Dairy Free Baking Tips
A lot of us gluten free bakers are faced with the challenge of also baking dairy free. Lactose is the biggest culprit (did you know that 60% of the adult population is lactose intolerant? Did you know that number is much higher for the celiacs amongst us?!)
Want to know more about dairy and why it might be bothering you? Read my post all about it! If you’re looking to bake dairy and lactose-free, read on ….
Making the switch from butter
If you’re used to baking with butter and really crave that buttery flavor in your baked goods, there is really only one dairy-free solution: Earth Balance® Buttery Sticks (not the spread, as the oils used in the spread tend not to provide enough body to recipes).
One variety of this product is soy-free, but all are vegan, and work seamlessly as a substitute for butter in recipes calling for butter. I try to avoid unhealthy fats, hydrogenated oils, unnatural preservatives, emulsifiers or trans-fat, and this product works for me in everything.
If your family needs to avoid soy and dairy, another option is sustainably harvested palm oil shortening. Products like Spectrum® Palm Oil Shortening are a great substitute, although they lack the butter flavor. Coconut oil is another baking alternative to shortening, or even butter.
Coconut oil brands like Nutiva® and Kelapo® Coconut Oil (coconut oil is a solid at room temperature) are brands to look for; however it works better in some applications than in others. For example, it tends to make pastry and pie crust doughs more fragile; muffins and other recipes where the fats are creamed with the sugar work better.
When substituting shortenings for butter in recipes though, remember that shortening does not contain any moisture, while butter and vegan Buttery Sticks contain 80% moisture, so be aware of the potential need to add more liquid when making this substitution.
Another option is Earth Balance® Coconut Spread. It acts a lot like shortening, but has a really nice flavor that is lacking in most shortenings. It’s also soy and dairy-free, as well as free from trans-fats or hydrogenated oils.
Recipes calling for milk, yogurt, sour cream or even whipped cream are easily made using one of the dairy-free alternatives available in most markets today.
Soy, almond, cashew, coconut, flax, hemp, potato and other dairy-free products are now sources for milk, kefir, yogurt, sour cream, cream cheese, sliced cheese, shredded cheese, whipped toppings, and more. Look to brands like Go Veggie®, Daiya™, So Delicious®, Follow Your Heart®, Teese™, Tofutti®, Kite Hill® and others for every conceivable dairy-free ingredient need.
There are some truly amazing vegan and lactose free cheeses available now, too. From ricotta to cream cheese to yogurt to artisanal cheeses, mac & cheese and ice cream … you can find just about anything you need now, dairy-free!
Dairy-based, but lactose-free options are also springing up with more frequency. If the products suit your needs, brands like Green Valley Organics® offer organic, humane, hormone-free and lactose-free dairy-based products. Even Yoplait® has now introduced a lactose-free yogurt!
Homemade Dairy-Free Sour Cream or Yogurt for recipes:
Use one can full-fat coconut milk (shake it well before measuring), add 1 tablespoon vinegar (not malt vinegar) or lemon juice to each cup of milk used.
Homemade Dairy-Free Whipped Cream:
Add 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar to the cream on the top of one unshaken can of full fat coconut milk. Beat on high for 3-5 minutes with a chilled whisk attachment until fluffy.
More ingredients, products and recipe substitutions for dairy (and nearly every other conceivable food allergen) can be found in my newest book, Free for All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy.
Don’t ever let dairy stand in your way of having healthy, safe gluten free recipes!
PS – if you’d like to find some cute dairy free, or other food allergy alert items like these, check out Allermates®!