Veganism has been embraced by many over the world and it is definitely a growing trend. It is a very unique dietary practice and if you ask me, I am not a vegan myself, but I am fascinated by the idea as always. As a baking enthusiast, this challenges me to create new things and experiment on substitutes.
So this quest was to re-create the vegan version of the sourdough doughnuts. If you really think about it, scientifically, if you can substitute the animal products with a plant counterpart, then you have solved the puzzle right there. But it might not be this simple. Well one, you can’t really find the match from the plant world. And second, they taste differently. So this has to be a harmonic balance between a few ingredients, rather than just one.
Lets see what we need to replace, in a basic sweet dough, to make it plant-based.
This can easily be replaced by oil. My favorite in this case is the coconut oil. Use a good quality coconut oil, that doesn’t have a strong smell or flavor. (well if you are a coconut fan, by all means, use the strong flavorful version). Other substitutes will be canola oil, rapeseed oil, vegetable oil. I wouldn’t recommend using olive oil, peanut oil or sesame oil as they are have go a very strong flavor which might be not pleasant if used in these quantities.
Well you can omit eggs altogether! But it is going to take that extra richness away and we don’t want that, right! So my substitute for eggs in this recipe is tofu. I am using silken tofu. It can be either soft or firm, doesn’t really matter. This adds protein to the dough, same as egg white.
Yes you can skip this one too if you like. But again the dough won’t be as soft. So why not substitute this with a plant milk. Well we have so many options there don’t we? But guess what? I am going with thick coconut milk. It is richer and silkier than most plant milk. Choose a brand that don’t use thickeners. Coconut milk has got a high fat content too, not to mention the all the other good stuff that comes with it!
So there we have it! Now it is only a matter of mixing these in the right proportions. The recipe below does just that!
If you want to know about sourdough starter, read my post about making, feeding and maintaining a starter. This recipe can be executed on the same day or the dough can be retarded overnight(several hours) for convenience.
If you are retarding the dough, cut down on the initial bulk fermentation. may be take an hour away. This really depends on the room temperature and the final dough temperature.
The shaping is really up to you. If you have a doughnut cutter, use that, or simply make bomboloni. Or cut the dough into squares! Just make sure they are not too big (shouldn’t be bigger than the size of your palm) the smaller they are, the faster and better they will cook. It is easier to handle smaller dough pieces, once proofed.
If it the dough is warmer, it will continue to ferment rapidly in the fridge until, its completely chilled to the core.
Once they are proofed, deep fry them until nice and golden all around. Make sure to test oil temperature. I use a small dough ball for this. If it browns too quickly, its too hot. Ideally it should take about 30 seconds to start browning and there shouldn’t be a lot of smoke. If you have a candy thermometer, make sure oil is at 190C/375F.
Once fried, let them drain for a couple of minutes before coating them with cinnamon sugar. Wait until they are cooled to fill them, else the filling would melt and ooze off.
You can fill these with either jam, nutella or my vegan custard. It is an easy custard to make, but make sure you make it ahead of time and chill for at least a few hours or overnight.
You can also serve bomboloni as is, or drizzled with chocolate or a dipping of your choice. But seriously, these are so tasty on their own too.