Catering 101: Eliminating Dairy And Gluten From Your Menu

In today's society, there is an increased awareness about gluten and dairy intolerances. As a caterer, you need to know some recipes that can be created without dairy or gluten so you can provide safe, healthy meals for those who have special dietary needs. Here's a few things you can substitute in place of dairy or gluten in your recipes to create safe alternatives. 

Going Gluten Free? Try Rice Flour

When someone has a gluten intolerance, they can't eat any kind of gluten. That means that wheat and other forms of gluten can be damaging to their bodies and even result in serious side effects if they ingest it. 

Rice flour is one ingredient you can use to replace gluten. It cooks similarly to flour, and it can be used as a thickening agent for frozen or refrigerated recipes. 

There are two types of rice flour, brown and white. You can also purchase glutinous or non-glutinous rice flour. The difference is that glutinous flour is stickier after it's cooked, making it better for dishes that need to be held together. 

Eliminating Lactose

Lactose intolerance is not the same as a dairy intolerance. Lactose is a natural sugar that is found in milk, and it can cause stomach upset, headaches, cramps, and other unpleasant symptoms. 

To eliminate lactose from your catering menu, you have a few options. Some lactose-free alternatives are available on the market. For instance, lactose-free milk can be purchased at many local supermarkets. This milk is actually the same as the milk you'd normally buy, but the lactase enzyme has been added. The enzyme digests the lactose sugars, so those with an intolerance can digest the milk. 

This is an easy substitution, because the milk is exactly the same. The only thing you should be aware of is that because of the breakdown of the sugars, lactose-free milk can be sweeter than normal milk. 

Dairy-Free Alternatives

For those with true dairy allergies, it's both the lactose and caesin milk proteins found in milk. A true milk allergy can result in hives, trouble breathing, cramps, and even anaphylaxis, which could be deadly.

To help your clients who are allergic to dairy, look into alternatives such as rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. Each one has a different flavor, and they can be used to substitute milk in any recipe. 

These are a few tips for creating substitutions for wheat, dairy, and lactose. Try them, and you'll be surprised at how similar your foods taste. Talk to a professional like Pollard's Catering for more information.