As much as possible, I like to make most things from scratch. Making my own non-dairy milk means I can avoid unnecessary ingredients added to commercial alternative milks, such as preservatives, flavourings, refined sugars, emulsifiers and stabilizers. Some of those additives are used help to extend the shelf life of the milk but since it is really simple to make your own and your own will taste much better, why not make your own healthier version?
Homemade nut milk does not go through a homogenization process (mechanically done in commercial milks to ensure that the fat particles remain suspended evenly in the milk), which means that the fat will separate from the liquid and form a thick layer of cream after the milk settles. Generally, the cream will sink to the bottom of your pitcher although occasionally it happens the other way around, where the cream layer is suspended on top of the milk. Either way, I think this lack of homognization is great. That thick creamy layer is absolutely luscious! It makes a delicious substitute for half and half in your morning coffee. If you don’t need the cream layer for anything in particular, just stir it back into the milk before using to evenly distribute the particles again.
The ratio of almonds to water below will produce nut milk with the same consistency as regular cows milk. For a creamier version, add a little less water.
- 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
- 4 cups water
- Pinch Celtic sea salt
- 2 dates, seeded, or 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. vanilla, optional – see notes*
Rinse almonds thoroughly and place in a high speed blender with half the water, dates or maple syrup and salt. I would encourage you not to omit the sweetener. The sweetener does not make the milk taste sweet – it is included because it balances out the flavour of the milk. You can add vanilla now or you can add it at the end (see notes).
Turn the motor on slowly and gradually increase the speed. If using a Vitamix, blend for about 20 seconds, then add the remaining water. Blend another 20-30 seconds. (I don’t use the turbo speed on my Vitamix when making nut milk because I don’t want the milk to be completely smooth at this stage. If the mixture is too smooth, it is difficult to strain away any residual sediment from the nuts and this sediment tends to settle at the bottom of the pitcher once the milk stands for a few hours. I prefer to strain the milk through a nut bag or a double layer of cheesecloth and reserve the pulp for other uses).
Squeeze the pulp in the nut bag to release as much milk as possible into your pitcher.
Yield: 1 litre
*I add the vanilla only if I want to use the milk to replace the cream in a cup of coffee, pour it over breakfast cereal, or use it in a recipe for baked goods, such as cakes or muffins. For non-sweet, savoury dishes, such as sauces or cream-based soups, I omit the vanilla. If you will be using the milk in both sweet and savoury dishes, then add the vanilla at the end, after you’ve strained the nuts through the nut bag and removed the portion you need for savoury dishes. You might want to add a little less vanilla to start, and taste the milk before adding more.
Cashews and Brazil nuts can be substituted for almonds in this recipe. Follow exactly the same process for soaking and blending the almonds. Both cashews and Brazil nuts make an ultra-creamy nut milk which is lovely, although milk made from Brazil nuts has a stronger flavour than milk made from almonds or cashew nuts. Just be aware that nuts have different flavours and each will impact the favour of the milk.