Homemade Almond Milk
When I figured out how to make almond milk, I wondered why I had been buying it so long. By figuring it out, I mean finding a recipe I liked. I realized that its much more economical to buy almond milk, but its way less flavorful. Making homemade almond milk is so much better than buying it, I couldn’t believe how good it came out. That was just my first try, now I’ve got an exceptional recipe for almond milk that I’m going to share!
What is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is the liquid, used as a milk substitute,
that is drained from water saturated almond meal. The flavor comes from its fats extracted from the meal. This makes the milk most flavorful when its extracted, but over time it will lose flavor and the almond fat will separate from the water.
Generally, almond milk is made from filtered water and almonds. From time-to-time manufacturers will add starch or thickening agents to keep the milk emulsified. This also helps increase the shelf life by keeping the solution homogenized.
How to Make Almond Milk
Making almond milk really boils down to a couple factors. You first need to find some good quality, raw, whole almonds. Once you have gotten your almonds, you need to soften them by soaking them in water for 12 -24 hours. I have heard that some almonds have been known to soak longer. This long period of time is easily avoided by boiling them for 60 to 90 seconds, then cool them down.
After the almonds are cool, its time to remove the skin. The skin should come off easily at this point. Once peeled, transfer the almonds to a blender. The higher the power the better with blending almonds, just don’t make a huge mess.
The thickness of the homemade almond milk depends strictly on the amount of water you add to the almond puree. Its smart to add water little by little until you get your desired consistency.
Finally, you need to strain the milk. You can use cheesecloth to strain the left-over granules. Its best to fold the cheesecloth over itself once or twice to avoid having to pass it through again. This recipe for almond milk isn’t difficult by any means but it is a little time consuming, so its smart to plan ahead.
Homemade Almond Milk Homogenization
A common problem with making a homemade almond milk is keeping it emulsified. While this isn’t the end of the world, it can be off putting and throw you off. I am the same way. Something can taste amazing, but if it doesn’t look right to me, I won’t enjoy it.
The reason this is happening is because almond milk is essentially an emulsification of fat and water, which notoriously don’t mix together. Without a little help that is. Here are a few ingredients that will help your almond milk stay pretty.
Xanthan gum is a common food additive that is used as a thickener or a stabilizer. This gum is created when sugar ferments with a specific bacterium. The by product of this fermentation is a slimy gelatinous substance that, when combined with alcohol, will turn into a solid substance.
Blend 1/8th of a teaspoon per cup of almond milk to get to a normal almond milk consistency. You have to use the blender. You need to do this after it has been strained once because xanthan will make it difficult to get small granules out of the liquid.
Carrageenan is a polysaccharide that is extracted from red seaweed. This is used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods, and Is my favorite choice in a recipe for almond milk. I have found that using 0.5% – 1.5% of the weight of almond by weight will stabilize it very well. For example. If you have 100 grams of almond milk and use .5 grams of carrageenan; you will have a normal consistency.
To use carrageenan properly, is two simple steps. First you dissolve the carrageenan in the cold, strained almond milk and mix with a blender or immersion blender. Next, you bring the homemade almond milk to 150 F to activate the carrageenan. Then you simply cool it down.
This product is made from dehydrating a sunflower and extracting it as one of the byproducts. When you dehydrate a sunflower it produces an oil, a gum, and solids. Sunflower lecithin comes from the gum. This is typically cold pressed like the production of olive oil.
This is perfect for people that have soy allergies, health concerns, or other worries about using the other additives. Use 0.6% – 1% of the total weight to stabilize the milk substitute.
Tapioca starch or tapioca flour is also commonly used to emulsify the almond milk, milk substitute. This is commonly done in the form of a slurry. The reason being is that the starch can become lumpy if added to a hot liquid, so it needs to be mixed with cold water prior to being added.
This is added as needed. So, make a little slurry and add a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
Homemade Almond Milk Tricks and Tips
Your best bet is to find almonds that are whole and raw. You want as little processing and time after harvest as possible. The best way is to source your almonds locally if you can. Try farmers markets or local farms to see your options.
