The Morning Call (Sunday)
No Cow Necessary For Plant-Based Milk
Making nondairy milks at home is the natural next step for D.I.Y. baristas.
AMONG THE THINGS that got harder to find in stores at the onset of the pandemic were alternative milks. But the good news is, you don’t need grocery store milk. Plant-based milks like soy, almond or oat milk are easy to make at home. And they can help you cut down your carbon footprint, given that the production of dairy products accounts for almost 4 percent of planet-warming emissions worldwide each year.
If you want to dabble in alternative milk-making, follow this guide.
First, soak a cup of soybeans, almonds or oats in plenty of water overnight. Soy, especially, will grow two or three times in volume, so make sure you do this in a big bowl. In the morning, drain the water, and rinse the soy, almonds or oats. This is especially important if you’re using oats, to prevent the milk from getting slimy and glutinous.
Then put your soy, almond or oats in a blender, with three cups of water, and blend for about two minutes. Thorough blending will maximize how much milk you can squeeze out. (You can experiment with the amount of water.)
Next, pour out the mixture into a clean cheesecloth and squeeze out the milk. And I mean squeeze and squeeze, until you get the last drops out.
Then, if you’re using soy or almonds, gently heat the milk, but stop before it reaches a boil. I wouldn’t heat the oat milk, which can easily get slimy.
You can add a little sugar or maple syrup to any of the milks, to taste. It should keep in the fridge, covered, for about five days.
You’ll have some pulp left over when you’re done. I use it for baking. When I was growing up in Japan, my mother used to fry up soy pulp, which we call okara, with vegetables. It was delicious.
The last thing to remember: Dairy contains nutrients, like calcium and protein, that are important for bone and muscle health. So take a look at your overall diet if you are going to limit or avoid dairy, to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients from other foods.