Milk substitutes in cooking
Have you ever started cooking something that requires milk and you realized that you had none? Well, if you're a mom with kids that love milk this could be a regular issue. This has happened to me many times over the years and I have found many solutions to the issue.
Heavy Cream or Whipping Cream
Heavy cream or whipping cream is my number one substitute for milk. It is sweeter than milk and thicker in consistency. You will probably have to thin it with water to use in cakes and breads, but it will work in just about anything requiring milk. It makes a great wash for southern fried chicken or chicken fried steak!
Half & Half or Buttermilk
Half & half or buttermilk seem like they would both be "no-brainers." The key thing is the flavor. Half & half is always my second best bet. It doesn't have sourness of buttermilk, but is not sweet like whipping cream. Buttermilk can be over-bearing and may not be such a good thing for a sweeter dish.
Sour cream is one of my favorite cooking ingredients. It has a rich, creamy consistency. It's flavor is milder than buttermilk or half & half but not as sweet as whipping cream or heavy cream. It can be used to help thicken a sauce but may require a roux to really thicken it up. I have also used sour cream in cakes, bisquits, cookies, gravy, breads, macaroni and cheese, stews, and pancakes.
Powdered Non-Dairy Creamer
Believe it or not, powdered non-dairy Creamer and water will do wonders if you are in a pinch. I have found that you can mix it for desired richness and to an extent a desired consistency. I have used it much like sour cream. So bake with it and make sauces. Just remember that this type of creamer is somewhat sweet, more like a whipping cream. Also baking can be very sensitive matter. You may have to try your recipe a couple times until you find the right substitute, especially in cakes as it may affect how your cake will rise.
Butter and Water
Butter and water can be used in place of milk in some situations. It does not have the consistency required to use as a substitute for milk in cake, many types of muffins, breads, or rolls. However, you can still pull off a great gravy, cheese sauce or something along those lines.