Quarantine kitchen swaps: What to substitute for milk in baked goods

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There’s no use crying over spilled milk or baking mistakes during the coronavirus pandemic. Home chefs can rest assured that there’s plenty of practical substitutes, as well as more shelf-stable alternatives, if you’re out of milk during the next big baking project.

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If you’re visiting the supermarket less frequently during the COVID-19 outbreak or your local grocer runs out of your preferred milk variety, there are several alternatives that will still yield a fantastic recipe, according to Rebekah Ziesmer, the development chef for Conagra Brands.

Home chefs can rest assured that there’s plenty of practical substitutes, as well as more shelf-stable alternatives, if you’re out of milk during the next big baking project.

Home chefs can rest assured that there’s plenty of practical substitutes, as well as more shelf-stable alternatives, if you’re out of milk during the next big baking project. (iStock)

Ziesmer works on the innovative culinary team at Conagra and previously served as a sous chef for one of Chicago’s top chefs. In her current role, she also works on recipe and product development, while managing the test kitchen.

To shop smart in advance, Ziesmer recommends keeping alternative ingredients that don’t require refrigeration in supply.

“I have powdered/dry milk and cans of evaporated milk in my pantry. Both can be used in place of milk,” the chef suggested.

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Still in a pinch? Not a problem, Ziesmer said – just get digging in the refrigerator for other dairy-based options.

“Other dairy products, like yogurt or sour cream, can also be used thinned out with water,” she explained. “If nothing else, water can always be used, in which case I would recommend upping the butter in the recipe.”

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Feeling inspired? Try your hand at whipped strawberry milk, or go dairy-free altogether with a “depression cake” — no milk necessary.