There is no doubt that vegan baked goods are shifting from niche to mainstream, with more consumers wanting to try plant-based options for several reasons.
The rise in demand from vegan and dairy-free consumers in recent years has seen a massive shift in how baked goods are created. Now more than ever, sweet and savory pastries have been veganized with plant-based alternatives taking over the market.
Many traditional baked recipes are becoming easier to recreate. For example, puff pastry is famous for being buttery, flakey, and flaky. However, what happens to the recipe when you remove the butter?
What Is Puff Pastry?
Puff pastry is a delicious, flaky dough that can be used in sweet and savory dishes. You might be most familiar with puff pastry from a trip to your favorite bakery. To make a traditional puff pastry, bakers must blend flour, butter, and salt, and although the dough ‘puffs up’ and rises, traditional recipes do not include a raising agent.
Puff pastry forms layers through a technique where the baker must fold the dough repeatedly while adding butter and rolling the dough over again until the desired consistency is achieved.
Butter plays an integral part in the ‘puff’ because it creates a space for steam to form layers of flakey dough in the oven. The result is a light, delicate pastry used in recipes around the world. So, is it possible to achieve the same result without butter?
The good news is, yes, it is possible. Bakers can use a plant-based alternative to cow’s milk (butter) such as vegetable oil, margarine, or vegan dairy-free butter to make vegan and dairy-free puff pastry.
Varieties Of Puff Pastry
Home-Made Puff Pastry or Pre-Made Frozen Puff Pastry are the two varieties available to bakers.
Making puff pastry at home can be difficult. If you are making a vegan puff pastry recipe at home, it is just as good to try one of the many frozen puff pastry varieties from the supermarket. Frozen puff pastry sheets are sold frozen, to prepare the sheets for baking, defrost the sheets in the fridge the night before. The pastry will then be soft enough to work with (ideally still cold to the touch) and ready to bake!
While it is fair to say that homemade is best, there are several delicious store-bought options that will save you time in the kitchen. Furthermore, puff pastry is complicated enough with butter, but when we remove butter from the dough it can take time to figure out the best alternative.
The good news is that vegan store-bought puff pastry is readily available, affordable, and tastes amazing!
Vegan Puff Pastry - What You Need To Know
➔ Store-bought frozen puff pastry is not always vegan because it may contain dairy.
➔ Look for ‘vegan’ puff pastry or accidentally vegan puff pastry (dairy-free).
➔ Dairy alternatives may contain vegetable oil, vegetable fat, or margarine.
➔ Vegan puff pastry is not necessarily gluten-free and typically contains wheat.
Avoiding animal-derived ingredients is one thing, but vegan alternatives can contain ingredients that you may still want to avoid whenever possible. For example, vegan puff pastry may contain palm oil, a controversial ingredient for several reasons. Read on to learn more about palm oil.
The Problem With Palm Oil
Palm oil is one of the least expensive vegetable oils in the world, with the majority of plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. The oil is one of the most commonly used vegetables oils though is originally native to Africa. Although palm oil is plant-based and not an animal-derived ingredient, the oil is highly debated due to its controversial environmental impact.
Palm oil is a major contributor to deforestation. The loss of forest has contributed to important biodiversity loss and placed several species under threat including the orangutan and the Sumatran rhino. As consumers, we can show our support for sustainable palm oil by shopping for products that use RSPO Certified Palm Oil.
Is Puff Pastry Healthy?
Traditional puff pastry is a high-calorie-dense food and composes around 8% of the daily recommended intake of 2000 calories. In addition, puff pastry is high in fat and carbohydrates. Like many baked goods, puff pastry is used for desserts, pies, tarts, and recipes that are recommended to eat in moderation. However, vegan puff pastry is the ideal option if you are health conscious.
If you are gluten-free, puff pastry uses flour or enriched wheat flour so it is not gluten-free. There are gluten-free puff pastry options available but be sure to check the ingredients on the gluten-free recipe as it may contain eggs. The best choice is to look for a vegan and gluten-free puff pastry.
Traditional puff pastry might not be vegan-friendly, but there are several vegan or accidentally-vegan puff pastry alternatives readily available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pepperidge Farm puff pastries are considered vegan because they contain no animal products.
Jus Rol Puff pastry should be all vegan, except the “All Butter” version. So you should stay away from that.
Pillsbury puff pastry is dairy-free and is considered vegan.