almond milk instead of dairy whole milk (muffins)

Discussion in 'Cakes' started by Rebecca Elizabeth, Jul 17, 2018.

  1. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Rebecca Elizabeth Active Member

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    Hi! I found a muffin recipe, it calls for whole milk, but I am trying to be vegan. I hate the taste of milk anyways, so if I bought regular milk it would just go to waste. So, if I used almond milk instead, besides the extra flavor, would it still work? The muffins are "orange almond blueberry".
     
    Rebecca Elizabeth, Jul 17, 2018
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  2. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Hello Rebecca,
    I saw your original post on the substitutions you are going to make to the muffins, but did not comment as I did not want to discourage or overwhelm you with information. But since you are posing the question again, I see you are committed to approaching baking with remarkable forethought. So kudos to you.

    Baking is all science. It is a chemical reactions between ingredients and added temperature (BTW, always think of temperature as an ingredient).

    Milk provides hydration, fat, and protein, so if you substitute the milk for a non-dairy liquid, you have to consider how the absence of these elements will effect your structure, texture, and flavor.

    Almond milk is really a misnomer since almond milk is really ground almonds tossed in water and then strained. Given its water content, on the hydration side, you are probably okay. You may in fact have a bit more hydration than needed given the almond flour issue, but more on that in a minute.

    The milk fat helps to tenderize; the sugars to brown; and the proteins to add structure, so you have to think about what you might add to counter the absence of these elements when substituting the milk.

    A lack of fat will produce a drier and tougher texture. To counter that, you might add a little extra fat.

    Browning from the absence of milk sugars might not be a probably since you are probably adding granulatedsugar to the batter.

    Structure might be affected for lack of milk protein. But also for the other substitution you mentioned. Going back to your original post for a minute; you mentioned you did not have a food processor to grind the almonds into flour. Almond flour behaves differently than chopped almonds. Almond flour will provide structure when its mixed with liquid. So if you use chopped almonds instead of almond flour, the structure will also be weakened.

    You mentioned separating 2 eggs; I assume you will use the whites only. If that is the case, you may want to use one of the yolks to address both your potential fat and structure issues from the substitution of the milk and use of chopped almonds instead of almond flour.

    Yolk adds fat, protein, and it's a binder.

    Is adding a yolk a sure fix for the potential issues? I do not know. The best we can do as bakers is use our understanding of the science to make educated approaches to our baking projects. Even the most experienced bakers work recipes multiple times before they achieve the results they want. So please don't be discouraged if the recipe isn't quiet perfect. We learn something from each experiment. I've been baking going on 20 yrs and still carry some of my experiments out the backdoor to the trash.

    Do keep us posted on your baking adventures.

    Regards

    Cate
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 18, 2018
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  3. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Rebecca Elizabeth Active Member

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    Thanks! I am going to use whole milk after all.
     
    Rebecca Elizabeth, Jul 19, 2018
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  4. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Ok Rebecca, let us know how it goes.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 19, 2018
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  5. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Rebecca Elizabeth Active Member

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    i will! :)
     
    Rebecca Elizabeth, Jul 19, 2018
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  6. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Rebecca Elizabeth Active Member

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    I baked them yesterday, they turned out great! :)
     
    Rebecca Elizabeth, Jul 22, 2018
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  7. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    :cool: I'm so glad to hear the muffins turned out so well! Do you have any other baking projects planned? I'm working on several recipes at once and converting some cake recipes to all purpose flour. The cakes are not going well:oops: Low and dense:(
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 22, 2018
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  8. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Rebecca Elizabeth Active Member

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    Thanks! I am going to NY next Monday to see my brother. I am making rasberry blondies with dark chocolate chunks to bring for my family.

    As for the muffins, I used my smoothie maker to grind the almonds. I mixed the wet ingredients together and the dry ingredients and then combined them and put the blueberries in last. Then I made flowers out of sliced almonds as decoration.

    I am sorry your cake recipes aren't working. I've never done cakes, I am still a beginner. What things are you making besides cakes? What does low and dense mean? Do they taste good?
     
    Rebecca Elizabeth, Jul 22, 2018
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  9. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Well those Blondies sounds really delicious. I love the idea of mixing both raspberry and dark chocolate into a blondie. That’s very creative.

    You’re mixing method for your muffins is spot on. That’s exactly how you’re supposed to mix them. You’re mixing method for your muffins is spot on. That’s exactly how you’re supposed to mix them often. I like that you used almonds to decorate the tops too. How food looks is as important as taste. Studies have found that when food looks appetizing eaters report a more positive eating experience.

    For a beginner you are doing quite well. Improvising by using your smoothie maker to grind almonds was an excellent idea. A lot of advanced bakers keep unconventional tools in the kitchen. I purchased tools from Home Depot specifically for use in my kitchen.

    Most of my cakes are made with cake flour. Because cake flour is bleached and low in protein, it produces a cake that is soft and rises very high, a full 2”. The cakes are very soft and very light.

    But I am converting several cake recipes to use unbleached all purpose flour for someone who doesn’t have access to cake flour.

    The change in flour produces a cake that only rises 1”. So the cake is low and very heavy (dense) in texture. It’s more like a muffin than cake.

    I’ve run 4 tests, none of which I am happy with.

    I’m exploring a coffee house and bakery business opportunity, so I’ve been developing recipes toward that end. Croissants, baguettes, hand pies, and eclairs. Also coffee infused pastries, cakes, and confections.

