The Top Tips for Going Dairy-Free When Baking

Wednesday 10 June 2020


The Top Tips for Going Dairy-Free When Baking

Are you trying to cut dairy out of your diet? If so, you are certainly not alone. There are plenty of reasons why you may want to reduce your intake of milk, butter, and other dairy products. It could be due to lactose intolerance, acne, or a vegan lifestyle. 

The tricky thing, though, is that many recipes – particularly ones involving baking – often require the addition of dairy. Does this mean that you have to give these dishes and desserts a miss? Absolutely not! There are plenty of ways to substitute for these ingredients.
Below, you will find all the information you need to manage this perfectly. Let’s get started! 

Switching Out Cow’s Milk

These days, it is easier than ever before to swap out cow’s milk for plant-based milk. This is because there are so many options to choose from. These include – but aren't limited to – soy, oat, almond, coconut, and more. 

When it comes to baking, though, you do need to be a bit more careful. Not all plant-based milks will work equally as well. Your best option is soy milk as it has a similar protein content, allowing it to provide structure to foods like cakes and breads. As an added bonus, the taste is mild enough to blend in with other ingredients and not be noticeable. 

If you are trying to cut soy out as well, then almond milk will work. It should be noted that almond doesn’t as much protein as cow’s milk. Due to this, it will be difficult to get baked goods to brown properly. Furthermore, it has a higher water content so you may need to cut down on the baking time.
Most plant-based milks don’t have the same level of acidity as cow’s milk. So, if the recipe calls for baking soda, make sure to use baking powder instead. Unlike baking soda, baking powder doesn’t need to be activated by an acidic component in the recipe. 

Alternatives for Butter

Butter is used in numerous baked goods like cookies, biscuits, cakes, and more. Due to this, it can seem irreplaceable. After all, this ingredient has a rather distinct taste and structure to it. Regardless, you should still be able to swap out the butter out without too many issues.
Some recipes require the butter to be in solid form – this is true of pie crusts and biscuits. So, coconut oil will be an excellent substitute here. This is because most coconut oils are solid at room temperature. To get an idea of what the best coconut oil for these recipes would be, check out for more information. 

Cookies can be especially tricky as the recipe requires a fair amount of butter. Also, in these foods, the butter’s main purpose is to add richness and density. The good news is that most oils will work well – canola and olive oil, in particular. Vegetable shortening will also offer up that fat content that you may need for the recipe to work. 

Vegan butters are also becoming more commonplace. And, there are several that are specifically meant to be used in baking. Some even have a rich, buttery flavor. What's great about these butters, though, is that they are quite easy to use. You simply have to add them in the same way that you would real butter. 

Can You Use Margarine Instead of Butter?

Now, on the surface, there may appear to be several similarities between margarine and butter. After all, they look the same! Despite this outward appearance, though, these two ingredients are quite different from one another. Thus, when they are added to recipes, they have differing roles.

There is also the fact that margarine has a lower fat content and higher water content. As a result, they end up thinning out your batter. Therefore, if you were to use margarine in cookies, for instance, you may discover that they spread out quite a bit. The cookies may also be prone to burning. 

Substituting for Heavy Cream

Heavy cream can often seem like the most difficult option to swap out in baking. This is largely to do with the texture of the ingredient. It isn't easy to find alternatives that offer the same kind of structure as heavy cream. 

The exact alternative will depend on the role that you need the heavy cream to perform. For instance, if you are simply looking for a soft, thick texture and a mild taste, then silken tofu will work beautifully. What's more, tofu is healthy and boosts the protein content of any dish. 

It should be noted that tofu doesn’t whip all that well, however. So, if a heavy cream substitute needs to be aerated, then you will need to opt for something else. This is where coconut cream comes in.
If you leave a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for a day or so, you will notice that it separates into two distinct layers. One will be liquid and nearly colorless. The other will be solid and white. The solid layer is coconut cream. 

One of the main advantages of coconut cream is that it can be whipped. So, if the recipe needs some lift, then it will work beautifully. The catch, though, is that coconut cream can have a rather distinct coconut taste. Thus, you will need to determine if it will work well with a particular recipe. 

As you can see, it isn't difficult to go dairy-free when baking. Sure, you need to be aware of what substitutions will and won’t work. However, thanks to this post, you are now aware of how to manage every alternative. 

Now that you have this information, continuing with the baking process will be easy enough. Therefore, you won’t have any problem whipping up delicious and healthy treats while following your favorite recipes. The possibilities are endless!

1 comment

  1. Thank you. My daughter just went dairy free and these tips will be helpful in trying out various recipes.


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