Non-dairy, plant-based milks have gained immense popularity in recent years, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. Instead of just buying plant-based milk at the store, why not make them on your own? In this article, we take a look at the delight of making your own dairy-free milks and explore different milk sources and recipes.
1. What are Dairy-Free Milks?
- Soy Milk – Soy milk is made from soybeans and is packed with calcium and protein. It’s a great option for people who are lactose intolerant since it doesn’t contain any dairy. For people with nut allergies, soy milk is also nut-free. Soy milk comes in a variety of flavors, such as vanilla and chocolate, and can be used in a variety of recipes.
- Almond Milk – Almond milk is made from ground almonds and water. It’s a rich source of calcium and vitamin D, and is low in calories and fat. The taste varies widely between brands, so it can be tricky to find the one that suits your taste buds. Almond milk can also be used in coffee, smoothies, baking, and even ice cream.
- Rice Milk - Rice milk is made from ground rice and water and is low in fat and calories. It has no cholesterol or lactose, making it a great choice for those who are lactose intolerant. Rice milk is sweet and mild in flavor, making it great for adding a hint of sweetness to smoothies or other recipes.
- Coconut Milk – Coconut milk is made from pressed coconut meat and can be used as a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk. It’s an excellent source of calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. Coconut milk has a rich, creamy texture and has a subtle hint of sweetness to it. It’s ideal for using in baking, curries, smoothies, and more.
- Hemp Milk – Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds and is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. It also has a nutty flavor that is mild and pleasant. Hemp milk is a good choice for people who are allergic to soy, nuts, and other dairy alternatives.
Making your own dairy-free milks at home can be a great way to control the ingredients in them and ensure that they’re fresh and organic. All you need is a high-speed blender and the ingredients for the milk of your choice. Hemp milk, almond milk, and coconut milk can all be made at home in just a few minutes. For soy milk, you’ll need to soak the soybeans overnight before blending them. If you’re going with rice milk, you’ll need to cook the rice before blending it with water.
Regardless of which kind of milk you choose to make, you can tailor it to your taste by adding flavors such as vanilla or cocoa powder, and adjusting the sweetness with natural sweeteners such as dates or honey. Making your own milk at home is also a great way to save money since store-bought varieties can be expensive. Whatever type of milk you make, the possibilities are endless, so let your creativity flow!
2. Benefits of Making Dairy-Free Milks
Non-dairy Milks Can Be Healthier
Traditional dairy based milks can contain large amounts of fat, cholesterol, calories, and lactose – all of which can be damaging to ones health. Dairy-free milks, such as almond, coconut, hemp, and soy milks, are typically lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol, and have zero lactose. Additionally, some of these plant-based milks contain other beneficial nutrients, such as fiber and calcium, depending on the source used to make it.
The Taste and Quality Improve with Homemade Milks
One of the biggest advantages to making non-dairy milks at home, rather than purchasing ready made store brands, is that the flavor and quality will be greatly improved. With store bought non-dairy milks, there can be too much added sugar or other artificial sweeteners, creating an undesirable taste, or an unappetizing texture or color. Making homemade milk allows one to monitor the quality of the ingredients used, as well as customize the sweetening to his or her liking.
Making Milks is Easier than You Might Think
Some people may be intimidated by making homemade milks, but it is a relatively simple process. All you need is a nut, seed, or grain, a nut milk/coffee bag, and a high powered blender. It begins with soaking the nut, grain, or seeds in water for a few hours, and is then continued with adding the soaked mix, along with additional water, to the blender. Once all the ingredients are blended together, the resulting mix is then strained through the nut milk bag. The milk is then ready and can be used, or kept for an additional few days. Here is a simple step by step guide:
- Soak the nut, seed, or grain in water for a few hours.
- Add the soaked nut, seed, or grain and additional water to the blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Strain the milk using the nut milk bag.
- Enjoy the freshly made milk!
