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  • Writer's pictureThe Bendy Baker

Buttah, Buttah and More Buttah

Updated: Mar 6

Okay, this post is broader than just butter and includes other types of dairy commonly used in baking.

I say often that my drive to learn to be a better baker was driven by my lengthy list of food allergies and sensitivities, combined with my love of really good baked goods.

Although I have broad sensitivity to fresh dairy, I'm very lucky that the churning process that produces butter lessens the impact on me. The aging processes in cheeses have a similar result and impact.

I say this, not because I am an "over-sharing information" type person, but to reinforce the significant value of understanding, in really granular ways, what are the food and ingredient triggers for you and the people you bake for.

Dairy allergies are common, let's explore alternatives.

Dairy substitutions:

When considering dairy substitutions in baking I think we have to hit a few required metrics:

  1. Taste

  2. Texture

  3. Performance - chiefly how it melts, releases steam

Liquid forms

I have a few basic (still, tried and true) replacements for the more liquid forms of dairy; milks, creams, and sour creams.

Oatly brand oat milk performs very well in a broad range of recipes as it has enough body and enough texture that you really can't tell it's not dairy. It comes in a few levels of fat - from low to high-fat - for a range of needs.

Native Forest brand has an excellent line of coconut milks, also with varying levels of fats, providing the full range of dairy substitutions for baking needs.

As an added bonus, you can add a splash of cider vinegar to coconut milk. It adds the tang you need for recipes calling for buttermilk or sour cream!


For the workhorse of the baking world, butter replacements are fundamentally important and signifiant in volumes/proportions in baking. I think there's an element of personal and brand preference along with your ingredient allergy and sensitivity requirements. Safety balanced with satisfaction.

I support doing your own comparison testing and relying on trusted sources, such as the one below, to help guide decisions.

Cream cheese

Lastly, an important building block in dairy substitutions is cream cheese.

Personally, I have not found a viable solution. The products I've tried simply don't perform or taste authentic enough for me to waste my time. I steer clear of any recipe needing the structure, stiffness and flavor of cream cheese and can often find other flavors, such as the zip of lemon or lime, to make me forget.

Kite Hill routinely gets great marks for its non-dairy cream cheese, made with almonds, providing great flavor and textures. If you can tolerate tree nuts, give it a try.

In the end, however, you are the one who needs to experiment and be happy with your choice of substitutions. Give yourself permission to experiment!


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Happy Bendy Baking!


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