January is often the time that people make a change so if you’re planning to take part in 2021’s Veganuary or you, or someone you know, has an allergy or intolerance, here’s a few things you need to know about cooking with dairy free alternatives. So, if you want to eliminate that FOMO when it comes to tasty treats, read on!

When it comes to finding free from ingredients, shops, delis, farmers’ markets and more are all rapidly expanding their ranges, especially with the rise in awareness of allergies and alternative diets, so it won’t be too difficult to get the ingredients you need, no matter where you shop. There are even a whole host of people running their own free from food businesses here in Dorset, click here to find out more!

Milk substitutes

When you think of dairy, milk is often the first thing that comes to mind. For those of you who are lactose intolerant, sheep and goat milk have a much lower lactose content than cow’s milk, making them much more suitable for those with a mild intolerance. Many farmers’ offer lactose free milk from their dairy farms, but if you want to avoid dairy milk entirely, there are lots of alternatives – you can even make some yourself!

Soya milk is, as the name suggests, is made from soya beans and comes in both sweetened and unsweetened versions. It is highly versatile and can be drunk as milk, whipped into cream, turned into cheese and used in recipes as a straight alternative to cow’s milk.

Rice milk is another popular substitute, that is good for people with both a dairy and soya intolerance. It is naturally sweet and a little thinner than soya milk, more like skimmed milk.

Nut milks are good as they are more flavourful. Almond milk is a good substitute for those who are baking, but nut milks do tend to be higher in calories, especially coconut milk. Coconut cream is another great substitute, especially for making curries and other sauces.

Oat milk – full of nutrients, low in cholesterol and packed with fibre, so it’s great for anyone making the change for health reasons. It’s great for digestive health and for aiding in the treatment of anaemia – it isn’t suitable for anyone with a gluten allergy though.

Like we said, it’s easy to make your own milk from nuts and grains – you don’t even need any special equipment to do it!

Cheese substitutes

Dairy free cheeses are becoming much easier to find in shops these days, so everyone can enjoy pizza, grating cheese over pasta or baked potatoes.
There are a couple of different versions including cheese made from soya, almonds, cashews and macadamias. Depending on what you want the cheese substitute for will depend on which one will work best for you.

Cashews blitzed into a paste make a great cheese cake base while soya and coconut alternatives offer a more solid block ideal for slicing and grating.

If you fancy making your own cheese, it can be easily achieved with nuts, water and lemon juice. Simply add your nut of choice into a blender with water and lemon juice and blitz, adding salt and garlic to season. You can then refrigerate and use whenever you like in bakes and other dishes.

Again, there are sheep and goat milk varieties of cheese available across Dorset too, for those of you wanting to cut down on the lactose but not move fully away from dairy milks.

Yoghurt substitutes

When it comes to yoghurt, you can find several dairy alternatives. As well as yoghurts made with goat and sheep milk, there are also soya versions all of which come in a variety of flavours.
One of the best alternatives for yoghurts are those made of coconuts – you can pick them up at shops across the region or make some yourself using a couple of cans of coconut milk, mixing all elements together in a blender.

Custard, Cream and Ice Cream

I mean, considering Dorset creates some of the best ice cream, cream and custard in the south west, visiting the region and not being able to indulge is awful. Luckily, many of the gelato and ice cream producers in the area do offer dairy free flavours and sorbets, but make sure to take a look in the freezers at farmshops and delis for ice cream and in the fridges for cream. Dairy free custard is also available as both a powder and ready made.

Much like the yoghurt, milk and cheese, it is fairly easy to make your own dairy free options, coconut cream makes amazing ice cream alternatives as do almonds.

Butter

Whether you want to reduce your cholesterol or have an allergy and miss a bit of buttery toast or buttery mash, there’s no need to feel left out, there are lots of dairy free or lower dairy content options including sunflower and olive oil butters. They work just as well in baking, on bread and for frying! Keep your eyes out when you next visit a deli, farmshop, farmers’ market or health food/ Well-being shop and stock up!

Eggs

Yes, you read that right – there are also substitutes for eggs! While there are some places that sell egg replacers, common substitutions include aquafaba, aka the liquid you find in tins of beans and pulses such as chickpeas. Alternatively, you can use mashed bananas or apple sauce. Apple sauce and mashed bananas work well in sweet dishes, such as cakes and pancakes, while aquafaba can be whipped into meringue or used instead of liquid eggs.

Want to find out more about free from foods in Dorset? Click here for details on free from producers. Or get in touch with one of our dairy farmers to find out what options they have for lower lactose contents and alternative products.

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