The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Non-Dairy Milks

EileenFrances's picture

Non-Dairy Milks

My favorite bread recipe calls for 1 2/3 cups milk, 6 cups whole wheat four, 1/2 cup wheat germ, and 1/2 cup cooked wheat berries, among other things like butter and honey. This is a delicious, but heavy bread.

 I want to substitute a non-dairy milk for the cows milk. But since I am not sure of the science behind milk's role in bread-making, I'm not sure of the effect of the substitution. Does it make a difference if I substitute almond milk vs. soy milk?  Would water be the best substitute?

The recipe calls for scalding the milk. I guess I wouldn't have to scald almond or soy milk. 

Would substituting non-dairy milk affect the way the bread holds together?  It's shelf life?  Etc.?

Heath's picture

I've done other baking with soy milk, and found no noticeable difference in the end results.

I haven't tried non-dairy milk with bread, but I shouldn't think it would affect the outcome very much.  The best thing to do will be to try it and see.  I'm sure the results will be perfectly edible even if slightly different than using cow's milk.

I don't think you have to scald non-dairy milk.

suave's picture

I would say - try it with water for starters.  Cut down the amount to cup and a half and you should be fine. 

Antilope's picture

as a substitute for powdered milk in my bread recipes that call for powdered milk. I haven't noticed any difference. I use the coffee creamer because I usually have it on hand and I don't usually stock powdered milk.

Greg D's picture
Greg D

I am definitely not a "food police" kind of guy, but virtually all non-dairy coffee creamer has hydrogenated fats in it.  Hydrogenated fats have recently been banned by the FDA but will be on grocery store shelves for a while.  If you avoid dairy for religious reasons or because you are a vegan, then I would use water.  Otherwise, powdered milk has a shelf life of a million years (give or take) and is extremely easy to use in bread recipes.

Happy Baking.

Antilope's picture

and let me know what other ingredients I am using that you have an issue with? If that isn't the Food Police, I don't know what is.

Petek's picture

In Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, she has this to say about making (whole wheat) bread with soy milk:


If the soymilk is not first-day fresh, however, it can make a truly weighty loaf, because even in the refrigerator the brew develops a lively population of bacteria. To subdue them, bring the soymilk to a boil, and then cool it before you use it in the dough.

I've made her recipe for soymilk bread (similar to your recipe, but without the wheat germ and berries) many times without problems. I use the soymilk that comes in shelf-stable boxes and have never boiled it. However, I do use the soymilk right after opening the box. Not sure whether or not that counts as being "first-day fresh."

clazar123's picture

I guess I just didnt know any better. I have always just done a straight substitution of almond or soy milk.

Your recipe sounds like it could use more hydration. Increasing the liquid and allowing some time for the whole grains to absorb the liquid wi ll make a moister loaf.