Dairy Free Baking: Avoiding Salt Overload

cowsBefore I started the Elimination Diet, I frequently used unsalted butter for cooking and baking. Since I eliminated dairy from my diet, I’ve had to replace that with a dairy-free substitute. Olive oil is great for many tasks, but has a very different taste and different consistency, which limits its application. Unfortunately, many kinds of margarine contain dairy, including I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (which should be renamed I Can’t Believe It Still Has Dairy In It) and most kinds of Smart Balance.

I’ve found that Earth’s Balance margarine makes a pretty good substitute. I probably would not enjoy it plain on bread, although I never really buttered my bread in the first place. But it tastes pretty good melted inside a baked potato, which I consider the ultimate test. And unlike some margarines (ahem…I’m looking at you, Smart Balance), it does not smell like fish when melted.

I’ve used it successfully for all sorts of things like Rice Krispie treats, even though the recipe cautions you against doing so. But recently my brother attempted to make cookies with them and they came out with a sandy texture and REALLY REALLY salty.

This could be due to the fact that my brother is 12 years old. But he’s an experienced cookie baker and I’m pretty sure the margarine was the main culprit. I took a look at the package and 1 tbs of Earth’s Balance contains 120 mg of sodium. The sodium content in butter varies from none in unsalted butter to between 45 and 115 mg per tbs in salted butter, depending on the brand.

Next time I will try an Earth’s Balance shortening stick, which has no sodium. If I can’t find those in the grocery store, leaving any additional salt out of the recipe might help.

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