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A vegan diet prevents the inclusion of any animal product. Animal products such as milk and butter are essential to baking, making vegan biscuits difficult to find. Although milk and butter are often used in biscuits, they can actually be switched with other ingredients, such as soy milk and vegetable shortening, to make vegan biscuits comparable to regular biscuits. This is because it is not the milk and butter that are really needed for the biscuit, but the fat contained in them.
Biscuits are rounded bread cakes that are layered and leavened with baking powder or baking soda. As with most baking treats, animal products commonly are used to make biscuits. Milk and butter help give biscuits their lift. Air pockets are typically formed in the biscuit by pulsing the butter, which adds to the biscuit’s texture. The reason for these two ingredients is because of the fat in them.
Vegan biscuits replace an equal portion of animal milk with either soy milk or almond milk. The fat contained within one cup (237 ml) of soy milk is 4.3 grams, which is comparable to the 4.8 grams of fat in 2% reduced fat cow's milk. Almond milk has about 3 grams of fat, which is close to the 2.4 grams of fat contained in 1% cow's milk. Almond milk contains less fat than soy milk, so it will create less of a lift, and it will reduce the number of calories in the biscuits. Some recipes call for vinegar to be added into the vegan milk, but this is not required.
Another animal-based ingredient used in biscuits is butter, which can be easily switched out for another vegan product: plant-based margarine or vegetable shortening. Some margarine products have trace amounts of lactose or other proteins from milk, so a vegan should check the ingredients before choosing the margarine. Both margarine and vegetable shortening have about the amount of fat as butter does, so an equal amount is substituted. The only problem is that, to solidify the vegetable fats, the fat is hydrogenated, which can lead to trans-fat production, so one should try to choose products without trans-fat.
The other ingredients used in biscuits, such as baking soda and flour, do not violate the vegan lifestyle. This means that aside from the substitutions for milk and butter, the rest of the vegan biscuit recipe remains the same as for regular biscuits. The vegan biscuits should turn out just as fluffy and light as regular biscuits if they are cooked properly.
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