Although I am not vegan, I drink almond milk. I have never liked the taste of cow’s milk and in fact, have always found it very strange that adults and children, weened from their Mother’s breast (or bottle), continue to drink another mammal’s milk. Why? Because the Doctor’s make us think it’s the only route for calcium. Bull-oney. Many vegetables have calcium. Don’t get me wrong though, I do use Shatto (locally farmed) whole milk in some of my baking, and I consume other dairy products as well.
Anyway, because I try as much as I can to avoid preservatives and other additives store bought brands may have, I decided to make my own almond milk. In the long run, it’s also a money saver- that is, once you endure the cost of buying the raw almonds themselves. But a little goes a long way.
I found my almond milk recipe amidst the pages of one of my favorite cookbooks “the gluten-free & dairy-free kitchen” on page 173. Because many people have requested this recipe from me, I decided to share it here. Tried & True.
dairy milk alternative
Total prep time for this recipes between 6 and 12 hours, depending on how long the almonds are soaked. Then the total preparation time is 15 minutes.
* Soaking bowl
* Measuring cup
* Bowl for catching milk
* Container for milk
* 1 cup raw almonds, soaked for 10-12 hours
* 4 cups water
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon date syrup (page 189), brown rice syrup, or maple syrup (optional)
1. Using a colander, drain the soaked almonds and rinse under cold water. (I sometimes mix the reserve water with my required 4 cups of water.)
2. In a blender, combine almonds, water (I recently cut my water down to 3 1/2 cups), and optional ingredients (if so desired). Cover the blender and whirl the mixture at top speed until creamy, about 1 minute.
3. Line a fine- mesh sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth, then place sieve over/ into a larger bowl.
4. Pour the almond mixture into the strainer (I only pour and work with half of the mixture at a time) and allow it to fully drain.
5. According to the recipe, it says about 5 minutes, but I gage it, then gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and squeeze the mixture to extract any remaining liquid.
*Reserve the pulp for another use, such zucchini or banana bread, or the “flop” snicker doodles I made that have been degraded to snicker nibbles. (I will share my mistakes with images in a future post.)
6. Transfer the milk to a glass container ( I use a canning jar) with a tight fitting lid, and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Note: the almond milk will fast pungenty after about 3 days.
Useful tips, slightly edited, that I found online at Everyday Minerals:
* First, remember this will not taste like store bought almond milk since there are not any additives. (The Everyday Minerals author highly recommends to add a sweetener to taste. I however, never use sweetener to keep my options open for what I use the milk for.)
* To make creamier almond milk, add 1 teaspoon of walnut or almond oil. (I have not tried this yet.)
* Try experimenting with different flavors when blending the vanilla, water, and almonds. Some options might include: 1 banana and nutmeg, ½ cup pureed strawberries, ¼ cup of carob powder or melted chocolate. (Interesting, but this becomes more a smoothy with some of the ingredients.)
* You can make thicker almond milk by adding less water. Keep in mind that this will produce less milk and it will be harder to strain.
* If you do not have a cheesecloth, a strainer can be used instead. (I have done this, however your final product will be grittier.)
Some final words:
If you make this recipe, I would love to hear your feedback, along with any twists or turns you took to alter, refine, and personalize.
Oh and voila!, here is the smoothie I made this morning with my home made almond milk, mixed frozen berries, a banana, 1 TBS flax meal, and Brown Cow brand Maple Yogurt.