Grasp almond firmly, pointy side down, between thumb and index finger. Squeeze.
No, no. Just kidding. We have completely switched from cow to almond milk over the last year, though there have been times of weakness when we’ve switched back over for a little while. During Christmas is one example, when I get too busy to milk almonds and we decide that nothing goes as well with holiday baked goods as cold cow’s milk with that plasticky (or sometimes waxy paper carton tasting) flavor.
But why did we switch? I have heard too many bad things about cow’s milk, particularly the effects of homogenization on the milk and how this affects the cardiovascular system, and can’t ignore all the health benefits that almonds provide.
I haven’t always made almond milk myself, either. In fact, I prefer Blue Diamond almond milk, in all it’s creamy sweet goodness, better than my own. It is full of things I don’t think we need in our diet, however, so I make sure I find time to grab those almonds by the utters every few days to replenish our supply.
But enough with the milking jokes. Here’s how I really do it.
Step 1: Soak 1 1/2 cups of raw almonds in water overnight to help them swell and release all of their creamy nutrients when it comes time for milking.
Step 2: Drain the brownish water that is produced during the soaking process.
Step 3: Grind the almonds to a pulp in a high powered blender or food processor, adding water as needed.
Step 4: Here comes the milking part. Strain the almonds through cheesecloth, a clean t-shirt, or, in my case, a jelly bag on a metal frame. Add 2 to 2 1/2 quarts of water, stirring almonds as the milk drains until the liquid runs clear. My jelly bag is tall enough to hang over a pitcher. Squeeze the almonds until all the liquid has run from them.
Now here’s where you can get creative. I spread the wet almond meal onto a sheet pan and leave it in a warm oven until the almonds are dry.
Then I grind them into almond flour.
Or you could just use the moist almonds immediately to bake with.
Or you could put the moist almond meal into a container in the fridge for a couple of days until you are ready to use it.
Or you can grind them further and add honey or sugar to make a sort of marzipan. I have done all of the above.
You can also get creative with the milk itself.
Before we started on the GAPS Diet, I was thickening each batch of almond milk and adding in nutrients by mixing in a few tablespoons of Vanilla Spiru-tein shake mix and crushed, chewable probiotics. My husband loved it this way because it tasted most like commercially produced vanilla almond milk. Since starting GAPS, I just add in the probiotics. I have also made a sort of almond kefir by adding probiotics and letting them grow in the yogurt maker overnight.
I am still working on perfecting my method, however, and will be using yogurt culture the next time I try it. I’m hoping to have almond yogurt when I’m finished.
So there you have it. It was such a mystery to me when I first heard of almond milk that I felt silly when I realized how simple it is to make. So if anyone else out there is clueless when it comes to making almond milk at home, I hope my little post will prove helpful.