If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m a fan of butter — it’s one of the few dairy products I still eat despite being lactose-intolerant. But lately my stomach hasn’t been happy, and one night after eating a piece of buttered toast, it really wasn’t happy. So I decided to experiment with trying a dairy-free alternative.
I first heard of Earth Balance when I was enjoying a delicious vegan cupcake at Big Sugar Bakeshop and asked what they used in place of butter. Earth Balance is made of vegetable oils, like margarine. But unlike traditional margarine, Earth Balance doesn’t use hydrogenated oils– you know, the “trans fats” that are so bad for you.
I bought the Organic Whipped Buttery Spread, since I mostly intended to use it on toast and other bread products. Indeed, as a spread, it works beautifully and tastes very much like butter, although a little less full and complex. It’s great for making garlic bread.
The label says you can also use it to fry, sauté, and bake. I haven’t used it to sauté or bake yet, but I have used it for frying eggs. Here’s a photo of a Dairy-Free Egg McMuffin I made. I toasted an English muffin and spread Earth Balance on it. Then I melted a slice of Go Veggie non-dairy cheese on one half. Inside the sandwich is an egg, fried over-easy in Earth Balance, and two breakfast sausage links.
This egg turned out pretty well compared to some of the others. The verdict: Butter works way better for frying. When Earth Balance melts in the pan, it becomes thin and acts pretty much like olive oil would. The result is that my eggs would usually stick to the pan and burn around the edges.
So I’m going to continue using Earth Balance for spreading, and stick (no pun intended) with butter for cooking. When I finally get around to making some baked goods with Earth Balance, I’ll post an update!