Buying pre blanched almonds or roasted almonds will result in an inferior product. Roasted almonds tend to be brittle and leave a granular texture in your almond milk. The same goes for pre-blanched almonds.
Consistency is key when making a recipe for almond milk. When thinking about how much water to add to your almond puree, the typical ratio for this milk substitute consistency is 4 parts water to 1 part almonds, so 4:1. Measure this by volume.
For example, if you have 1 cup of almonds then you will add 4 cups of water while blending. This ratio for homemade almond milk will give you an awfully close rendition of store bought.
If you are looking for a half and half kind of consistency, let’s say for coffee creamer. They you will be leaning more towards a 3:1 ratio.
Nut Milk Bag
If you are serious about making almond milk, then invest in a nut milk bag. These are nylon mesh bags that are designed specifically to strain nut milk. You simply pout the freshly blended milk substitute in the bag and gently squeeze the liquid out into your preferred container.
These bags are a touch more efficient in making homemade almond milk in this regard. A recipe for almond milk will call for it to be strained with cheesecloth. This works for sure, but nut milk bags are easier to clean and more efficient when straining homemade almond milk.
Soaking your almonds is important for a couple reasons. The first reason is it allows you to peel off the outer layer which is absolutely necessary for making homemade almond milk or milk substitute.
Secondly, the longer you soak your almonds the creamier they will become. The reason being is that water slowly seeps into the pores of the almonds over time, making the softer. The softer they are the creamier they will blend. This will result in a smoother and creamier product.
High Powered Blender
Using a high-speed blender with high power capabilities is best practice when making homemade almond milk. When making any milk substitute, you need to blend the heck out of the base. If your blender isn’t the best, you will simply have to blend a bit longer.
Save the Almond Pulp
So, you have strained your fresh milk substitute and now you are left with this almond pulp. Don’t throw it away!! This stuff come in handy when baking cookies, making oatmeal, biscuits, muffins, smoothies, cakes, etc.
Don’t just stop at unsweetened or unflavored almond milk, add a little flair to your recipe. These variations are for if you are following the recipe below.
- Sweetened- Add 2 Tbsp of maple syrup or 3 dates while blending
- Vanilla- Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract while blending, I recommend using the sweetened variety as well with this variety.
- Chocolate- Add 1.5 Tbsp of cocoa powder while blending
- Cinnamon- Add 1 tsp of cinnamon while blending, I recommend using the sweetened variety as well with this variety.
- Coconut- Add 1 Cup of Fresh Coconut and ½ cup Filtered water while blending.
- Horchata- Add 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 Tbsp brown sugar while blending
1 soaking container
1 serving container
Cheesecloth or a Nut Milk Bag
Homemade Almond Milk
Yeilds: 1 quart
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 5 Minutes
2 Cup Raw Almonds, Soaked 8-12 hours
8 Cup Filtered Water
1/4 tsp Salt
- Drain the almonds well, be sure to wipe off any excess peel there may be. Discard the soaking water.
- Blend the almonds until they have released their milk. The puree will look milky.
- Strain this liquid through a nut milk bag or through cheese cloth that has been folded over itself 2-3 times.
- Be sure you gently squeeze this mixture. You don’t want to push the almond pulp through.
- Store almond milk in the fridge! Serve when cool!
Recipe for Almond Milk FAQs
1. How long does homemade almond milk last?
That really depends on how long the almonds were at room temperature or warm, and how long they soaked. Once the almonds are peeled, they sour quickly. Its important to keep them as cold as possible and get the milk substitute strained quickly.
I usually have mine 4-6 days before discarding. I usually drink all of mine by then.
2. Why is my homemade almond milk separating?
The liquid the almonds release is an oil, that’s where the “milk” comes from. Oil doesn’t mix with water well. I will temporarily but it will always separate. That’s why I wrote about the additives above, choose one and follow the instructions.
3. Does almond milk have calcium?
Yes, almonds have a bunch of nutrients. One of which being calcium. A pretty substantial amount too! Making it a perfect milk substitute.
4. Is homemade almond milk good for you?
Absolutely, some argue this milk substitute is better for you than the other milk substitutes!