There are a few things you need to know about cooking and baking allergy free. Please check back at this page as I will add to the list as I learn new things myself.
Rice milk-I use this primarily for baking and cooking, pouring over cereal, smoothies and pretty much my all around milk replacement.
Coconut milk vanilla flavored-This is used as a beverage, and smoothie and ice cream ingredient.
Hemp milk-I use this when I want to make something “creamy” such as mashed potatoes, or again, in ice cream. This also makes a great beverage especially when you add chocolate syrup.
Other milk alternatives: Almond, soy, hazelnut, and flax are few other milk alternatives available. I don’t use almond milk due to an almond allergy. We try to avoid soy even though no one is allergic to it, and I still have not tried the others.
Other Dairy Alternatives:
Sour cream: There are several vegan alternatives available. Tofutti makes an outstanding “sour cream” although it does have soy in it. It tastes the most like regular sour cream as well as the same consistency. WayFare makes a product called “We Can’t Say It’s Sour Cream.” This tastes alright, although it is runnier than Tofutti and the flavor isn’t spot on, but works well for those who need or like to avoid soy.
Cheese: The only “cheese” I’ll use is by Daiya. I use the cheddar and mozzarella style. They come shredded, and are dairy and soy free. It melts well, tastes very good and freezes very well. It retains heat so be careful when eating to not burn your mouth. One must read cheese alternative packages very well, as many are marketed as dairy or milk free, but when you read the ingredient list, casein or whey is mentioned—two things you need to avoid if you have a milk allergy.
Yogurt: Yogurt is available made from rice milk, soy milk (if you can tolerate soy), almond milk and coconut milk. These are quite pricey and I purchase rice or coconut milk yogurt only as a special treat.
Butter: Smart Balance margarine (in the tub) is dairy free as well as the Fleischmann’s unsalted margarine sticks. Earth Balance (in the yellow tub) makes a very good dairy free margarine as well. Unfortunately, these all contain soy. If you need or like to avoid soy Earth Balance makes a wonderful dairy free and soy free tub margarine (it is in a red container) and it works just as well as anything I have ever tried. Earth Balance also makes a coconut spread that I have used occasionally in my baking as a butter or shortening alternative. It is dairy and soy free.
Egg replacers: Use according to package directions or as stated in recipes.
Ener-G egg replacer
Flax meal with water
Use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce.
Palm oil shortening is found under the brand name Spectrum instead of regular shortening and works just as well. Earth Balance makes a coconut spread that can work as a shortening or butter replacement. It is dairy and soy free.
Canola, corn, olive, grape seed, safflower seed oil can be used instead of vegetable oil.
Peanut and tree nut replacers:
Sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter, and sunflower seeds. I haven’t tried pumpkin seed butter yet, but sunflower butter is delicious and has the same consistency as peanut butter. Sunflower seeds work well on salads, as a snack and other places one would use tree nuts.
For grains to eat or for pasta: brown rice, quinoa, corn, millet (not a pasta)
For baking: This really depends on the cookbook you are reading/cooking from. There is no cup for cup replacement when cooking without wheat flour and you can’t use just one of the following in a recipe…it must be a blend. The blend must contain flours and starches. I keep the following flours stocked: brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, garbanzo bean flour, garbanzo/fava bean flour, quinoa flour, Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose flour, millet flour, buckwheat flour and xanthan gum. And believe it or not, there are other flours out there that I use occasionally and others I still need to try. I personally do not like the prepackaged flour blends that contain xanthan gum. I have not had good success with those.
Tips for good allergy free baking:
Cow’s milk can be replaced cup for cup with any milk alternative. I prefer rice milk in baking as opposed to hemp. I feel that hemp milk makes the baked goods too heavy, although I know that others love hemp milk in their baked goods. I will occasionally use coconut milk in baked goods.
When baking without eggs, always put the item in preheated oven right away. If you are using Enter-G egg replacer mix it right before you need to add it to the recipe.
Whisk gluten free flours/starches really well to remove any clumps and thoroughly mix the xanthan gum in with the flours.
When measuring gluten free flours or starches, use a spoon to fill the cup and then level off. This is a good tip for baking with wheat as well.
Read the recipe all the way through before starting the recipe and do not make modifications unless you are really adept at allergy free baking and cooking.
Parchment paper is a must for baking cookies. This is a good tip for regular baking as well. Your cookies will cook so much more evenly and bottoms are far less likely to burn. Do not use wax paper. Parchment paper is heat resistant up to 450 degrees while wax paper is not. The wax on the paper can also seep into your baked goods and stick to the pan. It can also create a smoky kitchen environment.
Stocking your kitchen:
Whether you are cooking allergy free or not, you need a well-stocked kitchen. Here is a list of utensils and appliances that you will need to successfully cook:
3 sets of dry measure cups
3-4 liquid measuring cups
4 sets of measuring spoons, including at least one 1/8 tsp. and one ½ T.
Spatulas-several heat resistant silicone spatulas for cooking
Spatulas (the kind to flip pancakes etc.)
Several heat resistant “wooden” spoons
Whisks—large and mini
Vegetable scrub brush
Set of sharp cooking knives
Pots and pans and skillet
Two round cake pans
Pizza Pan (without holes)
Muffin tins-at least two that each hold 12
Food processor-small and large
Glass and plastic storage containers
Baking stone (optional)
Mini muffin tin (optional)
Ice cream maker (optional)