Almond Milk vs Milk: Which Bakes the Best Muffin?

almond milk mini muffins

Almond milk muffins on right have orange sprinkles on top; remaining are dairy milk

A recent online search yielded almost zero results for the difference in baking performance between almond milk and regular dairy milk, or the difference between rice milk and dairy milk. Most company web sites or blogs note that alternative milk beverages such as almond, soy and rice can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio, but they give no details on the potential outcome differences in the baked products, like muffins. However, a quick glance at the differences in nutritional content between the beverages led me to believe there might be small variances in the final baked products:

1% dairy milk Almond Milk Rice Milk
Protein 8 gm 1 gm 1 gm
Fat 2. 5 gm 2.5 gm 2.5 gm
Carbohydrates 12 gm 8 gm 23 gm
Calories 100 cal 60 cal 120 cal

With the help of a talented dietetic intern with whom I have the opportunity to mentor, (and who first did research on almond milk vs. regular milk in baking) I baked up a couple batches of milk or alternative milk containing muffins. Then we asked folks at the office of a food-company where my intern works to taste-test the muffins on acceptability characteristics. This is not formal research, but the folks at the food company are accustomed to doing taste-tests; so the results can probably viewed with some validity:

1% Dairy Milk Almond Milk Rice Milk
Appearance  Raised highest; lightest color; smooth top  Light color; smooth top  Slightly more golden; cracked top
Texture  Moist; tender crumb  Light, fluffy texture; fairly tender crumb  Crumbly; dry; almost gritty
Taste  Could taste ingredients including eggs  Subtle almond flavor  Sweetest flavor; slight bitter aftertaste of baking powder

As you can see, there are certainly differences in milk vs alternative milk beverages. In terms of overall performance, regular dairy milk performed the best – with higher rising, better moistness, and a as a blank slate for flavor additions; this is potentially due to protein levels 8 times higher than other beverages. Almond milk added a very slight nutty flavor to the muffins which could be a pleasant addition to some baked good; the slightly drier texture could be remedied by under-baking the product by a few minute or by adding juicy ingredients like berries. With twice the number of carbs as the other beverages, it’s not surprising the rice milk muffins had the sweetest flavor – and the driest (almost grainy) texture; thus when baking with rice beverage, the amount of added sugar could likely be reduced by a couple tablespoons.

Stay tuned…I plan to repeat this kitchen experiment with other baked goods!

Have you had differing results with dairy milk vs alternative milk beverages?

almond milk mini muffins

Almond Milk Muffins

Makes 12 mini muffins + 8 regular muffins

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk, almond milk, soy milk or rice milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Grease bottoms of 12 mini muffin cups and 8 regular-size muffin cups (2 1/2x1 1/4 inch) with non-stick cooking spray, or line muffin cups with paper baking cups.
  2. In large bowl, beat milk, oil, sugar, and eggs with whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients just until flour is moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups using a small scoop for smaller muffins and a large scoop (like ice cream scoop) for the larger muffins.
  3. Bake mini muffins 9 minutes and regular muffins 14 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan. Serve warm.
http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/04/almond-milk-muffins/

Above recipe updated from Spiced Lemon Muffins.
almond milk mini muffins

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Comments

  1. Pancakes stick to the plate when made with coconut milk-beverage (not the canned stuff).

  2. This is great! I’ve been using almond milk exclusively lately while I can’t have any dairy or soy due to my baby’s intolerance. I’ve been curious about this same thing. Thanks!

  3. I’ve had great success substituting oat milk in baking. I usually add a 1/2 tsp of baking soda.

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