Top 5 Dairy-Free Milks
Whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, or have an allergy, there’s so many reasons why dairy might not work for you, leading you on the hunt for dairy-free milks. But how do you choose an alternative to regular cow’s milk? Taste varies so much between brands, dairy-free alternatives are often expensive, and often the list of ingredients is far longer than it should be. I have the perfect solution: make your own! That way you can choose exactly what goes into your milk, it’s so much cheaper, and it’s so easy with your Thermomix. Today I’m bringing you a guide for my favourite dairy-free milks that you can make at home.
We’re kicking off the list with one of the most obvious dairy-free milk alternatives: almond milk. Soak the almonds for about 12 hours or overnight beforehand – this activates the enzymes in the almonds, making them easier to digest, and will also result in a creamier milk. Once your almonds are soaked, drain and rinse, place in the mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and water at a ratio of 100g of almonds : 400g of water and blend for 2 Min. / Speed 10. At this point, if you like your milk a little on the sweet side, just add a couple of dates and blend again for 1 Min. / Speed 10. Strain through a nut milk bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. (You can use almond milk to make my amazing Almond Milk Rice Pudding!)
I just love the flavour of coconut milk. It’s so rich and creamy, and makes an amazing hot chocolate! It also couldn’t be simpler to make. Again, we’re working with the same ratio of 100g of desiccated or shredded coconut : 400g of water. This time, make sure the water is warm – this will help break down the coconut and draw all the lovely flavour out. Add the coconut and water to your mixing bowl and blend 2 Min. / Speed 10. Strain through a nut milk bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days. (Need inspiration? Coconut milk is the base to my Coconut Coriander Chicken!)
Hemp milk is such an awesome vegan alternative to regular milk, and it’s so healthy! Hemp seeds are full of essential fatty acids which are so good for you, and they have a really high protein content. Use the same ratio of 100g of hemp seeds : 400g of water. Place the hemp seeds, water and a pinch of salt into your mixing bowl and blend 1 Min. / Speed 10. As with the almond milk, if you like your milk a little sweeter, pop a couple of dates into the milk and blend again 1 Min. / Speed 10. Strain through a nut milk bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
For lovely creamy cashew milk, we start the same as almond milk: by soaking the nuts for 12 hours or overnight before we blend them. Then it couldn’t be easier: just drain and rinse, add them to the mixing bowl with water at the same ratio as before (100g of cashews : 400g of water) and blend for 2 Min. / Speed 10. Cashews are naturally quite sweet, but if you’d like your milk sweeter, add a couple of dates to the mixing bowl and blend again 1 Min. / Speed 10. Cashews blend up amazingly, so you may find you don’t need to strain your milk, but if you’d like to then just strain through a nut milk bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Oats are excellent for making milk out of as not only are oats so good for you, but they’re super cheap! They also don’t require quite the soaking time of nuts, about 15 minutes to 1 hour will be enough to make lovely creamy oat milk. Then just drain the oats and add them to the mixing bowl in a, you guessed it, ratio of 100g of oats : 400g of water, along with a pinch of salt. Blend for 45 Sec. / Speed 10. Oat milk doesn’t require quite the blending time of other milks as over-blending oats can lead to a funny slimy texture. If you find this happens, simply lower the time to 30 Sec. / Speed 10. Strain through a nut milk bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Some dairy-free milk tips:
Feel free to play around with flavours! Adding vanilla bean extract or paste, fresh strawberries, or some cocoa powder will all make some amazing flavoured milks. Just add these flavours after the initial blend, then blend again for 1 Min. / Speed 10, then strain and store as normal. Yum!
Make sure your nuts are raw. Using roasted nuts to make nut milk just won’t work – they’re too dry, and the roasting can really bring out some bitterness in the nuts, making for a fairly unpleasant milk all-round.
Play around with mixing and matching your dairy-free milks! Try cashew-almond milk, or oat-hemp milk – the possibilities are endless! So long as you keep that 1:4 ratio of base ingredient to water, you’ll make some beautiful milk blends. This also applies to different nuts: hazelnut, macadamia, walnuts… don’t be afraid to try out new flavours and have fun!
Can’t figure out why your nut milk is kind of funky-tasting? The answer might lie with your ingredients. Because you’re using so few when you make dairy-free milks, the flavours of your base ingredient are what you’ll be tasting. Nuts go rancid faster than you probably think, so if you have an odd, bitter flavour to your milk, your nuts may have gone rancid. Make sure you’re using fresh ingredients to make sure your milk is totally delicious.
Don’t be afraid if your milk splits in the fridge. Homemade milks don’t have stabilisers and additives added to them, so your milk will naturally split. It’s totally normal. Just shake up before you use and you’re good to go!
Have milk left over that’s nearing its use-by? Freeze leftover milk in ice cube trays and pop them in your morning smoothies!
Don’t throw away the leftover pulp after you strain out your milk! Spread the pulp out on a lined baking tray and pop into an oven on the lowest heat possible. Keep an eye on it, turning every so often, until it’s nice and dry. Pop back into your Thermomix and blend 30 Sec. / Speed 8 and voila! Now you’ve got almond flour, coconut flour, oat flour… perfect for baking!
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What are your favourite dairy-free milks? Have you tried making your own in the Thermomix? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!