We have not kept cow's milk in the house ever since we suspected a dairy allergy in our eldest son, Ryken. In the beginning of not knowing what was causing Ryken's horrendous eczema, we opted for rice milk so we could avoid dairy, soy, and all the other top allergens. Once I figured out that soy was not a problem for Ryken I quickly hunted for a good soy milk. I wanted something that had some richness and fat to it and rice milk just wasn't doing it for us outside of a cereal bowl.
I've tried many a brand of soy milk and my all-time favorite is Soy Dream Original. It's delicious as a stand-alone drink or in recipes that call for milk. I use it in both sweet and savory dishes.
Soy Dream Original has 4 grams of fat so it has some creamy body to it and some fat for my super-skinny kids. (Are all dairy-allergic kids super-skinny, I wonder?) The enriched version that we buy provides 35% of the recommendation daily allowance for calcium. It is sweetened but just enough so that my kids think they are drinking a special vanilla treat. (My kids, sadly, will not touch unsweetened soy milk unless it's hidden in a bowl of cereal or baked into a recipe.) At 4 grams of sugar per one cup serving, it has just one-third of the sugar that cow's milk brands such as Horizon Organic contains.
Soy Dream Original also comes in shelf-stable packaging which means it will keep just fine without refrigeration as long as it remains unopened. This is great for stocking our pantry and relieving our already-crowded refrigerator although the package isn't recyclable so it's not great for the environment.
When cooking, simply substitute Soy Dream in place of cow's milk. Here are some other suggested substitutions using Soy Dream:
1 cup buttermilk = 1 Tbsp vinegar OR 1 Tbsp lemon juice + enough soy milk to fill 1 full cup. Let it curdle for 10 minutes.
1 cup heavy cream = 3/4 cup soy milk + 1/3 cup melted vegan margarine. Blend until emulsifies.
Basic white sauce
Makes 1 cup
1 cup Soy Dream Original
2 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp vegan margarine
1/2 tsp salt
Garlic powder and pepper to taste
- Mix corn starch with Soy Dream. Pour into small saucepan. Add margarine and seasonings.
- Cook over middle heat, stirring milk/corn starch mix constantly to prevent corn starch from clumping. Sauce will thicken. Reduce to low heat when it begins to bubble. Cook until it stops thickening.
- If the sauce is too thick for your liking, add a little more soy milk. If it's too thin, thoroughly mix 1 tsp corn starch with a little bit of soy milk, then pour into the heated mixture, stirring constantly so that the new cornstarch doesn't clump. You might want to take the pot off the heat while you're doing this.
- You can add more seasonings, nutritional yeast, or vegan cream cheese for a stronger-tasting cream sauce.
Besides its original soy milk, Soy Dream's product line includes flavored soy milk and frozen desserts. There are also rice milk and almond milk products sold under the same Dream label. Visit the Dream website for a printable coupon worth $1 off of 2 products.
Lastly, before diving into Soy Dream, read up on the growing controversy surrounding the use of processed soy products. Even though my family loves Soy Dream, the uncertainty over the long-term health effects of consuming soy is alarming to me. I am trying to use Trader Joe's Organic Whole Grain Milk in baked goods when possible (muffins and cakes work well) and to mix with Soy Dream so they aren't consuming as much soy.