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When making veggie food some of us with food quirks often struggle. In the three and a half ( almost four. Yay!) years, I’ve been veggie I’ve learned some tips and tricks that have helped me deal with my food aversion and make being veggie just as creative and fun as being a meat eater. In this post, I’m going to talk about baking ware that helps you to shape food and often get the right texture at the same time. Don ‘t forget to check below for some suggested buys.
Let’s start a minimalist/ on the budget list. I will be speaking from the perspective of a 2-3 person family for the most part.
- Baking Pans- Have at least (1) 8 x 8 and (1) 9 x 13 x 2
- Muffin Pan
- Baking Sheet
- Round Cake Pan
- Loaf Pan
Then buy these later:
- Pie Plate
- Spring Form Pan
- Mini Tube Pan with a removable bottom
**Bonus** Non-pan need >>> Cookie cutters
Most of these pans can be bought for dirt cheap. They won’t be the greatest quality, but they can start you up as you save. But what is the purpose of all of these pans? Each one helps form various shapes with foods. Whether you are using the pan to help cast a mold, bake, or set, these can be very helpful. I will now walk you through some of the potential uses for these pans for veggie people. Many will be quite typical but consider this a 101 crash course. This is very veggie-centric. This post will not discuss in any detail the general uses of baking ware, just that that pertains to helping people who struggle with texture and aesthetic issues. Read this great little write up that discusses types of bake-ware.
- Baking pans- Generally make cakes, brownies, bars, corn breads, lasagna, casseroles, cobblers, roasting foods, forming and making large quantities of some meat substitute. Example: Creating a beef substitute for stew or “meat” and potatoes. Wheat gluten is a great tool for those without sensitivity or intolerance and can be used in addition to other food items to create lovely meals. Most items made in this type of pan will last us from 2 days to a week.The major problem comes when trying to shape it, so for some dishes like the one above, you can press it into the pan and bake, or wrap with foil steam and bake, depending on texture desired. Use cookie cutters for shaping the food into manageable portions or just for aesthetics. The scraps can be saved for “meat” pies, pockets, stew, etc. ( Keep on the look out for some of my meat substitute recipes made with wheat gluten.)
- Muffin pan – These are very versatile depending on the type you buy. The nonstick muffin tin is very useful, but unless you are good at getting things out of them, try the silicone muffin cups. They are reusable and you can peel them off of meat substitutes, softer savory bean cakes ( so much trial and error), nut cheeses, and personal serving for lunch. I definitely have been known to keep my family in a supply of breakfast style muffins.
- Baking sheet – Use these for dehydrating crackers and the like. I have no real uses for baking sheets outside of baking desserts and non-loaf bread so far.Using a cookie press, though, you can make batters and doughs in a similar texture to cookie dough and make various to go snacks and topping for pizza and sandwiches. I’m imaging a raw vegetable puree divided with spices and enough flour of choice or other thickening agent added, to make it thick enough to go through the press, without distorting the flavor or being too runny and using it to add creative topping on my vegan pizza. **Note: When feeding picky eaters, you have to get creative to ensure they eat a rainbow. Hide foods they don’t like. Often a puree that is added to something and spiced will do the trick.**
- Round cake pan- Similar uses to a regular bake pan. Really, so far, I’ve just seen a use in the different shape. This is the preferred pan use for corn bread, rolls, and spiral dishes.
- Loaf pans- I also use loaf pans similar to regular bake pans. The specific uses that are different are for making bread, especially breakfast bread as the consistency is too wet to work properly in the bread maker. I used them a lot before my mother in law gifted me a bread maker. We found that it was more economical to buy the supplies to make bread in bulk. I also use it for smaller portions of anything I would make in a baking pan, and make my “meat”balls for subs.When it’s just the family, the loaf pan is the perfect size for creating enough meatballs for 2 days. I’ve also discovered that my lunch meat recipe works better when baked this way. I really do love seitan and vegetable puree.
- Pie plate – Of course make your pies in this, but potpies, frittata, and many other dinner/lunch styled yums can be baked easily in this. I now have a special dish I bake my pot pie in, but for years, pie plates were a staple for this favorite.
- Spring-form pan- This pan is simply to aid in cooking foods that will likely stick. The pan has a latch on the side to aid with it. I added this to the buy later section, mostly because it is not a basic item and because it really is a specialty item. I bought this specifically to make raw vegan desserts and found other uses, but for the most part, this is not a necessity.
- The same goes for the Mini-Tub Pan with a removable bottom. I use it more often than I do for the spring-form pan, but I use it mostly for desserts and when trying samples of new recipes. This is great for making appetizers for parties, however. You can also use it as a makeshift donuts and bagel pan, but it will be a pain as you can only make 1 at a time. The pans do however stack rather easily so if you see their usefulness, buy 2 or more.
Now on to the less basic items.
These are items that you may or may not use often enough to really buy. Also, I’ve not really seen these as readily accessible. ( By readily accessible I mean that when I went veggie, I didn’t have a car and none of the stores near campus carried them and honestly I was not willing to pay to ship.) Some of these I do have, and some of these are on our debate list. As we are trying to live more minimal lives we have lists of items that are debated on if the purchase is worth it. We don’t believe buying something just because we want it now, only to not use it in the near future, is helpful to our goals at all and it creates unnecessary clutter. Hence the debate list.
- Doughnut Pan – This is definitely not on our debate list. It’s on my wish-list. You can make cake donuts (which are our fave) and bagels that are better formed. You can also make multiple individual serving of meat substitutes or side dishes. ( In case you didn’t realize, from the nature of this post, I’m obsessed with cute foods. Aesthetics are everything to me.)
- French Bread Pan- Obviously if you eat a lot of baguettes and french bread this will help your cost, but if you like deli meat and want to go veggie this could be a good investment. I myself suck at rolling seitan (A meat substitute made from wheat gluten) in foil. It comes out misshapen every time, but this pan could definitely improve things.
- Tart pans – These are helpful because of the removable bottom. It’s a pretty shape that won’t be disturbed as you remove. Veggie pâté, thin servings of meat substitutes, and baked polenta are easy items you can make with this.
- Omelette Pan- My husband came to our relationship with an old omelet pan from the 90s. It’s not the greatest but it’s effective. I have a vegan omelet recipe that utilizes garbanzo flour and is cooked like a pancake ( because it kinda is) but it’s difficult to get the right shape and cook it through when you flip it and add the veggies and such, so we use the omelet pan. Ours is an open face so we can just cook two at once, but any type will do.
Note: Notice I have specifically focused on baking. Many people steam and boil wheat gluten and other types of substitutes to cook it through. I, however, find the texture off-putting. I have found that by using different types of pans, I can test my mixtures and find the best way to cook it through without the off-putting texture.
Have you found a specific bake-ware that has helped you on your journey? Keep a look out for other posts about cooking utensils.