Before I start this post, I just want to say that I am not a vegan, nor am I lactose intolerant. I have nothing against the consumption of organic, hormone-free whole cow’s milk that may or may not have been pasteurized. Almond milk simply has a different flavour than cow’s milk and can be used as a substitute in a fair amount of recipes, so I’ll use it wherever it’s appropriate.
So what’s with all the talk about almond milk in recent days? Almond milk has essentially become the new quinoa, with health nuts and vegans praising it because it isn’t like that evil hormone-infested regular cow’s milk. Of course, if you buy almond milk from the store, instead of hormones you’ll be consuming locust bean gum, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, carrageenan, potassium citrate… I don’t know what any of those things are, but they don’t sound like food to me, so I think I’ll just make my own. I mean, when it’s this easy, why the hell would I not? (´･ω･`)
Ingredients (makes 4 cups of milk)
1 cup raw almonds
4 cups of water (plus another to marinate the almonds)
1 tsp of salt
That’s it. Literally. No need to add locust bean gum, sunflower lecitihnaisf or whatever those things are called.
1. Put your almonds and salt in a bowl and pour in enough warm water to cover them. Give them a stir.
2. Marinate them overnight, or 12 hours for best results. They will plump up quite a bit.
3. Drain and rinse them thoroughly, then add them to a blender with 4 cups of water.
(Optional) At this point you can add in sweeteners like honey or sugar, fruits such as dates, raisins, maybe even a small piece of a banana, I don’t really know, I only use this milk for cooking so I don’t sweeten it.
4. Blend for about 2 minutes on high.
5. Pour the resulting milk-like substance slowly into a bowl through a strainer with a cheese cloth placed on top of it to filter out the pulp, or “almond meal”. If your strainer is small or if you have a big funnel, you can also pour it directly into a suitable bottle without having to pour it in a bowl first. If you don’t use a cheese cloth, your milk will be a little gritty unless you have a very fine strainer, but that’s okay, some people like that (and some people prefer the milk to be smooth but just don’t want to waste a cheese cloth to make almond milk, so use a fine strainer if you have one.)
6. Mix and press the pulp with a spoon so that most of the liquid drips down through the strainer.
7. Wrap your cheese cloth around the pulp and give it a little squeeze (not too hard or your cheese cloth with tear) to push out as much liquid as possible.
8. The pulp should be pretty dry. Spoon out the pulp from the cheese cloth and either store it in a bowl in the fridge or simply toss it away because we both know you’ll never actually use it for anything.
9. Transfer liquid from the bowl through a funnel into a suitable bottle if you didn’t during step 5 and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Shake every time before use!
If you do choose to reserve the pulp, spread it out on a baking sheet and stick it in the oven on the lowest possible temperature (which for me is 170F) and leave it there to dehydrate for 3-4 hours. After that it should be pretty dry, and then you can add it to your oatmeal or blend it and turn it into almond flour.
There is an alternative method to making almond milk that doesn’t leave behind the almond pulp, and that involves blending almond butter with water. So if you want to do it that way, blend 1 tbsp of almond butter with 2-3 cups of water, depending on how rich you want it, and then transfer directly into the bottle. No need to strain it. I’d prefer doing it this way, if I actually carried almond butter. Sometimes I’d do it with peanut butter instead, but honestly peanut milk isn’t quite as good as almond milk…
Some people add the salt during the blending stage instead of marinating the almonds with the salt. If you do it this way, add only a pinch of salt, not an entire teaspoon.
Some people think that taking out the almonds that float to the top of the marinate will ensure they aren’t using rancid almonds. These people are delusional. Almonds that float to the top are not rancid, just push them down in the water and they’ll sink when wet.