To Blend Or To Buy… That Is The Question When It Comes To Non-Dairy Milk
Well its not the only question but it is a good one.
So, I’ll start with “TO BUY”. There are a lot of fantastic options on the market. You can find some version of a nut/soy/hemp based dairy alternative in all grocery stores (Carrs, Safeway, Natural Pantry) and most places that sell food (Fred Meyer, Target, Walmart).
- Readily available
- No special equipment needed
- Don’t have to keep ingredients on hand
- Packaging that may or may not be recycled
- May have additives that you would like to avoid
- Only available during store hours
Now let’s get into the BLEND of it, which is the real reason for this writeup, to help provide some information and get you started making your own dairy alternatives. I started experimenting with making my own milks a while ago when I was following a recipe that called for macadamia milk. At the time this was not available in stores, at least not in Alaska, and I started getting curious about making my own. So now several years later I’d like to share what I have learned. To start let’s discuss equipment. You need some sort of a blender. I have used the Soyajoy, Ninja, and a Vitamix. All three of them work and all three of them are multipurpose. The Soyajoy works well and can blend hot or cold. It can also be used to process/cook things like soya beans and hot cereals. The Ninja blender also has enough power to make nut-based milks. With both of these blenders I think the end product comes out better if you soak the nuts. You can soak overnight or do a speed soak in very hot water. I also recommend that you use a nut-bag to filter the mixture to get a smoother/better mouth-feel end product. This is my favorite: https://elliesbest.com/collections/nut-milk-bags. If you don’t want to buy a nut-bag you can use any fine mesh cloth to do the same thing. I have really squeezed and twisted the living daylights out of the Ellies bag and never had a seam blowout. I saved all the nutmeal pulp and used it to make other things. Brownies come out delicious using your left-over nutmeal. An almond crusted tofu, or a cashew crust are all tasty. When making your own soy milk there are many recipes using the left over soy bean pulp, which is called Okara. I currently use a Vitamix and I am really happy with the results and one of the things I like the best is that I do not need to filter it at the end. It’s also a multipurpose blender and can do hot and cold final products. A benefit of blending at home is that you significantly reduce the amount of containers you need to either recycle or throw away. However, you do need a container to save your homemade milk in. I use a larger mason jar. The other items you will need are whatever grains, seeds, nuts, or other items you would like to use for your creations.
- Make anytime you like / no need to go to the store
- The skies the limit for blends/flavors
- Significantly reduce your plastic/other cartons
- Requires a blender / other equipment
- Need to keep ingredients on hand
- No additives that you don’t want
- Less expensive
After trying Oatley milk I got obsessive about making a blend that was similar: Thick, tasted good in my coffee, and frothed up nice. This is the blend that I have been making and is in the pictures.
4 cups water – I like to use filtered, but tap works just fine
¼ cup muesli cereal – this provides the oats and the dates/raisins which add sweetness
¾ cup raw cashews – depending on blender you may want to soak your cashews so they blend better
- Put all into the blender:
- Vitamix: use the soup setting and hit go – the milk is done after the blend cycle
- Other blenders: blend until the mixture looks very well processed, no large particles visible, and then strain through a nut-bag/fine mesh cloth. I saved the leftover nut meal in the freezer in a small container until I had enough to make something else.
- Pour mixture back into the 16oz mason jar or other container with a lid
- Store in the fridge, lasts about 3-5 days
Side notes: this is a thick blend and works well foamed/frothed for your coffee. If you want to use it over cereal or for other recipes you may want to thin it with a little water. It has a mild sweet flavor, if you would like it sweeter you can try adding a few extra dates. So back to that macadamia milk in case you were wondering. I have a friend who loves macadamia milk and I made a version of the recipe above that works well and she really likes it:
- 4 cups water
- ¼ cup muesli
- ¼ cup cashews
- ½ cup raw macadamia nuts
I have only made this blend in the Vitamix as the Macadamia nuts are really course and hard to blend to a smooth consistency. I think this recipe is a good base for making other nut-based milks, just substitute the ½ cup for any other ingredient and blend. Some have used ½ cup ripe bananas in the mix and it makes a good base for making ice cream.
I hope this has inspired you to try to make your own milks and that if you do you share your recipes. Happy Blending!