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Homemade Almond Milk
Creamy and luscious almond milk that is perfect as it is or with some cookies on the side. A vegan staple for any household and takes only a few minutes to make.
I never understood the fuss over Almond milk and its worldwide trend. I remember trying it out from a carton and absolutely detested it. There was a weird after taste and a chemical like flavor that refused to leave my palate. As time passed I wrote it off as I believed that it was purely artificial and made for a very terrible drink. Today, I make this milk at least once a week if not more and always have it on hand at home. So, what stitched the gap between then and now? I had to make Almond milk at home for my brother who couldn’t digest the carton “mylks”. This pushed me to understand not only how its made but play around to achieve a full bodied flavor of milk and not something that has an essence like taste with a diluted feel.
Hold up Annika, what is “Mylk”? Is it a typing error or something that really does exist? Why random reader, thank you for asking this very interesting and valid question. A “Mylk” is essentially a non dairy milk product including but not limited to all nuts, coconut, soy, hemp, etc. coming under the term of plant based liquids used as milk in cooking, baking and basic consumption.
The great thing about making your own nut mylk at home is the fact that you get to control the quality of the product. Also, it only needs two ingredients; almonds and water. Yes, you can totally add dates for sweetness, vanilla for a floral flavor and a pinch of salt to bring it all alive but the basics are nuts and water. When you buy any mylk from outside you are ingesting a certain amount of chemicals, stabilizers and preservatives that help elongate shelf life. I am not condemning the brands available as some of them are really good and have a delicious flavor however, there is some innate joy in making things from scratch at home and honestly, if it only requires a few minutes of your time and 2 ingredients I don’t think your pocket would mind you making it at home.
Why should you be making and drinking Almond Mylk though? It is plant based ensuring all vegans and plant based diets are sorted, low in calories making it great for those who are looking to lose weight and reduce calorie intake, it is low in sugar which is suitable for people with diabetes etc, high in Vitamin E & D enabling better skin a great antioxidant and helps reduce inflammation on the whole. I am not saying you should cut out regular milk from your diet and opt for this over night, I am saying it is a delicious drink worth making and substituting every now and then to add more nutrition and diversity to your diet if you don’t already have it included.
Even though this is a straight forward recipe there are a few pressure points that are worth mentioning. Let us start with the nuts. We are making almond milk and there are many types of almonds. I like using whole raw almonds with the skin. When I make the mylk I lightly dry roast the almonds for a deeper flavor. This is not essential by any means but I think it brings out the true almond flavor like any other nuts when heated, reason being the heat brings out the natural oils from the nuts making them stronger in flavor and more delicious.
Bringing me to my next pressure point, soaking the almonds. Now if you are going to roast them, let them cool down before you soak them, if not soak them directly. How important is it to soak your nuts before making the mylk? I think it is essential. This helps break down the structure of the nuts making them easier to digest and better to blend later ensuring a creamier textured mylk. Soaking the nuts in-turn saturates them which also reduces the almond pulp once strained. Almonds contain high levels of phytic acid which can mingle with the other minerals affecting the digestive process, soaking helps neutralize most of the phytic acid aiding in better nutritional content. Okay enough nerd talk.
If you choose not to soak the nuts and make the milk directly, the chances are you will have a more diluted product, increased almond pulp leftover and a bland flavor overall. It would still be edible but I would recommend you soaking it for at least 2 hours, I mean you aren’t doing anything for those hours, the water is doing everything for you. Some recipes allow you to boil the nuts until soft and then make the milk but in my opinion it dilutes the flavor. Speaking of flavor the ratio of nuts to water is important to achieve the creamy texture and whole rounded robust flavor. I have tweaked and worked around many variations before arriving at these quantities. I prefer not to add any flavor or sweetener however a little pinch of salt goes a long way.
The blending is very important as that is THE ONLY step which transforms your nuts into a mylk. You can do this in batches if you have a small blender but be patient and blend it well to ensure you have blended the nuts until smooth. You will need to strain the liquid as the pulp is grainy and to achieve that smooth milk like texture I like to use a cheese cloth with a strainer underneath which yields velvet like mylk. For the amount of liquid in this recipe, I usually strain the mixture in two batches. Also, do not throw the pulp out as you can let it dry out over a tray and use it make granola bars, cookies or even crackers. Store the mylk in a glass bottle and place in the fridge.
- Vanilla is a definite winner here.
- A pitted date can be added as well for natural sweetness.
- Cinnamon powder while blending. Same with Cardamom powder.
- Saffron soaked in a little war water and added to the mixture while blending.
- A drop of rose water and orange blossom water adds for a refreshing flavor.
- Cocoa powder while blending turns it into chocolate almond milk however you need to sweeten it up with some maple syrup or honey as cocoa powder is bitter.
- If you want to make a flavored mylk like strawberry etc, I would recommend making the almond mylk as suggested and then blending it with your desired fruits for a fruit flavored milk.
- Coffee can be bloomed in a little boiling water and added to the mixture before blending.
- Turmeric and nutmeg can be added to the mixture while blending to make Haldi Doodh.
- Chai masala can be added to the mixture before blending for a masala chai almond mylk flavor.
The flavor path you choose is on you however do not forget to season with a pinch of salt to bring the flavors alive.
Once the mylk has been strained and transferred to a bottle, it will keep well for 4-5 days and you might notice that the mylk has separated (this is normal, relax), this means the fats from the almonds and the water content has separated. All you need to do is shake the bottle up or stir it before using. I wouldn’t recommend keeping the mylk any longer than the suggested amount of time as it can get acidic and sour. The homemade milk cannot be boiled as it will split hence if you’d like to enjoy it hot, gently heat it over the stove stirring constantly and do not allow it to boil or get over heated. Once it splits you cannot salvage it. The milk can be used to make puddings, cakes, cookies, bars etc. Truthfully once you make this at home the chances are you will not enjoy having it from outside as the flavor is absolutely delicious and intense.
I personally love having it with some ice and little dusting of cinnamon powder and drizzle of honey. Happy Blending Ninjas!
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Homemade Almond Milk
- Large bowl
- Glass Bottle
- 1 cup Whole Raw Almonds
- 2 cups Water
- Pinch of salt
- Soak the almonds in water for 12 hours. The water should submerge the almonds completely. After a couple of hours you will see there are some bubbles on the surface of the water. It's normal.
- 12 hours later the almond would’ve gotten swollen and the water will look muddy. Drain out the water and at this stage you can peel each almond skin off, I don’t do it.
- Transfer to a blender* add the water and blend well. If you are flavoring, this is the time to do it.
- Get a sieve and cheesecloth over a large bowl and get ready to strain out the mixture. I do this in two batches so that I squeeze out as much liquid as I can from the mixture.
- Once all the liquid has been squeezed and passed through the sieve, taste and add a pinch of salt as needed. Transfer to a glass bottle, close and refrigerate.
- Store in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- *If your blender is small blend the mixture in two batches.
Instead of a cheesecloth you can use any clean kitchen cloth or a muslin cloth to strain the liquid out.
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