Increasingly I’m being asked for dairy free baking recipes – gluten free too, but one step at a time…
For some going dairy free is a simple decision following an allergy or intolerance diagnosis. Others follow a dairy free diet through choice. But why? What are the benefits? Well, many report clearer skin, a digestive system that appears to simply work better (I’ll leave that to your imagination), less headaches, reduced sinus pain and even weight loss.
So how does going dairy free affect meal planning? Savoury meals seem straightforward enough, but when it comes to sweet treats it can be a little more challenging to find recipes that are both delicious and dairy free.
Let’s start with butter… well, in Mexico avocados are known as the ‘butter of the poor’ and some say they work well in biscuits and brownies when combined with coconut oil 50:50 as a direct replacement for butter. Avocado is surprisingly tasteless too and especially good when mixed with dark chocolate and honey to make a quick vegan friendly mousse to use in place of buttercream or cream to sandwich cakes together. Or try popping a 400g tin coconut milk with high cream content (over 55%) into the fridge overnight, removing the hard coconut cream and blitzing with 18 stoned dates that have been soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes (well drained) plus 40g cocoa.
Oils can also be substituted for butter. Try olive oil in cakes and bakes where the flavours are strong enough (like lemon or chocolate) to stand up to the olive taste. Virgin coconut oil is another good substitute in biscuits; it is solid at room temperature so when used in baking lends a chewy crumb. Perfect for those American style cookies. Groundnut, sunflower and rapeseed oils have little taste when baked so are good alternatives, also helping cakes and muffins stay moist. Flora Cuisine works really well as a substitute; just use 100mls for every 100g of butter. It’s a blend of linseed, rapeseed and sunflower oils that tastes great, gives a light crumb, is lower in saturated fat than olive oil and packed full of Omega 3 too. For my cracking dairy free chocolate cookie recipe take a look here.
Substituting milk is a little trickier as it often plays a complex role in the science of baking. Milk causes a chemical reaction when mixed with bicarbonate of soda, so remember if you use a substitute milk such as almond, macadamia, coconut, oat or rice then add 1 – 2 teaspoons of white wine vinegar to achieve the chemical reaction required. Dairy free buttermilk is easy enough to make by combining 250mls almond milk with a 2 tbsp lemon juice and letting it sit for 10 minutes to curdle.
And what about if you fancy making a dairy free baked Alaska? Well, dairy free ‘ice-cream’ is actually very easy to whip up. Just blend together 6 sliced frozen bananas with 350g frozen morello cherries and 3 tbsp runny honey. Re-freeze for half an hour before using in a baked Alaska. Just remember, no #bingate style ceremonious chucking of the ice cream should it melt a little…
This post was supported by Flora.