Gluten Free Cooking Basics IV: Dairy-Free Baking & Kefir Info

1986 chris cow




Doesn’t my son at age 2 with the calves just make you smile?!

“Milk, it does a body good.” Not so fast, not for some people, me being one of them. But I’m learning that, at least I can get away with some dairy–hard cheeses, butter.



Dairy Free & Kefir Information

Here’s some information on lactose from People who don’t make enough of the lactase enzyme often experience symptoms of lactose intolerance, such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating and diarrhea, when they eat or drink lactose-containing foods such as milk or ice cream. Not a pleasant experience, to say the least.

Here’s why many people with lactose intolerance may still be able to indulge in certain dairy products without issue: Butter and many cheeses contain zero grams of carbohydrate, which means they contain zero grams of sugar. And zero sugar means zero lactose, or at least close to it. (Current labeling laws say that if a food contains less than 0.5 grams of carbohydrate or sugar per serving, these can be listed as zero on the nutrition facts label). READ MORE

Lactose content of common foods
1 Tbsp butter: 0.01 grams
1 oz Swiss cheese: 0.02 grams
1 oz mozzarella cheese: 0.02 grams
1 oz Parmesan cheese: 0.04 grams
1 oz cheddar cheese: 0.07 grams
1 oz brie cheese: 0.13 grams
1 oz reduced-fat cheese: 0.15 grams
2 Tbsp (1 oz) half & half: 0-1 gram
2 Tbsp (1 oz) fat-free half & half: 1-2 grams
100-percent whey protein powder: 1-2 grams per serving
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese: 3 grams
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream: 4.9 grams
1 cup plain Greek yogurt: 8-9 grams
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt: 13 grams
1 cup goat milk: 9-10.5 grams
1 cup cow’s milk: 13 grams


Dairy Free Options

Many people use soy milk in many of their recipes. It is low in fat and high in protein. Buy the “unsweetened” versions, as the regular or flavored milks have a very high sugar content.

• Almond milk is sweet and can be used to replace cow’s milk in recipes, too.
• Coconut milk
• Rice milk (good on cereal)
• Fruit juice
• water
• Goat’s milk
• Hemp milk
• Soy milk

Rice and soy milk can also be used as a milk substitute in just about everything. Consistency of these milks vary, and you must take that into consideration when looking for a substitute for cow’s milk. Soy milk or rice milk can be used as a thickener for gravies, but almond milk or coconut milk are delicious as a base for brown rice pudding. Be sure to refrigerate all of these milks after opening.


Smoothie Notes: You can make smoothies for breakfast and include the following: a ripe banana, soy milk, water, and a nondairy frozen dessert such as Sweet Nothings. It is all-natural and contains no sugar, dairy, gluten or artificial ingredients. Mango Raspberry is very good!

Another option is to add protein powder or some tofu.

To increase the protein in your morning smoothie, add 5 to 6 almonds.

Want to increase your fiber? Add 2 to 3 dried figs and 1/4 cup frozen or fresh berries, such as raspberries, blueberries or strawberries.

sweet nothings link:


Milk & Dairy information from Tessa the domestic diva 🙂

  • Milk: There are a vast array of non-dairy milks available now. My favorite for no detectable aftertaste is SO Delicious Coconut Milk, unsweetened. Be aware that most non-dairy milks labeled ‘Original’, ‘Plain’, and ‘Vanilla’ are sweetened. So, if you are making something savory, using an ‘unsweetened’ variety is your best bet.
  • Buttermilk: You can sour any milk by adding a teaspoon or 2 of either lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes to allow the milk to curdle. You can also purchase Kefir* in any variety of flavors for the same tangy flavor associated with buttermilk.
    • coconut milk
    • 7/8 C rice milk or fruit juice or water
  • Sour Cream: There are many soy-based sour creams available. Tofutti makes a good product, one of their versions has no hydrogenated oils either. Lots of plain non-dairy yogurts can stand in for sour cream in baked goods. So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt is a good choice.
  • Yogurt: There are many varieties of non-dairy: soy, coconut milk and almond are the most common. Consider kefir* (see below).
  • Cream: A hard one to replace. Sometimes, the coconut fat that is on the surface of an undisturbed can work in recipes, but it does not function the same. And there will definitely be a coconut flavor, not ideal in all recipes, but lovely in others. Mimicreme makes a great nut-based product meant to be subbed 1 for 1.
  • Sauces: For creamy warm sauces and soups, Tessa most often thickens unsweetened milk with rice flour or arrowroot starch. Depending on how thick you want it, 1 Tablespoon to 1-2 Cups liquid is a good starting point. You can always add more if you want it thicker. Whisk the flour or starch in a bit of water first before mixing in.

* Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to yogurt


Yogurt vs. Kefir

Yogurt and kefir differ based on the type of cultures used to ferment the milk. Yogurt uses only bacteria, primarily lactobacillus species, while kefir uses both bacteria and yeast. Although yogurt can range in texture from a thick liquid to a semi solid, gel-like consistency, kefir is primarily liquid.

Kefir Varieties

There are many recipes for kefir, which differ based on the specific bacteria and yeast used to ferment the milk and the type of milk used. In European countries, kefir is often made from goat, cow, or even camel’s milk. Most kefir sold in the United States is made from cow’s milk.

Kefir is available plain, which has a bright, tart flavor. To make it more palatable, many companies sweeten the kefir and add flavors like fruit or vanilla. Flavored kefir is closer in flavor to yogurt and may be more easily accepted by those who are new to kefir.

Kefir can also be made with non-dairy milks. These non-dairy kefirs are made using the same bacterial and yeast cultures, and offer the same pro-biotic benefits, making them an excellent alternative for vegan consumers.

How is Kefir Used?

Kefir is most often consumed as a cold beverage. Most people consume kefir because of its enjoyable flavor and texture, but some feel it aids in digestion and calming an upset stomach. Kefir can also be mixed into smoothies, poured over cereal or granola, or used in baked goods.

Purchasing and Storing Kefir

Kefir can be found in most health or natural food stores in the refrigerated dairy section. European markets may also carry kefir. Kefir making kits can also be found in specialty stores or online. These kits provide the kefir culture “grains” and instructions on how to safely ferment your milk.

Because kefir is a fresh product with live cultures, it should be kept refrigerated. After opening kefir, it should be consumed within five to seven days.

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