Food Talk – The Almond Milk Béchamel Sauce Experiment
I did an experiment comparing a batch of béchamel made with 3.8% whole milk with a batch made from freshly homemade almond milk. The same amount of butter and flour by weight were used (40g per 1&1/2 cup of milk), as well as the same amount of salt and nutmeg.
I figured the whole milk batch would taste better, since it’s the traditional way of making béchamel, but for some reason the almond milk batch tasted better. Yeah, I’m going straight to the point. I’m not going to make you keep reading if you just want to hear the results of my experiment, but keep reading for more details and why I think this may have occurred…
The whole milk batch had a bit of a milky aftertaste to it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for the dish I was doing for that day, milky was not what I wanted. Whole milk I find also generally has more flavour and sweetness to it than almond milk. As a result, the flavour of the milk is more prominent (duh) in the sauce. Which like I said, can be good or bad, but it also overpowers the taste of the butter and nutmeg.
And now the almond milk batch… Almond milk isn’t as sweet, or rich as whole milk. It has a slightly nutty taste instead which is by no means overpowering, so you taste more of the butter and nutmeg. You could say it’s a much “purer” tasting béchamel. It’s similar in concept to vegan chocolate mousse, which is chocolate thickened with tofu (yes, tofu) instead of cream or butter. As weird as it sounds, you do in fact get a purer chocolate taste that isn’t fighting with cream for you to taste it, and yet you still get the same thickness and satisfaction as you would with a regular chocolate mousse. The same is true with the almond milk béchamel; it thickened up nicely and despite containing far less calories, it was just as creamy and satisfying as the whole milk béchamel (and also slightly tastier). The garlic shrimp spaghetti dish I made that day tasted absolutely delicious as a result.
(Recipe soon…) Recipe.
Now I’m not a vegan/vegetarian, nor do I promote veganism in any way, but I do acknowledge that both vegans and vegetarians have made many great contributions to the culinary world… this is one of them. (Also the more vegans, the less demand there is for meat so it becomes cheaper. (´･ω･`))
Now obviously this isn’t vegan béchamel because it still uses butter, something that I’m never willing to replace, but it’s still pretty interesting to think about…
Also, before anybody asks, no, I will not ever do a vegan béchamel sauce recipe, nor will I ever do any recipe that caters specifically to vegans. I am not a vegan, and I do not plan on becoming one. Sometimes I feel like 50% of cooking blogs or Youtube cooking shows are catered towards vegans, and this isn’t ever going to be one of them. There are more than enough recipe databases and shows that cater specifically to vegans, go watch them and leave me alone.
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