Substituting dairy for non-dairy when Baking

Discussion in 'Professional Pastry Chefs' started by simone m, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. simone m

    simone m

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    Home Cook
    Hi there!

    I just have a question about substituting dairy milk and for non-dairy alternatives like soy or almond milk. I have a few book on baking things like cakes and cupcakes, etc, but I'm allergic to dairy.

    Can I just use the exact same amount of almond/soy milk as is specified for dairy in the recipe (i.e. 1 diary cup milk = 1 cup soy milk), or will that change the consistency of the cake altogether?

    Do I need a different amount if I'm swapping to another kind of milk (If so, how do I work out the difference)?

    I would love to be able to use the recipes I have in the book and not buy a "special diary free" book, because they are a bit limiting and boring. 

  2. jellly


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    I do some vegan cooking at work and have to admit it is a little hit or miss.  In some recipes almond or soy milk work fine.  Coconut milk can also be good because of the added fat content, but I don't believe you will find an absolute substitute rule of thumb (I have looked).  You shouldn't have to change the quantity, but you will have to experiment a bit.

    If it is only lactose you are avoiding, you can find some high fat butters that have almost no lactose, however if you have to avoid dairy products altogether I find that Earth Balance brand spreads work well in place of butter.  They have a variety and some are softer than butter, so you need to make adjustments in pie dough and such.

    Coconut oil and a little agar make a good "cream" if you need a pastry cream-type filling.  I will bind the agar with soy milk or fruit puree.  Cool and blend in Robot Coupe while emulsifying in warm coconut oil.  I usually like the option with fruit puree or will add lots of vanilla bean and a little lemon zest to hide the coconut flavor.  The mouth feel is very nice and it freezes well.

    The information out there on vegan or dairy-free cooking is limited.  I have found a lot of truly awful recipes and have to test a bit to find ones eligible for a fine dining atmosphere.  I have a few decent cookbooks, but they are aimed at home cooks.  If anyone writes a professional-level cookbook on the subject I would expect the demand to be good.
  3. soesje


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    Professional Chef
    The simpe answer is YES, in general you can try soymilk/ almondmilk for dairy.

    If you need more specific info ask more questions and I'll try to help. Your question is not clear enough.

    Tell what you are trying to bake…..and what exactly you need to replace.