February 2, 2013

Non Milk: Navigating the Dairy-Free Options

In just the past few days two different people asked about dairy-free options, suspecting intolerances and allergies in their kid-folk. So on the heels of gluten free baking how-to, here is my take on non-dairy milk products. Keep in mind, I am not a nutritionist, these are my opinions and observations.

If you are facing (or choosing) dairy-free, not to fear, you have options and are bound to find one that meets your household's needs.

Choice really boils down to nutrition and taste. I am not qualified to address the former but generally speaking soy tends to be most nutritious and rice least.We did a blind taste test in the early days of going dairy-free of rice/almond/soy - almond was the favorite. Because excessive amounts of soy are rumoured not to be all that great, we usually have a couple variations at home. Here is the the low-down:
  • Soy Milk. Definitely most creamy of the bunch and best in coffee (and let me tell you, Soy Nog is better than dairy!).
  • Rice Milk. Rice milk is way too watery for me. I do not love the acidic aftertaste and and it doesn't offer much in the way of nutrition. But it works in baking.
  • Almond Milk. For me, it is a runner-up. A little sweet, creamy, good for baking and good choice for drinking. 
  • Flax Milk. Not as easy to find but Whole Foods and Mom's usually has it. It has a neutral taste and a good alternative.
  • Hazelnut Milk. I do not see a lot of it, but chocolate version is popular with the kid-folk around here. 
  • Coconut Milk. It is, well, coconut-y, but creamy and rich. A lot of vegan ice-cream recipes call for coconut milk. 
  • Hemp Milk. I haven't tried it myself but from what I hear it's a bit grainy.
So when all said and done, here are a few favorites.

For milk, what you find in the refrigerated section is always better than shelf-stable. Eden Soy and 8th Continent are not my favorites. Silk is good but Earth Balance is our favorite for milk, chocolate milk, and nog.

For vegan cheese, hands done Diya. It melts very nicely on pizza and nachos. Word of warning, some non-dairy cheese contains dairy, so read your labels. But really, if you are giving up dairy, I would rule out a cheese board, alas there is no substitution for real blue castello.

For butter, again, Earth Balance, the gold standard so look no further. Honestly, it is every bit as good on toast.

With yogurt, as with cheese, you really have to pay attention. Some non-dairy yogurt contains dairy in its cultures, so if that's important read the labels. But there are many options. Trader Joe's isn't a bad choice. SO Delicious coconut yogurt is great. Whole Soy is tried and true, both Key Lime and Lemon are great options but pass on peach.

 Any favorite non-dairy products I omitted?

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...