These days I am making more homemade almond milk than ever, hubby and daughter are training hard for our first Bahrain Challenge, a triathlon coming up on the 6th of December. Although we have no lactose intolerant or vegans in the house and we are not pushing out dairy products, almond milk is another option to replace dairy milk when needed. A basic homemade almond milk has two ingredients, water and raw almonds, you can add sweeteners and flavorings but I tend to leave those out as we are not always using the almond milk for the same purpose. I do like to add a pinch of sea salt to enhance the flavor when making. Not a fan of almond milk in my tea or coffee but use almond milk (or coconut milk) with some recipes when baking and cooking, and of course in smoothies and porridge.
When making almond milk it’s best to start the night before, the nuts require a long soaking time of 8 to 12 hours. This makes them softer and less work for your blender, also the soaking leaches out the brown color and slight bitter taste of the skin. There’s a little science involved too… this excerpt on nuts milks taken from Harold Mc Gee’s, Food and Cooking Encyclopedia…
“ If nuts are ground while dry their microscopic oil bodies merge and coalesce to make oil the continuous liquid phase of the paste. But if the raw nuts are first soaked in water, then grinding releases the oil bodies relatively intact into the continuous water phase . When solid nut particles are strained off this leave behind a fluid similar to milk, with oil droplets proteins, sugars and salts dispersed in water.”
Now I couldn’t have said that better myself… go soak your almonds!
You will need a blender, a nut milk bag or a fine weave cheesecloth for straining and squeezing out the almond milk, a normal household sieve will not work. When my husband first saw me using a nut milk bag he said his family used the material from a white gutra (arabic head scarf for men) for straining, that’s another good option if you live in the middle east. Rather than discard the almond pulp, freeze it in portions and add to smoothies and bread stuffings. Here are a few other ways to use up the almond pulp over at the TheKitchn, just in case you feel guilty throwing the pulp out. As there are no stabilizers in home-made almond milk it will separate on standing, simply stir it back together.
Almond milk is very easy to make, has a light creamy texture with a distinct sweet nutty taste and a healthy alternative for those that do not take dairy products or just want a change.
Homemade Almond Milk
(Makes about 2 and 3/4 cups)
1 cup of whole raw almonds
filtered water, for soaking the almonds
2 cups filtered water, for blending
pinch of sea salt (optional)
How to make:
Place the almonds into a strainer and rinse thoroughly, then place them into a bowl. Cover the almonds with water and leave to soak (in the fridge) overnight for 8 to 12 hours. Before blending, drain the soaking water from the almonds and rinse.
Place soaked almonds into a blender, add 1 and a half cups of the water and blend on high-speed for about 1 minute, add the remaining cup of water and blend for a further minute or until the almonds are throughly ground.
Pour the almond milk into a straining bag or nut milk bag placed over a suitable bowl or large jug. Once most of the liquid has drained from the almond pulp, twist the straining bag and squeeze out as much almond milk as possible. Transfer the almond milk to a suitable container and refrigerate until need. Store almond milk in the fridge, best consumed within 3 days.
Do you have any thrifty uses for leftover almond pulp that you would like to share?