Milk substitutes replace milk in recipes as well as in a person's daily diet. Though milk is a good source of protein and calcium, especially for vegetarians, many people are reducing its consumption due to lactose intolerance or allergies. Substitutes can be equally nutritious. Some products like ice creams use these alternatives instead of dairy products like cream.
Almond milk is made by grinding blanched almonds with water. It is high in protein content and has no saturated fats. It was used as a popular beverage in the Middle East and Medieval Europe. Health benefits of almonds include treating constipation and lowering blood sugar levels. Due to high amounts of antioxidants present in this substitute, it helps in fighting the ill effects of free radicals. Organic almond milk can also be prepared at home. Soak one cup of almonds in water for a minimum of eight hours and blend them with four cups of water for a milk-like consistency. Store this in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. You can use almond milk as a substitute in cakes, cookies, puddings, and other creamy desserts.
Soy milk is mostly used because it has a high protein content and reduces cholesterol levels. It is a stable emulsion of water, protein, and oil. It is prepared by grinding dry soybeans with water. The nutritional value of soy milk is similar to cow's milk. Consuming half a cup of soy milk along with a bowl of cereal for breakfast can supply the body with high quality carbohydrates, vitamins, and proteins. It includes concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the heart. Soy milk can be used as a substitute for milk in recipes such as cream sauces, pasta sauces, and salad dressings.
Grain milk is processed from grains like brown rice, oats, rye, or wheat. It can also be made from flour or fermented grain. It is higher in carbohydrates and lower in saturated fats and protein compared to cow's milk. It contains no lactose, so is beneficial for people who are lactose intolerant. Grain milk is also fortified with vitamins and calcium. Since it is free from milk protein, it is suitable for vegans and people with milk allergies.
Condensed milk is made by extracting water from cow's milk. It is prepared from pasteurized milk and is not heat processed. To make your own condensed milk, you need to blend boiling water, melted butter, dry milk (fat-free), and a few drops of vanilla essence. Before using this substitute in any recipe, cool and refrigerate it for about a week.
Evaporated or Dehydrated Milk
Evaporated milk, or dehydrated milk, is fresh milk from which about 60% of water is removed. It is sterilized using a heat treatment and vacuum process, making it more concentrated than whole milk. These treatments give it a longer shelf life. It can be used to add a creamy texture to thick sauces, crock-pot recipes, and puddings.
Powdered or dry milk is made by treating evaporated milk to dryness. It has a long shelf life and can be used in various recipes like cakes and puddings. It is convenient to use and does not compromise with the recipe's flavor.
Though there are many substitutes available in the market, nothing can completely replace milk. Consuming substitutes have some side effects, so care must be taken while choosing a suitable substitute for milk.