Can you substitute regular milk for almond milk?
In this article, we will answer the question “Can you substitute regular milk for almond milk?”, and what things you need to consider when cooking with almond milk?
Can you substitute regular milk for almond milk?
Yes, you can substitute regular milk for almond milk. If you are not lactose intolerant or do not follow a vegan-restricted diet, you are free to use regular milk in baking and cooking. It is an alternative for those who have an allergy to cow milk protein. Cow milk allergy is the most common food allergy in early childhood with an incidence of 2–3% (2). Estimate a 1:1 ratio for substituting regular milk for almond milk and vice versa.
According to studies, almond milk has overtaken soymilk over the past two years and has become America’s most popular plant-based milk alternative accounting for 4.1% of total milk sales. Almond milk now dominates the dairy alternative beverage market with a staggering 60% market share, while soymilk has only about 30% share. Growth in almond milk has been attributed to improved health-related claims and consumer perceptions, a flurry of almond milk brands, appealing and convenient packaging, and a plethora of flavors available. Sales of dairy alternative beverages reached nearly $2 billion in 2013, driven up largely as a result of the popularity of almond milk (1).
Can you replace regular milk with almond milk?
Replacing regular milk with almond milk is a great choice if you are vegan or lactose sensitive. Some people also turn to plant-based milk such as almond milk for the welfare of the environment and rightfully so. Because all plant-based foods have a lower carbon footprint than animal-based food.
Can you cook with almond milk?
Yes, you can cook with almond milk but you will have to make certain adjustments. In most recipes, you can get away with substituting almond milk for regular milk in a 1:1 ratio. In others, you may want to add a bit more sweetener or a thinner agent.
For example, you need to add a tablespoon or two of a thickening agent along with almond milk in puddings or custards. When swapping regular milk with almond milk, you need to consider the following factors.
Almond milk most likely curdles up when It comes in contact with an acidic ingredient or is heated to a very high temperature in a short period. Therefore, you must heat the almond milk over moderate heat with constant stirring to prevent the milk from scorching.
Vegetable milks are colloidal systems formed by dispersed particles such as oil droplets, solid particles from raw materials, proteins and starch granules. This makes it difficult to obtain a stable food product. Sedimentation and creaming can lead to a loss of quality. Proteins can stabilize food emulsions by forming a macromolecular layer around dispersed fat globules. However, depending on the processing conditions, the relation of protein to fat and protein structure can be affected and proteins can undergo denaturation, aggregation and gelatinization (2).
Aggregation of almond milk proteins with concomitant reduction of their solubility was observed by static high pressure (450 MPa, 30°C) or thermal (85°C for 300 s, 95°C for 30 s) treatment of almond milk (2).
Using almond milk in baking may reduce the baking time. Therefore, it is recommended to check your product for doneness 10 minutes earlier than the baking time called for in the recipe.
Almond milk lacks the richness of regular milk due to the absence of saturated fat. For compensation, you should add 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch or flour as a thickening agent in your almond milk puddings or custards.
Stir in a teaspoon of vinegar into almond milk and let it sit for a few minutes so that it curdles. Use it as a substitute for buttermilk in baking or cooking.
The coagulation of almond milk proteins is achieved by lowering its pH to values of 4.5-5.5 (3).
Avoid acidic ingredients
Almond milk curdles when exposed to acidic ingredients such as tomatoes, lemon, etc. Avoid using almond milk in recipes that require a lot of acidic ingredients.
Use less sweetener
It is better to use unsweetened almond milk when substituting it for regular milk in the recipe. This gives you a lot more control over the sweetness of the dish. If you opted for sweetened almond milk anyway, you need to cut back on the overall amount of sugar in the recipe.
A serving size of unsweetened almond milk (1 cup) contains about 30 calories, significantly fewer than the calories in cow’s milk. However, a serving size of almond milk has only about 1 g of protein, whereas cow’s milk contains 8 g. A serving of almond milk has only 2.5 g of fat, similar to the amount in low-fat cow’s milk. Almond milk contains no saturated fats, nor does skim fat-free cow’s milk. Whole milk, on the other hand, has 8 grams of fat, of which about 5 grams are saturated fat. Almond milk is not a source of dietary fiber (4).
How to make almond milk at home?
- 1 cup (50z/142g) almonds, raw unsalted
- 4 cups (32floz/900ml) filtered or purified water
- Soak the almond in water for about 8 hours at room temperature.
- Drain the water and rinse the almonds under cold running water in a colander.
- Blend the almonds with some water at high speed for about 1-2 minutes or until smooth and milky. A little bit of foam on top is natural.
- Filter the almond milk using a tea towel or a but bag and collect the filtrate in a bowl.
- Transfer the milk to an air-tight glass jar, bottle, or pitcher and store it in the fridge for about 4-5 days.
- Flavor your almond milk with a pinch of cinnamon or a dash of vanilla extract.
Benefits of almond milk
Lactose intolerance is not a rare occurrence. About 65-75 % of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. In such an unusual situation, opting for plant-based milk such as almond milk is a wise choice. Most people are born with the ability to digest lactose, the major carbohydrate in milk and the main source of nutrition until weaning. Approximately 75% of the world’s population loses this ability at some point, while others can digest lactose into adulthood (5).
According to the USDA, a single cup of almond milk provides 36.6 calories while the same volume of skim milk contains 83 calories. Most of the commercial plant milk brands sell fortified almond milk. Unsweetened, unflavored almond milk is typically low calorie, which may be appropriate for adults trying to lose weight (4).
Fortified almond milk contains added vitamin D, calcium, and protein to improve its nutritional profile and is essential for bone and tooth development in children and adolescents (4). This is an important point since most plant-based foods are not as good sources of calcium as dairy-based products.
You can find various versions of almond milk in the market. Each type of brand or variety of almond milk provides a different kind of value to attract the customers into buying more products. Commercial brands of almond milk are made from filtered water and almonds, vitamin and mineral blends, salt, and food additives, such as gums, ascorbic acid, sunflower lecithin, among others. Sweeteners and flavors may also be added (4).
You should opt for the one with no added sweeteners or favors especially if you are looking out for weight gain or if you are concerned with your health.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you substitute regular milk for almond milk?”, and what things you need to consider when cooking with almond milk?
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