The Creaming Method
Hi, welcome to the second post in my series on vegan baking tips/tricks/hacks.
My new cookbook, Vegan Baking Made Easy, 60 Fool-Proof, Plant-Based Recipes is going to be published August 10, 2021, and you can order pre-sales now (it’ll be delivered to you as soon as it’s published).
I’m doing a series of posts leading up to the publication of the book where I share some of the knowledge I learned while researching and writing the book.
Truthfully, most of the methods in the book are things I’ve been doing for years, since I learned to bake as a kid.
One of my main inspirations for the book came from my mom’s old recipe box, and one of the funny things about those recipes was a. some of them were vegan (who knew?) and b. none of them had methods or instructions. Her recipes contained ingredients and measurements, and usually what temp to bake at and for how long, but that was about it. There was an assumption you knew how to put the recipe together.
But in today’s world, many people don’t, and on top of that, the name of the book is Vegan Baking Made Easy, soooooo… yeah. Let’s make this easy, yo. You can see my first post (on vegan baking subs for milk, butter & eggs) here.
What is the creaming method? Most recipes for cookies or cakes often start with the creaming method. What you do is put your room temp butter (or in this case, vegan butter) in the bowl of your mixer and beat it up a little, till it’s nice and soft and pliable. Then you begin to add the sugar to the butter, and you mix them together for quite a long time. This is called the creaming method.
After that, you’d add your wet ingredients (eggs if you aren’t doing vegan baking, other things if you are–more videos later), and finally your dry ingredients (flour, leaveners, etc).
Beating together the butter and the sugar for a long while (I would usually do a minimum of 2 minutes, and often more like 3-5), does something magical to the mixture.
How does the creaming method work? The sugar crystals make little microscopic holes in the butter, and then when you bake the cookie, those holes get filled up with gas and help the cake or cookies to rise.
Another thing to bear in mind when baking is different types of sugars and how they affect your batter.
In general, brown sugar will yield a softer result, and white, or granulated sugar, with yield a more crispy, caramelized result. Brown sugar will result in a more caramel flavour.
So, for example, the brownie recipe in Vegan Baking Made Easy has no white sugar whatsoever, because I was going for a fudgy brownie over a cakey one.
So, lesson number 1 is: beat your (vegan) butter and sugar together for a long time before adding the wet ingredients and then the dry. Unless you’re doing the reverse creaming method… more about that later!