Monday, 28 October 2013

Homemade Almond Milk

So.. I need to eliminate dairy from my diet. No problem, I can live without dairy most of the time. But tea. I hate black tea. Putting lemon in tea doesn't help. It is just weird (except for Earl Grey and then it kinda works).

I had read that almond milk is kinda neutral tasting, and actually tastes good in tea. I had some almonds in the cupboard from making Christmas pudding, and I have a blender....

Almond milk apparently only keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, so I made a couple of small batches. The size of my batches was largely dictated by what would fit into my blender...

You will need:

Pinch of salt

First of all you need to soak the almonds at room temperature, in enough water to cover them. You can do this overnight.

I have a whole load of jars from pickles and stuff that I keep for making mince meat and other goodies, so any old jar will do. Put it through the dishwasher to sterilise it, or put it in a very hot oven for 5 minutes (wait for it to cool before using it!).

When the almonds have soaked, you then need to rinse your almonds off. When you've done that, pop them into your blender with approximately twice the volume of water. So if you soaked a cup of almonds, use 2 cups of water.

I use my mini blender, because for the quantity I did (1/2 cup almonds) it seemed to work better - in my bigger blender bowl it just sort of swooshed them around and didn't do much. I did get some overspill in the mini blender though, so beware!

Blend the almonds and water until the almonds are tiny tiny pieces. This takes longer than you think it will!

Your almond milk looks a bit like this now:

Note the paper towel underneath the blender? Thats because of that overspill I talked about. Given that this happened the first time (the photo is from batch 2) you'd think I would have learnt... but no.

Once you've got your milk to the consistency you want, you need to strain all the bits out. There are various ways to do this: tea towel, muslin, tea strainer, sieve... just make sure the mesh is smaller than the bits. I used my tea strainer because it seemed logical.

I strained it back into the jar I soaked the almonds in because the neck was the right size and it was easier than anything else. You will need to agitate the mush to get all the liquid out, or if you are using a cheesecloth or tea towel, you can just squeeze. Once you have it all strained, add a little salt to balance the flavour. You can also add vanilla or cinnamon at the blending stage. I might make some for Christmas coffee with mixed spice.

You'll be left with a bunch of almond meal, which apparently you can dry out in the oven and use as a gluten free alternative to breadcrumbs, which I am going to do (I'll probably freeze the 'breadcrumbs' so that they last longer, as I don't know anyone gluten intolerant who is likely to want dinner anytime soon) and I'll do a post about that when I do it tomorrow (no baking parchment to spread them out on).

I then transferred the 'milk' into a couple of smaller jars, so I have one for the office and one for home.

Voila! Almond milk. It really isn't bad in tea. It isn't tasteless, but almonds have a weirdly neutral taste that complements tea quite nicely. It was really good in coffee as well. I am really relieved to find a way to drink tea with 'milk' without having dairy.

I just need to get myself a big bag of almonds now!

I used ready blanched almonds for the milk this time, as that was what I had in the flat. I will buy skin on ones for the future.

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