The Joy of Making Non-Dairy Milks
Making non-dairy milks is a great way to explore the joys of cooking and baking, and get creative in the kitchen. The various nuts, grains, and seeds available provide an exploding amount of possibilities and flavours, and give one the perfect opportunity to experiment with flavour combinations. The process of soaking, blending, and straining is therapeutic, and also teaches one an appreciation for process of food production. Homemade milks can also be tailor made for specific needs and diets, such as veganism, celiac disease, or allergies.
3. Necessary Ingredients and Tools
Creating dairy-free milks at home is a rewarding experience requiring only a few ingredients and tools. To get started, all that is needed are the following:
- Raw Seeds or Nuts: Depending on the type of dairy-free milk desired, a different raw seed or nut can be used as a base. For example, cashews are great for making creamier milks or almond milk, and sesame seeds work well for tahini milk.
- Filtered Water: Using filtered water increases the shelf life and the flavor of the dairy-free milk.
- Sweetener: Natural sweeteners are an easy way to add flavor and sweetness to dairy-free milk. Popular sweeteners include coconut sugar, maple syrup, and dates.
- Essential Oils: Essential oils are a great way to add flavor and can range from vanilla, to coconut, to peppermint.
The tools required to make dairy-free milks are a blender, cheese-cloth, and a container. Once all the ingredients and tools have been gathered, the fun can begin. The most common way to make dairy-free milks is by soaking the raw nuts or seeds overnight, draining off the liquid, blending the mixture with filtered water, and then straining the mixture through a cheesecloth.
With the convenience of instant ingredients and tools, anyone can easily enjoy creating dairy-free milks. Start experimenting to find the perfect flavors and celebration can begin!
4. How to Make Dairy-Free Milks at Home
- Soak Your Nut of Choice: To commence the dairy-free milk prep process, first soak your nut of choice. Soaking the nut makes it easier to blend and extract maximum flavour from it. Almonds, cashews and hazelnuts are some of the favourites due to their creamy finish.
- Blend with Purified Water: Once your nut is soaked, add it to a blender with some purified water for a better taste. A ratio of 1:3 – nut to purified water – is recommended, although you can make adjustments to a 1:2 ratio to have a thicker, creamier non-dairy milk.
- Strain the Liquid: Once the nut and water blend is sufficiently processed after a few minutes of blending, strain the contents to extract the liquid. You can use a fine-mesh sieve or nut milk bag for more effective strain.
- Flavour Away: The milk base is now ready to flavour. Depending on your preference, you can add natural fruits, spices, and other ingredients to bring out the desired sweetness and flavour. An alternative to adding fresh fruits would be to use organic, natural sweeteners such as agave nectar. Experiment with different combinations for best results!
- Preserve and Enjoy: Place the flavoured non-dairy milk in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Expect it to last for up to four days. Enjoy it chilled over cereal or in a glass. If you are feeling adventurous, challenge yourself to jazz up your favourite coffee with your homemade dairy-free milk.
Making your own dairy-free milks is easy and rewarding. With just a few simple steps and ingredients, you will be well on your way to serving up a delicious alternative to your regular milk. Start by soaking your nut of choice, blend it with purified water, then strain the liquid, and finish off with flavour. Preserve and enjoy! So why not give it a go? Get creative with recipes and discover the joys of having homemade dairy-free milks.
5. Tips for the Perfect Dairy-Free Milk
Making dairy-free milk is easy and a great way to incorporate a healthy alternative into your diet. Here are five tips that are essential for making the perfect dairy-free milk:
- Choose the Right Plant Milk: Choose a plant milk that works best with your recipes. Different plant milks such as almond, soy, rice and coconut milk have different flavor profiles and can be used interchangeably in recipes.
- Add Flavor: To make a delicious dairy-free milk, add a flavored sweetener to enhance the flavor. You can use maple syrup, honey, vanilla extract or other flavored syrups to add a unique taste to the milk.
- Heat before Straining: Heating the plant milk before straining it helps the separation of the solids from the liquid. This results in a smoother texture and a clearer looking beverage.
- Strain the Milk: Strain the milk using cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to remove the solids and obtain a smoother beverage. Do this more than once to get the desired consistency.
- Enjoy the Milk: Enjoy the milk in a smoothie, over cereal, with coffee, or in any of your favorite recipes. Dairy-free milks are a great substitute for dairy milk in all types of recipes.
