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The GFCF Experience GFCF Guide: Casein Free Substitutions

Posted Dec 09 2010 4:25pm
I'd rather see you drink a glass of wine than a glass of milk.
~Jack LaLanne

This final installment of the GFCF Experience GFCF Guide has to do with casein free substitutions. This list has actually been present on the blog almost since its inception; however, I am updating this by adding some of my favorite CF products.

First and foremost: if you have any questions whatsoever about casein free or dairy free products, there is no better resource than Alisa Fleming at Go Dairy Free . She is to me the most extensive and most authoritative dairy free resource on the web.

Just remember - dairy free does not necessarily mean casein free.

Now - on to some products!

CF Milk

Much like GF flours, there seem to be more and more CF milk products coming onto the market. The most common CF milk is probably soy milk, and in my house that is what is typically used with cereal and for drinking (which, admittedly, my kids do not do often). For baking, I like using almond milk. Of course, if you have issues with soy or nut allergies, then these won't work for you. But there is always rice milk, or coconut milk, or hemp milk, among other options.

One that is not an option - goat's milk, which, like cow's milk, contains casein.

One additional caution - some milk alternatives, such as Rice Dream, are not GFCF. So please be sure to read labels and/or contact the manufacturer if you are not sure about a product.

CF Butter

I am sure there are several CF butter products available, but for my money, one stands out, and that is Earthbalance . Earthbalance make vegan butter substitutes that come in a tub (including now a soy free version) as well as buttery sticks for use in baking. They taste great, you can use them if you want to fry things in butter - I highly recommend these products.

CF Sour Cream/Cream Cheese

Both Tofutti and Follow Your Heart make good sour cream and cream cheese substitutes. I have used both without any problems.

CF Cheese

Now we get to the most challenging of products. Cheese has been the most difficult product to replace, and one where you need to be cautious. A lot of "dairy free" cheese products on the market, especially those that are shredded, still contain casein, often in the form of sodium caseinate. So it is doubly or triply important you read the labels when looking for a cheese substitute.

Once you find a true GFCF cheese, then another problem arises - taste. Many GFCF cheeses have to me (and my kids) an aftertaste, or flavoring that just does not taste good. This is especially true with things like cheddar substitutes. Perhaps your tastes will be different.

Nonetheless, there is one CF cheese that we love - the Vegan Gourmet mozzarella made by Follow Your Heart. It has little if any aftertaste, it does melt (though it can take a while), and it comes in an 8 oz. block that is easily shredded using a grater. Our biggest success with it has been making homemade GFCF pizza.

Casein Free Substitutions

Finally, here is a list of casein free substitutions you can use in recipes. Most of these come from Jane Zukin, author of The Dairy Free Cookbook.

If the Recipe Calls For

1 cup milk

Substitute With

1 cup CF milk OR
1/2 cup CF milk + 1/2 cup water OR
1/2 cup juice + 1/2 cup water OR
1 cup water

If the Recipe Calls For

1 cup milk (for baking)

Substitute With

1 cup water + 2 tbsp CF margarine

If the Recipe Calls For

1 cup milk (for yeast dough)

Substitute With

1 cup ginger ale

If the Recipe Calls For

1 cup buttermilk

Substitute With

1 cup CF milk + 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
NOTE: let stand for at least 5 minutes before using.

If the Recipe Calls For

1 cup sour milk

Substitute With

same as buttermilk

If the Recipe Calls For

light cream

Substitute With

CF milk

If the Recipe Calls For

whipping cream

Substitute With

CF whipping cream (most likely soy-based) OR
meringue OR
see recipe below

If the Recipe Calls For

sour cream

Substitute With

CF sour cream (Tofutti) OR
CF Yogurt OR
mayonnaise + 1 tbsp sugar

If the Recipe Calls For

cream cheese

Substitute With

CF cream cheese (Tofutti) OR

CF Whipping Cream

This recipe was listed at
1/2 cup CF milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil
1 tbsp honey
pinch of salt

In a blender, combine CF milk and vanilla. Keep blender running and drizzle in the oil until the mixture becomes very think. Blend in the honey and salt.

GFCF Condensed Milk

3 cups CF Milk
1/2 cup sugar
GF vanilla
pinch of salt

Place milk and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the volume is reduced to 1 cup. Add salt and GF vanilla to taste. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

CF Evaporated Milk

CF evaporated milk is made by putting CF milk in a saucepan and cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the volume is reduced by half. Cool before using.

I hope this GFCF Guide Series has been helpful to those of you starting out GFCF, and to the more experienced GFCFers as well.

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