Previously, I wrote a post about how to substitute the egg in vegan cooking and baking. This week, I will talk about substituting the dairy in recipes in order to have a quality vegan recipe. When you remove the dairy and egg from the recipe, you are not only making your recipe kinder; you are also choosing to omit any cholesterol.
For those who are intolerant to dairy, these replacements will really help them!
Replacing the Dairy in a Recipe
If the recipe requires dairy milk, you can replace this with non-dairy milks instead. Always use unsweetened non-dairy milks. If the recipe is for a creamier, thicker finished product, then you can use an equal amount of soy milk or coconut milk. For other recipes, use an equal amount of almond milk or rice milk, both of which tend to be a little thinner. I would not use hemp milk for cooking or baking, as it tends to have a slightly bitter taste that can affect the taste of your finished product.
What do you do if the recipe calls for buttermilk? Not to worry, try this instead:
In a bowl, mix 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar. Whisk together until the mixture is creamy. This will be good for one cup of buttermilk.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Some recipes require those cans of sweetened, thickened dairy milk known as condensed milk. To replace with a non-dairy version, try this:
2 1/2 cups of unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons vegan margarine
a little bit of salt
Boil the soy milk. In another pan, melt the vegan margarine on medium heat. Then add the 1/2 cup of sugar to the melted margarine. As the sugar melts into the margarine, combine the hot soy milk. Add a pinch of salt. Boil this mixture slowly and stir for 5 minutes.
Makes about 1 3/4 cup of condensed milk.
A lot of recipes ask for butter, but luckily, you need not depend on butter. There are many vegan replacements! For starters, I’ve used Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks for the crust in apple pie. I’ve also used coconut oil for apple crumble as well as apple pie crust. I have replaced the butter in cookie recipes with coconut oil or sunflower oil or canola oil, and the cookies turned out wonderfully.
If the recipe contains a lot of spice, such as gingerbread or spice cookies, you can use olive oil or untoasted sesame oil to allow the flavours to come through. If you need to make shortbread cookies, you can use unrefined coconut oil and you will get a nice solid dough without the butter.
There are also vegan shortenings which can be wonderful for pie crusts and cookies. I have tried Earth Balance Shortening for pie crusts, and it works nicely.
Coconut milk can replace the cream. Or, you can blend together equal portions of cashews and water until the desired creamy consistency is reached. If you so desire, try some of the non-dairy creams available at your local grocery store.
For recipes which list yogourt as an ingredient, you can replace dairy yogourt with non-dairy yogourt.
Happy cruelty-free baking, everyone!