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.

Gluten Free Cooking Basics II: Egg, Sugar, Milk substitutes

~Oak Hill statue◊UPDATED 5/16/14

Buy the freshest organic eggs you can find. You also can use Energ-G Foods egg substitute.

There is also a fat and egg substitute called Wonderslim. It can be used for cooking, baking and making salad dressings. It is made of water, dried plum juice concentrate, oat fiber and soy lecithin (anyone with IBS needs to be careful about this product because of the plum juice).

Eggs & Egg Substitutes
AND Xanthan & Guar Gums, Vinegars, Nuts


Buy the freshest organic eggs you can find. You also can use Energ-G Foods egg substitute.

This powdered substitute for eggs in cooking contains no egg product and is also free of dairy, corn, soy, and gluten. I use a little of this for extra leavening in many recipes.

There is also a fat and egg substitute called Wonderslim & NoEgg by Orgran. It can be used for cooking, baking and making salad dressings. It is made of water, dried plum juice concentrate, oat fiber and soy lecithin (anyone with IBS needs to be careful about this product because of the plum juice).


Substitutions for eggs in a recipe:

•     2 T corn starch

•     2 T arrowroot flour

•     2 T potato starch

•     1/4 cup applesauce

•     1 T flax meal plus 3 T water (the consistency is vy similar to eggs)
The meal should gel within a minutes or two

•     2 T dried apricots (let stand in water until soft, then puree in a blender)

•     Chia Meal: adds great health to baked goods, is used just like flax meal. 1 T whisked with 3 T liquid which mimics 1 large egg. Gels within a few seconds*.

•     Moisture rich fruits and vegetables can also work: banana (1 banana = 1 egg in cake recipes, applesauce, sweet potato and pumpkin are best. There is no exact ration here, but if a recipe includes one of these fruits, usually there is no need for an egg too.


Tessa the domestic diva has a recommendation:

You’d be surprised how many baking recipes would be just fine without an egg or an egg replacer. I recommend getting hold of a good vegan baking book (like Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, or Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar) to learn your way through eggless baking.

* If you want to read about WHY you should be eating just about as many of these amazing seeds as possible, Nourishing Treasures has a great bulleted list on the benefits of this superfood.


Healthy GF Living Cookbook Tip

When creating recipes, if I have used enough baking powder for lift and am using flax meal mixed with HOT water for binding and lift, but the dough is a bit dry, simply add warm water until it’s right. Having your liquids very warm helps kick that baking powder into action.

SECRET: you don’t need egg replacer in GF baking!



NOTE: Guar Gum vs Xanthan Gum & Chia Seeds

by Cassidy Stockton May 14th, 2010 (Bob’s Red Mill)


They fight together for Gluten Free-dom!

Both ingredients are frequently called for in gluten free recipes and can seem exotic at first, but they both serve the same general purpose as thickeners and emulsifiers. Quite simply, both these ingredients help keep your mixes mixed. They keep oil droplets from sticking together and separating, and solid particles from settling to the bottom. You can use just one or the other; or sometimes for the best results, you can use them in combination together.

In conventional recipes containing wheat, rye, barley or triticale flour, the protein, gluten in these fours serves the same purpose that guar gum and xanthan gum do in gluten free baking. Gluten protein is what traditional recipes rely on to thicken dough and batters, and trap air bubbles to make your baked goods light and fluffy.

Xanthan gum tends to help starches combine to trap air, while guar gum helps keep large particles suspended in the mix.

One of the differences between the two products is where they come from. Guar gum is made from a seed native to tropical Asia, while xanthan gum is made by a micro organism called Xanthomonas Campestris*.

*Regarding corn in xanthan gum: The microorganism that produces xanthan gum is actually fed a glucose solution that is derived from wheat starch. Gluten is found in the protein part of the wheat kernel and no gluten is contained in the solution of glucose. Additionally, after the bacteria eats the glucose, there is no wheat to be found in the outer coating that it produces, which is what makes up xanthan gum. The short answer here is, there is no corn used at all in the making of xanthan gum.

In the kitchen, there are also important differences in using xanthan gum vs. guar gum. In general, guar gum is good for cold foods such as ice cream or pastry fillings. Foods with a high acid content (such as lemon juice) can cause guar gum to lose its thickening abilities.
Guar gum – using too much can produce a heavy or stringy texture in baked goods, so measure carefully.

NOTE: Guar Gum has a high fiber content and is usually sold as a laxative, it should be avoided by anyone who suffer from diarrhea or stomach distress.

