters in this forum), was to put it in a bag and roast it upside down.  Then, depending on how much I cared about how it looked, I could leave it that way until it was finished, or turn it right side up about an hour before it was finished.  However, last night, I was telling a friend and she said that since my stove is old and heats from the bottom, that method won't work well.

 

Can I have a second opinion on this?  If it won't come out right because of my stove, then can I cook it right side up in the bag and still not have to worry about remembering to baste it (which was the reason I chose to do it upside down in the first place)?

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I'm cooking a turkey today for the very first time.

 

Belated, but how did the turkey turn out and what method did you go with?

 

And I just found this which I thought was pretty handy-dandy for various kitchen short cuts and answers to common questions.

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Belated, but how did the turkey turn out and what method did you go with?

 

And I just found this which I thought was pretty handy-dandy for various kitchen short cuts and answers to common questions.

 

Thanks for the link - it went right to my bookmarks. 

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Thanks for that.  Most of those were great, but beware the meat roasting times/internal temperatures chart (from the UK) would yield some overcooked meat!  (Which is the same thing that would happen if I followed the guidelines on my '50s stove, so I wonder if that chart is old.)

 

I love the chart on how to get your chocolate chip cookies exactly as you want them; I'm a "chill the dough" person myself.

Edited by Bastet

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