Did you know that 65% of the world experiences some form of lactose intolerance and that 1 - 2% of children have a milk allergy? I am part of that 65% and through the years I have tested different ingredients to achieve a delicious baked good that was not tough on my stomach. I'm going to share with you the very best alternatives for baking incredibly yummy treats that are both dairy-free and full of flavor.
- Plant-Based Milk Alternatives
One of the most common dairy ingredients in baking is milk. Luckily, there's an abundance of plant-based milk alternatives available today. Some popular options include:
- Almond Milk: Made from ground almonds, almond milk adds a delicate nuttiness to baked goods. Califia makes a delicious almond milk.
- Coconut Milk: With its rich and creamy texture, coconut milk is perfect for adding moisture to cakes and providing a tropical twist to your recipes. So Delicious Coconut Milk is creamy and light.
- Oat Milk: Known for its creamy consistency, oat milk lends a mild sweetness to baked treats. This is my preferred plant milk since it is free of the Top 9 Allergens. I tend to make my own oat milk, but if I need something quick I'll pick up a carton of Willa's Oat Milk.
- Soy Milk: Soy milk is a versatile option that works well in most recipes, offering a smooth texture and slightly nutty taste. It produces bakes closest to cow's milk due to its high protein levels. Silk make a great soy milk.
- Dairy-Free Butter Alternatives
Butter is a key ingredient in many baked goods, providing moisture, flavor, and texture. When it comes to dairy-free alternatives, vegan butter and coconut oil are excellent substitutes.
- Coconut Oil: Solid at room temperature, coconut oil is an excellent substitute for butter in cookies and pie crusts, adding a subtle coconut flavor. I use so much coconut oil that I purchase mine from Costco.
- Avocado: Mashed or pureed avocado can be used as a dairy-free butter replacement, bringing richness and healthy fats to your recipes. You'll want to use a 1:1 ratio.
- Vegan Butter: Many brands offer dairy-free margarines that can be used as a 1:1 substitute for butter in baking, providing a similar texture and flavor. My favorites are Miyoko's and Earth Balance.
- Dairy-Free Yogurt and Sour Cream Substitutes
Yogurt and sour cream are versatile ingredients that lend moisture and tanginess to baked goods. Here are some dairy-free alternatives to explore:
- Plant-Based Yogurts: There is an increasing variety of plant-based yogurts available, such as soy, almond, and oat-based options, all of which can be used in baking. I like Forager and Chobani Oat.
- Cashew Sour Cream: Made from soaked cashews, lemon juice, and vinegar, cashew sour cream adds a tangy zing to recipes calling for traditional sour cream. My fave is Forager.
- Vegan Egg Alternatives
Eggs play a vital role in baking, providing structure, moisture, and binding properties. Consider these options for replacing eggs in your dairy-free baking:
- Flaxseed or Chia Seeds: When mixed with water, ground flaxseed or chia seeds form a gel-like consistency that mimics the binding properties of eggs. Combine one tablespoon of flaxseed meal or chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce works well as an egg substitute in muffins, quick bread, and cakes, adding moisture. Replace one egg with 1/4 cup of applesauce. If baking cakes/muffins/breads, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder to lighten the texture.
Baking should be inclusive and with the variety of dairy-free alternatives available, it can be enjoyed by everyone.