Xanthum gum is better for baked goods. Xanthan gum is the right choice for yeasted breads. For recipes involving citrus you will want to use xanthan gum or increase the amount of guar gum used.
Xanthum gum: Lots of people can have trouble digesting it and find it disrupts their bowels and tummy.

In general, it is best to add both xanthan and guar gum to the oil component in a recipe, making complete mix of oil and gum before adding to the rest of liquid ingredients. Using a blender or a food processor is a great way to get the gums to dissolve properly.

The final difference between the two gums is the variation in quantities you will need for different foods. There are no hard and fast rules as to how to combine the two gums together, you’ll have to experiment yourself to see what works best in your recipes.

If you decide to use just one or the other, here are some helpful measurements for popular foods:

Be sure to use an electric mixer when using these ingredients, for best results.

How much Xanthan Gum for Gluten Free Baking?

Cookies…………………………………………………………… ¼ teaspoon per cup of flour

Cakes and Pancakes…………………………………… ½ teaspoon per cup of flour

Muffins and Quick Breads………………………. ¾ teaspoon per cup of flour

Breads…………………………………………………………….. 1 to 1-½ tsp. per cup of flour

Pizza Dough………………………………………………….. 2 teaspoons per cup of flour

For Salad Dressings………………………………….. Use ½ tsp. Xanthan Gum per 8 oz. of liquid.


How much Guar Gum for Gluten Free Baking?

Cookies…………………………………………………………… ¼ to ½ tsp. per cup of flour

Cakes and Pancakes…………………………………… ¾ teaspoon per cup of flour

Muffins and Quick Breads………………………. 1 teaspoon per cup of flour

Breads…………………………………………………………….. 1-½ to 2 tsp. per cup of flour

Pizza Dough…………………………………………………. 1 Tablespoon per cup of flour

For Hot Foods (gravies, stews , heated pudding)…………… use 1-3 tsp per one quart of liquid.

For Cold Foods (salad dressing, ice creams, pudding)…. use about 1-2 teaspoons per quart of liquid.


NOTE: CHIA Seeds have natural gelling properties that make them a good substitute for xanthan gum in recipes.


BAKING SODA: Author uses baking soda in conjunction with baking powder, as alone it will not cause a product to leaven. I use it quite frequently in biscuits, cookies, scones and the like.

it is best if you sift it with the flour and baking powder, as it is somewhat lumpy.


Baking Powder: If you are concerned about the health risks of aluminum, you can buy aluminum-free baking powder in health food stores. Author uses baking powder frequently in recipes, especially for cakes, cookies, bar and muffins.


Dough Enhancers: These powdered products are used in bread making to substitute for the vinegar that balances the pH in most waters. They also tend to make the bread stay fresh longer.

Dough enhancer makes for lighter, fluffier baked goods with a combination of several dough conditioners.

Always read the ingredient labels to find one that’s gluten free and doesn’t contain anything else to which you may be sensititve.

     I found L’Equip Dough Enhancer (not thru Amazon) Write up:

▪            Does not include gluten.

▪            Increases dough strength, extends shelf life and improves texture.

▪            Try it in all your baked goods.

Ingredients: Whey, Lecithin, Soy Powder, Citric Acid, Dry Yeast, Sea Salt, Corn Starch, Ascorbic Acid, Honey. Gluten Free & GMO – All Natural



White vinegar or just plain vinegar is typically distilled, and if so, are gluten-free. Distilled vinegar can be distilled from wheat, corn, potatoes, beets, wood, apples, and many other things. Most in the U.S. are not made from wheat, but are instead made from corn, potatoes or wood, which are all CGCF safe. (Heinz white vinegar is distilled from corn). Distilled vinegar made from wood is gluten-free.

Wood-based vinegar is often the vinegar used in processed foods. (Oh, wonderful–another reason to buy processed foods!)

Flavored vinegars are made with white distilled vinegar, to which favorings are then added. Some of these may also NOT be gluten-free (the cheapest vinegars are used since the flavors are masked by the herbs and flavoring).

Malted vinegars are usually not gluten-free. Red and white wine and balsamic vinegars are gluten free.

I buy Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar



Replace tree nuts or peanuts with an equal amount of one of the following:

• Toasted Coconut

• Sunflower Seeds

• Crushed crispy rice cereal

• Crushed potato chips

• Pumpkin Seeds


(roasting instructions)

It is not always necessary to toast nuts but, if time permits, it gives the nuts an earthy flavor.

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and place in a 350F oven for 8-10 mins. Remove from the oven and cool.

Be sure to store any unused toasted nuts in the fridge. You can also freeze them for up to a few months.

(toasting instructions)

put in a frying pan on medium to low heat and heat for about 2 minutes. Don’t turn your back, they’ll burn



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