I finally did it! After being told how easy it is and endlessly saying I would get around to doing it…. I finally make almond milk at home. It was easy!
My desire for wanting to do this stemmed from my concerns over the added ingredients in the store bought brands. I tend to follow the rule, “the less ingredients the better.” Seeing all the additives like xantham gum, which people with allergies to wheat, corn, soy and dairy should avoid because it is produced by a bacterial fermentation using one of these mediums (depends on the manufacture) and carrageenan (a red seaweed derivative) which has been used in food preparation for centuries, but the modern process of isolating the carrageenan has raised some concerns. In the isolated state, it is difficult to digest and can cause issues like inflammation in the digestive system. For those interested, Chris Kresser takes a more detailed look into the research on both xantham gum and carrageenan.
So on to the fun stuff! I followed the simple recipe from thekitchn.com and here’s how it went for me:
I used 1 cup of organic almonds and experimented with the amount of water to add. My findings: 2 cups of water to 1 cup of almonds made a delightfully thick and creamy almond milk. 3 cups water to 1 cup of almond made a larger amount of milk (of course) and was about the consistency of the store bought brands. I liked the taste and texture more of the 2 to 1 ratio, but economically the 3 to 1 is probably the way to go if you use almond milk a lot. Some recipes I found called for 4 cups water to 1 cup of almonds, but that is too watery for my taste (to each their own).
All you need:
1 cup organic almonds
2 to 4 cups of purified water (additional water also needed for soaking)
1 tsp salt (used for soaking)
strainer (I like to put a strainer in a funnel for less mess)
Mason jar (or a preferred container to store the milk)
Here we go!
I soaked the almonds in a bowl of water in the refrigerator for 2 days (that was the maximum recommended time and the longer they soak, the creamier the milk). Some recipes call for adding salt when soaking the almonds. This apparently helps to further break down and neutralize the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors beyond just soaking in fresh water. Soaked nuts are easier to digest and makes the proteins and nutrients more accessible for your body to absorb.
This is how they look when the water is freshly added.
This is how they look at the end of the soaking time.
Next drain and rinse them thoroughly.
Pro tip: it is best to remove the almond skins to make the almonds more easily digestible. To easily remove the skins, soak the almonds in hot water for about 5 minutes. I boil water in a tea kettle and then pour it over the almonds. Once cooled, pour out the water. The skins slip right off when you pinch one end of the almond (beware: sometimes they come off so easily they can go flying across the room!)
In a blender I added the almonds and fresh water. I then blended them on high for 2 minutes. You could also add a pitted date or chopped vanilla bean in the blender if you want to flavor the milk.
Look how beautifully milky it is!
I then strained the mixture through a cheesecloth using the same setup I use for making ghee. I find this setup to be less messy.
Squeeze the cheesecloth to get all the milk out. I put the left over almond meal on a plate to the side during the straining process.
At this point you can add a sweetener like honey, sugar or syrup if desired.
What to do with all that left over almond meal? I spread it out on a baking sheet (the use of parchment paper was suggested here to avoid sticking. I didn’t have any so I put it directly on the baking sheet. It worked out fine for me) and dried it out in the oven for 3 hours on the lowest setting. Once cooled, I put it in the freezer to use later in dishes like fruit crumbles, to sprinkle on yogurt or anything else that I wanted to add some crunch to!
So there it is. Delicious homemade almond milk. It’s so easy… why get it at the store?!