Nut milk is so incredibly simple to make you can do it at home
Maybe you’ve noticed all the dairy free milk brands vying for your attention. Nut milks and other plant based milks such as soy, rice and even coconut are hot right now.
Whether you’re lactose intolerant or have perhaps “consciously uncoupled” yourself from dairy, plant based alternatives are a growing market for both health and fad related reasons.
In addition to nuts and water, you’ll most likely find a litany of additional ingredients. Some are added to lend flavouring and/or sweetness, others to fortify the milk with vitamins and minerals. Some, like seaweed derived carrageenan, are added to thicken and emulsify the milk, while still others work as preservatives to extend shelf life.
It was enough to make me wonder how hard it would be to just make it myself.
Believe it or not, homemade nut milk is incredibly simple: Soak nuts, blend and strain. Voil.
There are plenty of recipes for nut milks on the Internet, but the method is basic: Take raw nuts and immerse them in a bowl of water. Soak the nuts until they’re noticeably plump (kind of like soaking raisins), at least several hours and up to a day or so. Drain the water and give the nuts a good rinse, then place them in a blender with fresh water and blend away to your heart’s cont Nike Shoes ent.
When the nuts are pured, strain the liquid. Because of the fine grit from the nut pulp, the liqu Nike Shoes id will need to be carefully strained. Several layers of cheesecloth over a mesh strainer work well, as does a tea towel.
The best thing I’ve found is something called a nut milk bag (yes, that’s the name, and it can be found on the Internet). Fill the bag with pure and gently squeeze the liquid out; the bag works wonders at removing the grit to giv Nike Shoes e the milk a nice, smooth texture.
After the liquid is strained, adjust the consistency with additional liquid to suit your taste. Most methods I’ve seen call for a ratio of 1 cup of nuts to 3 or 4 cups water. I personally prefer one pound of nuts (a little over three cups) to around six cups of water for a nut milk similar in consistency to whole dairy milk. To create a “cream,” allow a little of the finer grit in with the milk and reduce the water for a thicker consistency.
Because homemade nut milk will naturally separate over time, store it in a container with a tight fitting lid so you can give it a good shake before using. Once it’s made, the milk will keep, refrigerated, for three to five days.
As for the leftover pulp, save it. You can use it in so many things. Flavour the pulp and use it as a spread, add it to a shake or fold it in with pancake batters or dips. Or simply spread the pulp out and slowly dry it in a low oven to make nut meal.
I recently used some dried out almond meal in cookies. For a batch of sables, I combined coconut oil, almond meal, sugar, flour and cacao nibs, rolling the crumbly dough into a log. After slicing and baking, I took a bite of a still warm cookie. Rich, with a sable’s signature “sandy” texture, one might never guess the cookie was dairy free. And vegan. Perfect for my health and fad conscious friends.
Almond is by far the most popular nut milk, but why stop there? I loved experimenting with hazelnut and pistachio milks, neither of which you’re likely to find at the store. Macadamia nuts make an extra smooth and creamy milk, perfect when substituting for dairy in a rich mushroom bisque.
Flavourings and sweeteners are easy to add to homemade milks, though I’d recommend against them if you plan to use the milk in savoury recipes. Toss a little vanilla or spice in the blender with the nuts when you’re ready to pure, or sweeten with dates, honey, agave or maple syrup.
Dra Nike Shoes in the nuts and rinse under cold water. Place the nuts in a high speed blender (this will need to be done in a couple of batches) and add enough water to cover by an inch. Pure until completely smooth.
To make nut milk, pass the nuts and liquid through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth lined fine mesh strainer. You can squeeze the bag or work with a spatula to make sure you get as much of the liquid as you can.
The final “milk” should have the smooth consistency of whole dairy milk; if desired, add water to thin. Consistency will depend on the type of nut and amount of water added while blending.
To make nut cream, after blending the nuts, pass the nuts through a strainer to weed out any coarse bits (eliminating the cheesecloth or use of a nut milk bag will allow more solids to pass through to thicken the cream). This makes about six cups cream. The strained liquid should have the consistency of heavy cream.
The nut milk or cream will keep for up to five days, covered and refrigerated. The nut milk or cream will naturally separate; simply give it a quick stir or shake to reconstitute before using.
NOTE: Keep the discarded nut meal after straining, as it can be used in a variety of ways (including adding to oatmeal, yogurt, dips or soups, as well as using the dried meal in tart or pie crusts, cookies or fillings). To dry the meal, spread it out on a rimmed baking sheet and place in a 250 F oven for a few hours, stirring occasionally, until the excess moisture is evaporated.
Vegan Almond Sable Cookies with Cacoa Nibs
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a medium bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the coconut oil, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and salt until well combined, one to two minutes.
By hand, stir in the almond meal and flour until thoroughly incorporated. Use your hands if needed to knead the ingredients, still in the bowl, together to form a uniform dough. Stir or knead in the cacao nibs.
Form the dough into a log approximately two inches in diameter, and roll in a sheet of plastic wrap (the dough will be crumbly, and the plastic wrap will keep each cookie in place as it is sliced). If the dough is too soft to slice, refrigerate the log to firm it up, 10 to 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 F. Cut the log, still in the plastic wrap to support the dough, crosswise into slices one fourth inch thick. Remove any pieces of plastic wrap and space the slices 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Tip: Rotate the log one quarter turn in between slices to keep the round shape of the cookies as they are sliced.
Bake the cookies until set and very lightly coloured, 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the cookies halfway through for even baking. Place the baking sheets on a rack and cool the cookies completely before removing.
NOTE: Sugar is often processed using animal bone char, which is unacceptable to many vegans. This recipe calls for vegan sugar (animal free processing), which is generally available at health food markets, as well as online.