What can I recommend as a butter/margarine substitute in baking for my clients that are allergic to milk and soy?

Butter or margarine needs to be replaced by another fat that is solid at room temperature. If it is replaced by liquid vegetable oil, the final product will have a different texture. It is important to clarify the client’s soy restriction. Many clients are able to consume soy oil and soy lecithin, because there is very little soy protein in these ingredients. The client’s physician may need to be contacted. If in doubt, restrict these ingredients.

Several options are listed below. With each, a 1:1 substitution can be used.

1) Shortening – most shortenings contain soy oil. If the client is avoiding soy oil, Spectrum Organic Shortening is made from 100% palm oil.

2) Coconut oil is widely available. It may give a slight coconut flavor, but that works well with most products.

3) Margarine – Milk-free margarine is available in most grocery stores. Fleishman’s Lactose free is one example. However, it contains soy oil and soy lecithin. If the client is avoiding these ingredients, Earth Balance Soy–Free spread is a good option.

Note: Clients that are avoiding minute quantities of their allergen must contact the company about cross contact. If a milk-free margarine is made on the same equipment as a regular margarine, the milk-free margarine may contain small amounts of milk protein. Some companies test each batch for milk proteins.

Posted in: Summer2013-Q&A