Q: For recipes that require whole milk, can I sub lactose-free skim or use almond milk? I was thinking specifically about rice pudding.
Sent by Patti
Editor: Of course you can, but you'll be decreasing the overall amount of fat in the recipe, which will impact how it will taste and feel in your mouth. For a recipe like rice pudding, the whole milk is responsible for the creamy, round texture in the mouth and the distinct milky-sweet flavor. If you use skim milk or almond milk, expect a looser pudding as well. Less fat means less emulsification with the egg and sugar, so the pudding won't set up like it would with liquid with a higher fat content.
To ensure your pudding has a firmer texture, let it cook a while longer and stir frequently to encourage some of the starch from the rice to thicken the dish.
If you don't mind the flavor of coconut milk, it's a worthwhile substitution for whole milk in this instance, given its thicker texture and high fat content.