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Dairy-Free Muffins

Asked by alecud. Answered on 27th August 2012

Full question

Hello! A number of delicious-sounding Nigella muffin recipes require runny yogurt (e.g. the Apple Cinnamon Muffins in Kitchen). I am lactose intolerant so I was wondering if I could make the muffins with soya yogurt instead? Do you think it would work? Thanks!

Our answer

When yogurt is used in muffin batters it adds liquid to the mixture and also a small amount of fat and acidity. The acidity is important as if the muffin recipe only contains bicarbonate of soda then it needs the acidity to trigger the chemical reaction that will create air bubbles and make the muffins rise.

Soya yogurt will also work in the same way so should be fine to use as a substitute. If the yogurt is thick then you can thin it a little with some soya milk or lactose-free milk.

In the last couple of years lactose-free dairy products have become easier to find in supermarkets the UK and the US and you may be able to find a plain lactose-free yogurt. It is also possible to make your own yogurt using lactose-free milk and a non-dairy yogurt "starter" (which can be found in health food stores and on-line). It is also worth mentioning that some people who are lactose intolerant can tolerate regular yogurt as the lactose levels are slightly lower and live bacteria plus other enzymes in yogurt can make the lactose more digestible for those with an intolerance. However we would not advise using regular yogurt in baking if you cannot tolerate it normally.

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