Since we have been gluten and dairy free I have been trying virtually every kind of non-dairy milk on the market to find one that I like. Currently it is a tie between Coconut & Almond Milk. I like to bake with coconut milk because of the subtle sweetness that it adds to my baked goods. However, to drink I just wasn’t impressed. The store-bought boxes of non-dairy milk tasted watery to me and my urge for an ice-cold glass of delicious dairy packed milk could not be satiated.
Over the years that I have been cooking I have found that the food I make at home almost always tastes better than what I can buy in the store so maybe it would be the same for what I drink. I decided to research making both almond and coconut milks and at least give it a try. I didn’t take long to decide that I wasn’t really up to the task of making coconut milk. When recipes call for hammers, cleavers and awls I am out. I shifted my attention to almond milk. The recipes that I found were straight forward and seemingly simple with no tools required.
The recipe that follows is now a staple in our house. I make almond milk every week, one with vanilla extract and one with real vanilla beans. Why two? Well, Todd and I like the flavor that the real vanilla beans impart in the milk and the kids don’t care for the black flecks of the vanilla bean. They are both rich and creamy and completely satisfy my urge for regular milk. We even developed a cocktail using our almond milk. You can find the recipe and a tip for using the last little bit of your almond milk here.
Homemade Almond Milk
1 cup raw almonds
3.5 cups of filtered water, plus more for soaking
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1-3 Tbsp. agave syrup (you could use maple or honey)
Place almonds in a bowl and cover with water to soak overnight in the fridge. See the difference? The almonds on the left are not soaked and the big juicy almonds on the right have been soaking for about 12 hours. Once you have soaked your almonds drain the soaking liquid and rinse them until the water runs clear. Combine the soaked almonds and 3.5 cups of filtered water in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth. This usually takes me about 2 or 3 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve making sure to work through the almond pulp with a spatula to strain out all of the milk.
Return the strained milk back into the blender with the remaining ingredients and blend until combined. Feel free to experiment add more or less salt or the sweetener to taste. I have always liked the creaminess of Vitamin D milk so I make my almond milk thicker but you can also thin it out by adding more water. It will still have the same great taste.