So you’re dairy-free/vegan, and you’re overwhelmed – in a good way – by the current state of supermarket shelves and fridges, piled high with many milk alternatives. Hazelnut, almond, soy, rice… you name it, it’s been milked sans an udder.
If you’re hoping to veganise a recipe, or are simply wondering what the best milk is for your morning bowl of cornflakes, I have compiled a mini guide below to avoid you from using hemp milk (sweetened, to add to the injury) when making some Yorkshire pudding.
Specific brands I have used:
- Almond milk – various (sweetened & unsweetened)
- Soya milk – various (sweetened & unsweetened)
- Coconut milk – Koko (not to be confused with the fuller fat (and canned) version often used in cooking), Rebel Kitchen
- Rice milk – various (unsweetened)
- Hemp milk – Braham and Murray (sweetened)
- Oat milk – (home-made)
CEREALS/PORRIDGE: Any alt milk
The majority of sweetened/unsweetened alt milks around will mesh well with your breakfast bowls; I am convinced that many of the product developers have breakfasts in mind. There are many syrups and dried fruit options around if you’re using the unsweetened version. I am not a big fan of anything sugary – natural or artificial – so bananas tend to be my saviour.
Just a note: unsweetened rice milk is naturally sweet (due to the sugars released when being processed), so may be more preferable for those with a sweet tooth.
Why not try this baked peanut butter porridge?
COFFEE: Hemp milk (5-star combination), Rice milk, Oat milk, Coconut milk
The day I discovered the coffee and hemp milk combination, my world was shattered. I am not a caffeine fiend, but I never realised how I missed a creamy mug of coffee since going dairy-free! Soya milk or almond milk options previously have not come close to the real thing. Enter some hemp milk – it tastes better than any milk or cream (even the lactose-laden stuff) with coffee. I urge you to try it, so someone can rave about it with me.
Rice milk and oat milk both come close, whilst coconut milk is for those who do not mind a hint of coconut in their coffees.
TEA: Almond milk
The UHT almond milk I buy works well with most teas. Admittedly, these ‘almond milks’ contain very little nuts, but I think the rather high water content works well with many teas. The lack of creaminess of many shop-bought almond milks is not an issue for a good cuppa. Earl Grey and almond milk is a particularly great blend.
HOT CHOCOLATE: Almond milk, Hemp milk, Rice milk, Coconut milk
Both almond and hemp milks create a delicious mug of hot chocolate. For a creamier cup, opt for hemp milk. I recommend using almond milk when using flavoured hot chocolate – such as a spiced version.
My chocolate and cardamom hot chocolate goes well with almond milk.
SMOOTHIES: Any alt milk
But it depends what flavour you are after. Almond milk is a safe bet as it goes well with many flavour combinations, whereas hemp and soya milk tend to have a specific taste, which is evident when blended with fruit.
If you’re looking for a rich, protein-filled, creamy smoothie, hemp milk works well. If you’re adding other flavours to the mix, such as maca powder or some cocoa/cacao, then almond/soya may be more suitable.
Try adding some alt milk to this banana protein smoothie.
SAVOURY DISHES: Almond milk, Soya milk (unsweetened versions)
These have worked the best for any savoury dishes I have used them in – pancakes, white sauce, and mash. Both almond and soya milk do not have such a strong flavour which can dominate a dish (unlike hemp milk). They do not release sugars either when processed (as rice tends to).
Try some savoury pancakes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
BAKING: Any alt milk
As with cereals and porridge, any of the alternative milk products will suffice. The other ingredients you’re using will (most likely) mask the flavours of the milk, anyway.
I love both almond and oat milk! Oat milk is the best as it is the cheapest by far (when home-made), and requires no soaking or high-powered blenders. Plus, it is nut-free and naturally gluten-free!
I hope this helps those who may be choosing what dairy-free milk alternatives they’d like to try. I’ve tried an extensive range, but I am still yet to try hazelnut milk.
What are your favourite non-dairy milk alternatives? Let me know below!