I have never been a milk drinker. Even when I was a child my mother recognized that I didn’t react well to drinking milk, so we never had milk at home. We did eat other dairy (which gave me eczema, but that’s another story), but my mother would use water, stock, or juice in recipes instead of milk. I remember her making almond milk once, but she decided it was either too much trouble or too expensive to keep up with the habit. Perhaps that’s one reason why I never tried making it before.
Because Svara is allergic to dairy, we of course don’t use dairy milk. But we DO use lots of nondairy milk for cooking, drinking, and baking. I am not a huge fan of the beany taste of soymilk, but I have found a couple brands here that I like the taste of. Svara drinks organic soymilk, which is a local brand that tastes beany to me, so I don’t drink it. But because we also eat a lot of tofu, I thought it was time to try to find a substitute for some of the soy in our diets. Enter almond milk! Almond milk is insanely expensive here, so I would never buy it. However, I can buy bulk almonds at the baking supply shop for a good price and always have them at home for using in cooking. It has taken me years to get to the step of trying to make my own almond milk, though, I don’t know why! It has turned out to be super easy, cheaper than buying soymilk, and less garbage from all that packaging!
I read at least 50 different blogs about making homemade almond milk and there are SO many variations as to how many almonds to use, how much water, etc. This is what I use:
Homemade Almond Milk
1 cup whole almonds, soaked overnight in the fridge
5 cups water
That’s it! Most recipes call for 1 cup of almonds, but the amount of water will vary. If you want a thick super creamy milk, use 3 cups of water. If you don’t mind it thinner, use up to cups of water. I have found that I like to make 4-6 cups of milk with my 1 cup of almonds. Or sometimes I’ll just use 2/3 or 3/4 c of almonds and 4 cups of water so it fits nicely in my jug (a leftover glass juice bottle).
All you have to do is soak the almonds for several hours (I find it easier to do it overnight, but you can put them to soak in the morning and make the milk in the evening). I soak them in the fridge because it’s so warm here that if they soak too long on the counter they’ll get a slightly sour taste/smell. After they are soaked, put them in the blender with 3-4 cups of water and blend for about 4 minutes.
Once it is all blended up, pour it into some sort of strainer, nutmilk bag, etc. I put a metal strainer on top of a bowl, place a cloth in it, and pour in the milk. This works fine for me! A tea towel works great!
Let the milk drain, then gather up all the edges and squeeze out the remaining milk. Squeeze as much as you can! You’ll be left with something like this:
Actually, it would normally be all flecked with almond skin. However, I’ve been experimenting with regular almond pulp or de-skinned almond pulp, and this one had no skins (I blanched the almonds and squeezed off the skins before soaking them). I found that it made no difference to the texture of the pulp, though, so I won’t bother to do that again!
Then add more water to get however much milk you want and put it in containers in the fridge. Use within 5 days (at least that’s what all the websites I saw recommended, not sure how long it would stay good.)
The cost for me for 1 cup of almonds is RM3 (that’s about USD $1). So I get a quart of almond milk (or more if I decide to add more water) for a great price! I would definitely suggest buying almonds in bulk, it’s SO much cheaper. I buy in 1 kilogram bags (about 2.2 pounds) and that gives me 7 liters/quarts of almond milk.
Some people add sweeteners to their almond milk, but I like to be able to use mine for cooking if I want without worrying (makes awesome white sauce!), so I don’t. If I want to make a drink I usually blend it with ice and whatever sweetener/flavor I want, so I don’t do that when I make it. But if you know you mainly want to use it for drinking, cereal, etc. then feel free to add as much sweetner as you want! Some people use dates for the sweetener.
The other benefit of making your own almond milk is all the leftover pulp! Actually, I haven’t quite decided if the leftover pulp is a blessing or a curse. I know there is a lot of nutrition left in there, but it’s sometimes hard to figure out what to do with it! Apparently this is very common with those who make their own almond milk. However, I have found a few things to do with it and I have a few more that I am going to try, so I’ll make another post about that! When I do I’ll link to it from here.
In the meantime, I hope you give this a try, it really is my favorite milk of all!!