    We are a long way from opening a shop, at least a year as there is soooo much to do.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Jul 22, 2018
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  10. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Becky Administrator

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    These sounds delicious! I love the sound of raspberry and dark chocolate in a blondie. Blondies are so sweet, they need something tart / bitter to balance it out. Glad to hear the muffins turned out well too! Sounds like you're on track to be a very good baker :)
     
    Becky, Jul 23, 2018
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  11. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Rebecca Elizabeth Active Member

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    Thanks! Yeah I have a bunch of recipe books and one that teaches theory/baking methods. I've never seen cake flour in grocery stores, whats the difference between cake flour and normal flour? Someday I want to make a triple layer alien cake, two of the cakes chocolate the other vanilla, covered with neon green frosting and put on sugar aliens to decorate and write "Happy Alien Party" on the top. But its way too advanced for now.
     
    Rebecca Elizabeth, Jul 23, 2018
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  12. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Lol, your alien cake idea reminds me of a cake a friend baked for Halloween . She shaped it like a dead rat; sliced it lengthwise and hollowed out the inside in the shape of the skeleton. She then made a rat shaped skeleton out of white chocolate and placed it inside the cake. She then sealed it up and iced. People at the party totally freaked out when they bit into the "bones". I thought that was the best Halloween cake ever!

    Your question on the differences between flours is an excellent question. Using the appropriate flour for the application is critical to success.

    The four most common flours in the grocery store are:
    all purpose flour
    bread flour
    whole wheat flour
    cake flour

    The difference between them is the percentage of protein content and flour treatment.

    all purpose flour will have a protein content of 10% - 11.7% depending on brand.
    Gold Metal and Pillsbury brands have the lower 10% protein and are bleached. These flours are more suited for cake, pie and tart crusts, delicate cookies like shortbread, muffins, and quick breads like banana nut bread.

    Gold Metal makes an all purpose unbleached flour with about 10% protein as well. It can also be used for the applications above. But because its unbleached, it will produce a coarser texture and heavy product.

    King Arthur Flour all purpose has 11.7% protein and is unbleached. The higher protein content and the unbleached flour makes it more suitable for dinner rolls, pizza crust, some muffins like bran muffins, sturdy cookies like chocolate chip and oatmeal, breads baked in loaf pans. This flour is too high in protein to make a good cake. The texture is coarse; the weight very heavy; the rise very low. The higher protein content means it will absorb more liquid that the lower protein flours. As such, it will make a very tough pie crust.

    Whole wheat flour is very high in protein and is always unbleached. Whole wheat flour is made by milling the entire wheat berry: bran, germ, and endosperm; hence the name "whole wheat." The all purpose flours are made with only the endosperm. Whole wheat flour will absorb an extraordinary amount of liquid. When baking with whole wheat you have to mix it with other flours as it will barely rise. You have to use 1:1 of water to flour as well because it absorbs so much liquid.

    Cake flour is milled from a wheat species that is naturally lower in protein. It is made from the endosperm only. It is finely milled and bleached. As such, it will not produce a lot of gluten when mixed into a batter. It also absorbs less water. So the cake texture is very fine; the weight is very light, the color is also light; and it is very soft. We refer to it as having a "short bite" meaning it does not need to be chewed much to eat. By contrast, baked goods that do not have a short bit are "chewy." Bread is "chewy" Cookies are "chewy".

    The type of flour you select for your baking projects depends on the characteristics of the baked good. Some times mixing flours is best. I routinely mix all purpose and bread flour for things like croissants and rolls.

    A lot of bloggers claim you can "make" cake flour by removing a couple of tablespoons of the all purpose flour and replacing it with cornstarch. That is completely bogus, you cannot make cake flour. First the issue is overall natural protein content. Adding two tablespoons of cornstarch is not going to reduce/dilute the protein content of all purpose flour. It just simply as the properties of cornstarch to the batter. And the properties of cornstarch is not desirable in cake.

    Cornstarch has extraordinary absorption capacity--far more than cake flour and all purpose flour. Cornstarch has incredible thickening properties when it absorbs moister and subjected to heat. The temperature in which cornstarch will thicken is 180°F - 210°F. The internal temperature of cake when it's done is between 205°F - 210°F depending on the type of cake. That is well within the thickening temperature of cornstarch. So adding cornstarch is going cause the cake to be thicker and heavier--the very opposite of what you want in a cake. If you cannot find cake flour, its better to use Gold Medal or Pillsbury all purpose flour than to add cornstarch.

    Cake flour is sold in boxes
    IMG_1375.JPG


    Because cake flour is finely milled and low in protein, if you squeeze it in the palm of your hand it will clump. Flour with higher protein will not clump like this. I transfer my flours to air tight containers after opening the packages. Some time the labels fall off the canisters. If I'm in doubt about the type of flour I will examine its color against other marked flours in my pantry and do the squeeze test to determine the type of flour.

    IMG_1379.JPG
     

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    Norcalbaker59, Jul 23, 2018
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  13. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Rebecca Elizabeth Active Member

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    thanks for the info!
     
    Rebecca Elizabeth, Jul 23, 2018
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  14. Rebecca Elizabeth

    Becky Administrator

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    Wow, what a great idea! I wanna try it :D
     
    Becky, Jul 24, 2018
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