Monday, April 11, 2011

Mommy Makes Milk!

I know, I know, it's not news that this mommy makes her own milk for her babies, but I'm talking about a different kind of milk. This week's adventures take us into the realm of non-dairy milk substitutes. That's right - nut milk, seed milk, and what-have-you. So far I've made three different types: Almond Milk, Oat Milk, and Sunflower Seed Milk. Each was its own little adventure, and I'm sure there will be more to come...

So yesterday's task was almond milk. It was surprisingly easy. I soaked the almonds overnight in a jar. Actually, I didn't measure the water. I used a jar that was slightly bigger than 2 cups, filled it about 3/4 full with raw almonds, then filled it to the top with water, and let it sit overnight. By morning, the almonds had swelled to fill the jar and there was very little standing water left. I emptied the almonds into the food processor and added another full jar of water (so a 2:1 ratio of water to almonds). I then processed it, strained it, and was left with about 2 cups of milk, to which I added the same amount (2 cups) of water and put it in a jar in the fridge. Here's the breakdown:

Almond Milk

2 cups raw almonds soaked in three cups of water overnight
4 cups water, divided
Optional: vanilla and sugar/honey/agave/sweetener to taste

Food processor
4-cup measuring cup or bowl
Muslin cloth, bag, or nut milk bag (I used 2 squares of muslin, about 1'X1' each, sewed together on two adjacent sides to make an open bag for straining)

Put soaked almonds, along with any soaking water left, into food processor with 2 cups of water. Process until well-blended. Place bag in bowl/measuring cup and pour in mixture. Gather up the ends of the bag and squeeze out the milk. I like to twist the top closed, leaving some air in the bag, and squeezing the mixture up and down, kind of "milking" it, to speed things along, because I'm impatient like that. Once you've gotten out all the milk (there will be about 2 cups, give or take), add the remaining 2 cups of water to the milk and pour it all into a bottle, adding vanilla and sweetener if you'd like.

See? Simple! Once you're done you'll also end up with a bag full of almond pulp, like this:

I'm still working out what to do with this. I may attempt to dry it out and grind it into almond flour. I'll post all about that if it goes well...

Now for today's experiments: Sunflower Seed Milk and Oat Milk

Sunflower Seed Milk

1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked in 1 1/2 cups of water for 24 hours
4 cups of water. divided

Food processor
4-cup measuring cup or bowl
Muslin cloth, bag, or nut milk bag (I used 2 squares of muslin, about 1'X1' each, sewed together on two adjacent sides to make an open bag for straining)

Put soaked sunflower seeds into food processor along with 2 cups of water and process until smooth. Strain in bag just like for Almond Milk (above) and add remaining 2 cups of water, then bottle.

Again, you'll end up with sunflower seed pulp...

I have no clue what to do with this!

And the Oat Milk...this was an adventure...

So you have to soak the oats for about 24 hours...easy part. The problem was, unlike the nut/seed milk, you should soak it in the full amount of water you will be using for processing, which make for too much water in my food process, apparently, because it leaked everywhere. I had to process it in 2 batches. You could just cut the recipe in half to avoid this problem. Also, DO NOT use muslin to try and strain this! It will just gum up the bag and stick to everything, and the milk will not be able to strain out. Instead, use a mesh strainer, and don't spill half the oat milk all over the counter like I did :)

Oat Milk

1 cup raw oats
4 cups water

Food processor
fine mesh sieve
4-cup measuring cup or bowl

Soak oats in water overnight. Pour oat/water mixture (use half at a time) into food processor and process until well-blended. strain through a fine mesh strainer, stirring the mixture in the strainer to push the milk through, then bottle.

The wonderful thing about making oat milk is that it leaves you with a by-product of AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS raw oatmeal! Check it out:

I added a little maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and raisins. I never thought I would enjoy eating cold oatmeal, but wow, this was incredible :)

So there it is...the first few trials of homemade milk alternatives in the King household. Stay tuned for more as I venture into the world of hemp milk, the wonder-elixer that apparently is the nectar of the health-food gods...

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