With these tips, you can make the perfect dairy-free milk every time. Whether you are avoiding dairy for dietary reasons or simply looking for a new flavor experience, dairy-free milk is a delicious and nutritious option.
6. The Best Dairy-Free Milk Recipes
With so many dairy-free milk options out there – soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, coconut milk, cashew milk – it can be bewildering to choose the best flavor and recipe. There are a few key factors to consider when cooking with non-dairy milk, such as its nutritional value and taste. Here are some of out there:
- Soy Milk – Soy milk is one of the most recommended non-dairy milks due to its high levels of protein, calcium, and vitamins. To make it, soak one cup of dried soybeans in five cups of water for 6-8 hours, drain, and grind. Finally, add five cups of fresh water to the paste and cook for a few minutes before straining.
- Almond Milk – Almond milk is a delicious and nutritious alternative to dairy. To make it, start by soaking almonds overnight, then blend them with a cup of water. Strain the mixture and add three cups of water, sweetener, and some vanilla extract. Cook the mix, then chill before serving.
- Oat Milk – Oat milk is a great choice for those sensitive to nut- or bean-based milk. Start by blending one cup of oats with four cups of fresh water. Strain and add cinnamon and honey if desired. Chill the mix and serve as oat milk.
- Coconut Milk – Coconut milk is a creamy, dairy-free option that’s also low in fat. To make it, blend one cup of coconut flakes with one and a half cups of water. Strain the mix and blend again with two and a half cups of fresh water. Set aside the liquid, then add some coconut, sugar, and sea salt to the mix. Chill before serving.
From soy to almond, oat, and beyond, these dairy-free milks are a delicious, healthier, and delicious way to enjoy a traditional cup of milk. With so many delicious recipes out there, there’s no reason not to try your hand at making your own dairy-free milk.
7. Recommended Dairy-Free Milk Substitutes
Ah, the all-important traditional morning cup of coffee. While it can be made with regular cow’s milk, nowadays there is a wide variety of dairy-free milks that offer a delicious and healthful alternative. Almond milk, soy milk, and coconut milk are just a few of the popular dairy-free milk substitutes. Let’s take a look at the joys of making them at home.
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk has become something of a staple in most grocery stores, but it’s very straightforward to make in your own home. All you need is a blender, raw almonds, a nut milk bag, and filtered water. Blend the almonds and water , then strain the liquid through the nut milk bag, and voila! You have your own homemade almond milk.
2. Soy Milk
Soy milk is another popular dairy-free milk alternative and can easily be made in the comfort of your own kitchen. You can use dried soybeans, or opt for the canned kind. Again, you’ll need a blender, nut milk bag, and some filtered water. Soak your dried soybeans in water overnight, then blend them with the water the following day. Then, strain the resulting liquid through the nut milk bag to filter it.
3. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk adds a subtly sweet flavor to your coffee and can also be made at home. For this, you’ll need the meat from mature coconuts, water, and a blender. You will very likely need a cheesecloth for this one, too. First, grind the coconut meat in the blender, then add the water. Strain the mixture through the cheesecloth and squeeze it until all the liquid has been extracted. You have your coconut milk!
4. Other Dairy-Free Milk Substitutes
The traditional almond, soy, and coconut milk variations are not the only options you have when it comes to making homemade dairy-free milks. Consider other nut milks like cashew or macadamia nut milk. Or, you could browse the regionally-sourced milks from rice, oats, and peas. Finally, you could opt for homemade hemp milk, to add extra creaminess to your coffee.
Making these dairy-free milk substitutes is very simple, and offers the added benefit of knowing where your food comes from and how it was made. Do yourself a favor and try making nut milk at home today. Whether you are vegan, lactose intolerant, or simply looking for an exciting cooking adventure, making dairy-free milk at home can be a delightfully creative experience! Not only can you make tasty nut and oat milks, but also try out delicious flavors like cocoa or vanilla! Remember that the key to success is finding the right ingredients that work for your needs and preferences. Make sure to store your creations well and enjoy your homemade dairy-free milks on the daily!