Baking for a child with an allergy or intolerance can be daunting, but it is certainly not impossible and there are lots of great blogs and websites now providing wonderful recipes and suggestions for ingredient alternatives to use in your baking. Here are some top tips for avoiding dairy, eggs and gluten when baking from our infant nutrition expert, Alice!
If Avoiding Dairy…
- Substitute milk with almond or coconut milk
- Replace yoghurt for a non dairy yoghurt like coconut yoghurt.
- Swap out buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp of lemon juice to almond or coconut milk and let it sit for a few minutes before using.
- Substitute butter with an oil such as coconut, rice bran, olive oil or a vegetable oil.
If Avoiding Eggs….
There are a few options, each have slightly different binding and texture effects and work differently with different recipes.
- Mashed banana: around ½ a banana equals 1 egg. This is good for sweetening and binding muffins or breads
- Pureed Fruit: Stewed apple is a good choice but any thick fruit puree will work. 1/4 cup of pureed fruit can replace each egg.
- Chia seeds. Use 1tbsp chia seeds soaked for five minutes in 3 tbsp water for each egg. As they are rich in soluble fibre they are great for binding in recipes
- Flaxseeds. Similar to chia – use 1tbsp soaked in 3tbsp water for each egg
- Starches – cornflour, potato starch or tapioca starch can be used. Use 1tbsp mixed with 2tbsp water. Add 1/4 tsp baking powder to create a lighter texture.
- Psyllium husks. Another great fibre rich option – 2tsp in 2tbsp water will work for each egg
If Avoiding Gluten
Commonly used gluten free alternatives*
There are a wide variety of wheat free alternatives to try in baking, with many people creating a mix of various substitutes. It often comes down to doing a bit of experimenting and looking to see what has worded for others. Often wheat free flours do not rise as much, and its harder to achieve the lightness/moisture ration that wheat flours can create - but do a bit of experimenting and check out the guide below to advise you on good different flours for different types of bakes.
Here are some flour alternatives you can use (there are other mixes available that you can also try), but generally it is worth keeping in mind that it is hard to achieve the same texture and consistency as wheat flour, but you can still make delicious recipes with the below.
- Rice flour: A light flour; good for cakes, biscuits and pastry, but can be quite dry so a good idea to mix with a little ground almonds for some moisture.
- Cornflour: A light flour, good for cakes, biscuits and pastry, but can be quite dry so a good idea to mix with ground almonds for some moisture (makes great brownies).
- Ground almonds: contain oil and therefore give a rich flavour as well as retaining moisture. They have a distinctive flavour so only use a small percentage in cakes and biscuits if you don’t’ want the almond flavour to come through. They also coarsen the texture of recipes if used in higher percentages.
- Arrowroot powder: A good binding flour when mixed with liquid. Can thicken sauces, can leave a dry sensation in the mouth.
- Potato flour: Good for binding and moistening recipes. Great in batters or bread dough. Can be quite heavy so can mix with lighter flours such as corn flour or arrowroot powder.
- Tapioca flour: Good for absorbing liquid and keeping food moist, again quite a heavy flour.
- Coconut flour: Rich in protein and fibre, however it cannot be substituted straight for other flours, it is incredibly absorbent and needs a lot of moisture and often more eggs, therefore look up specific recipes rather than replacing existing recipes.
- Soya Flour: Has a strong flavour and darker colour so this is a good flour to use in mixes, but not using a lot. On plus points when mixed with lighter flours it retains some moisture and flavour.
- Buckwheat flour: Has some binding properties, but it has a much stronger flavour and darker colour than other flours. Makes great pancakes!
Gluten Free Baking Tips
- Because wheat free baking does not rise as much, using a wheat free flour benefits from a slightly longer cook at a lower temperature (around 25 degrees should do it).
- Adding an additional egg to the recipe will also help it rise a little more.
- If making a dough of some type (e.g. biscuit or pastry) give yourself time to put the dough in the fridge for half an hour, this is though to help improve its texture and rise.
- Whilst you can make a mean wheat free cake, wheat free flours tend to be a bit more crumbly, so bakes with a smaller surface area such as cupcakes or biscuits are a little less accident prone!
- Adding a bit of pureed fruit such as sugar free apple sauce is a great way to help keep a bake moist and add natural sweetness.
- I like to add a bit more spices or the flavours of the recipe to my gluten free versions, some flours seem to ‘absorb’ more of the flavour, so I add a little extra spice or desiccated flour, vanilla essence or fruit than the recipe suggests to help with flavour and moisture.
Recipes that translate well into gluten-free versions are those that are quite dense or juicy, so those containing lots of fruit or veg (savoury muffins, banana bread, carrot cake)
Discover our recipe for gluten & dairy-free pancakes here!