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Useful Tips for Baking with Almond Milk

Useful Tips for Baking with Almond Milk

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Standing in the kitchen is indeed a versatile art. However, the room for error in baking is a lot narrower than it is in booking. It’s not as easy to change up the ingredients in recipes. 

When you change the ingredients you are using or the amounts of the ingredients that you are adding, whatever you are baking might not turn out as planned.

In other words, if you’re trying to bake with almond milk instead of cow’s milk, you should try to find recipes that use almond milk in their original ingredients list rather than trying to substitute almond milk for cow’s milk.

Does that mean that you can’t substitute cow’s milk with almond milk at all? Absolutely not, and that’s why I am here. 

However, if you need to bake a recipe that calls for cow’s milk with almond milk instead, you need to alter a few things. Let me kick this off by explaining a bit about almond milk. 

What Is Almond Milk?

Almond milk is made by soaking almonds in water overnight. Then, the almonds are blended with more water, some salt, and any other flavoring or sweetener. It’s vegan, lactose-free, plant-based, and cruelty-free.

Flavored extracts and different sweeteners are used to give almond milk a different taste. The most common flavor to add to almond milk is vanilla but any type of extract can be added.

You can make almond milk yourself if you have all of the necessary equipment. All you would need is a blender and a nut milk strainer. Of course, store-bought almond milk works just as well in any recipe.

However, before you buy almond milk, make sure that you match the type of almond milk to what the recipe might call for. Think about if you need sweetened or unsweetened almond milk.

If you are substituting for regular cow’s milk, sweetened almond milk will match the original flavor better.

How to Substitute Almond Milk in a Recipe

Almond Milk In A Measuring Cup

Usually, you can just substitute almond milk into a baking recipe that uses real cow’s milk and it will still bake just fine. However, other times, you should make some adjustments in the recipe when using almond milk. 

The most common adjustment is the quantity used. If you make the recipe and it doesn’t go well, it means that next time you try to make that same recipe, you will have to alter the amount of almond milk that you add.

If a recipe calls for something to be done with the milk other than just a simple addition, such as heating the milk or thickening the milk, you might need to make sure you pay attention to how almond milk would react differently than cow’s milk would.

How to Match Almond Milk to Cow’s Milk

Okay, so there’s a lot of quantity alteration involved. I hope that I didn’t lose you there because I’m about to explain. 

Almond milk can be a great substitute for regular cow’s milk, but it’s important to know the differences between them and the limits of using almond milk as a substitute in a recipe.

Almond milk can replicate 2% milk, which is usually what is used in recipes. It’s quite watery, so if the recipe calls for whole milk, heavy cream, or buttermilk, you will need to do more things to make sure that the result of the recipe is unchanged.

Regular milk also has naturally occurring sugars that sweeten it slightly. Almond milk doesn’t have any sugar on its own.

To better replicate real cow’s milk in a recipe, you should either add a sweetener to almond milk or purchase already-sweetened almond milk at the store.

If you can’t buy sweetened almond milk or add sweetener to your unsweetened almond milk, you could try adding more sweetener to the recipe.

If the recipe calls for sugar, try adding a small amount of extra sugar to it. This will work to account for the small amount of sugar that almond milk lacks.

Scoop Of Sugar

Color of Finished Baked Goods

I can’t stress how important it is to understand that baked goods won’t look as dark as they should if you substitute cow’s milk with almond milk. I burned a couple of pies and learned this the hard way. Did. Not. Enjoy that. 

To make sure that this doesn’t happen, double-check your timers when you are baking. Follow the instructions on the recipe. When enough time has passed, check the baking time by inserting a toothpick into the center of the baked goods in the oven.

If the toothpick comes out clean or with a few small bits on it, it’s probably done cooking and you should take it out of the oven to cool. If the toothpick doesn’t come out clean, you need to leave it in the oven for longer.

Checking A Cake With A Toothpick

Can You Boil Almond Milk?

The short answer is yes. You can boil almond milk. But you can quickly burn it as well. 

Typically, you won’t need to boil it, but some baking recipes call for more complicated steps. Sometimes milk needs to be boiled or heated up before being added to other ingredients.

Since almond milk is made with different ingredients than cow’s milk, it burns easily. So, you have to be careful when you are heating it on a stovetop. It’s best to use a double boiler.

If you don’t have a double boiler, you can recreate it with two pans. Add some water to the bottom pot and bring it to a boil. Then add a second pot (or a metal bowl) on top and pour the almond milk into it. Then, you can heat the almond milk slowly.

If you don’t heat almond milk slowly, it could burn. When almond milk is too hot, it changes taste and can become bitter, eventually changing the taste of whatever you are baking. 

It’s also good to use a microwave to heat almond milk. Using a microwave might be easier than using a double boiler and makes it less likely that the almond milk will burn or change taste and become bitter.

To be sure that you don’t make any mistakes when heating almond milk, make sure that you don’t actually boil it. Rather, stop heating it when it’s hot but not yet boiling.

How to Thicken Almond Milk

Heating Milk In A Pan On The Stove

Almond milk is naturally thinner than cow’s milk. Some recipes call for thickening milk. You might also find that a recipe isn’t working with almond milk because it needs thicker milk.

There is an easy way to make almond milk thicker. You could simply add some flour to the milk.

Ingredients That Almond Milk Doesn’t Go with

Some ingredients used in baking or cooking shouldn’t be mixed with almond milk. For example, it’s not a good idea to mix almond milk with acidic foods and ingredients, as it could curdle the milk.

Almond milk doesn’t curdle as cow’s milk does. Instead, it will separate the almonds in the almond milk into chunks. This can look very unappetizing and might affect the texture of what you are baking.

Adding acidic ingredients can change the texture of almond milk in different ways that might be useful if you need to use a different type of milk for your recipe, like buttermilk.

How to Substitute Almond Milk for Buttermilk

Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

To replicate buttermilk with almond milk, you will need to add lemon juice to the mix. Use about one tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of almond milk.

Let this mixture sit, and it should thicken in about 10 minutes. Once you notice that it is thick enough, you can add it to the recipe.

This can be altered depending on how much buttermilk the recipe calls for. Just make sure that you convert the ingredients so they are in the same amount as what is called for.

For example, if you need two cups of buttermilk, add two cups of almond milk to two tablespoons of lemon juice. If you need a half cup of buttermilk, add a half cup of buttermilk to a half tablespoon of lemon juice.

Final Thoughts

With a few alterations, you can bake with almond oil and end up with tasty baked goods. Just make sure that you use sweetened almond milk to substitute for cow’s milk, and lemon juice to substitute for buttermilk.

Remember, almond milk makes baked goods slightly less dark, so don’t burn your bakeries by mistake while waiting for that brown crust to appear. Lastly, if the recipe needs boiling, take care not to burn the almond milk, or you’ll make it too bitter to use. 

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