I am always on the look out to try and find healthier and cheaper ways of making things from scratch. Although this recipe really can't get any healthier I really wanted to give making my own Almond milk a go. I drink almond milk or rice milk because I am dairy intolerant. It was a real shock to the system when I first had to go dairy free.
I didn't know of any other alternatives to milk when I first started living a dairy free lifestyle. I think I lived on dry toast and Vegemite for a few months until I started discovering dairy free alternatives. I was SO excited when I discovered rice milk and then nuttelex to use in the place of butter. Since then I have discovered other things to replace the dairy in my life! I have only recently started drinking almond milk since it popped up in our local supermarket. I really really love the taste of it compared to rice milk in cereal or in a smoothie.
I decided of having a go at making it myself to see if I could make it any cheaper than buying it from the supermarket. I bought a packet of pesticide free almonds. I would really recommend using this type of almond when making the milk.
For the almond milk recipe I researched a few recipes online and read the reviews they received. I decided to go with this recipe I found online. I didn't realise how simple making almond milk really was until I researched it.
I decided to times the recipe by one and half to make a little bit more milk. The first step is to soak your almonds in a bowl overnight. I covered the almonds in water and let them sit in it for about 10 -12 hours. I'm sure closer to 8 hours would have been sufficient but it took me a little longer to get around to making it! (Thanks to our cute little man)
After leaving the almonds sit overnight they seem to soak up a fair portion of the liquid and get all plump and juicy looking. I then drained the almonds - keeping the soaking liquid aside. I placed the almonds into the blender and then measured out the amount of water needed. I used the soaking liquid in this measurement as it contained a good amount of "almond flavour" in it.
You wonder how on earth you are going to get something drinkable out of this concoction but trust me you do! Before I blended it I added the vanilla essence and a tablespoon of agave syrup to sweeten it slightly. The recipe below calls for two dates as another option to sweeten the milk or if you're really good don't add any sweetener at all.
I then whizzed the almonds and water for a few minutes until the almonds where nicely ground to a fine pulp. Now it started looking like almond milk. I then strained to pulp through a fine sieve. For cleaner and more refined looking almond milk strain it through a piece of cheese cloth or fine muslin.
However I didn't have any cheese cloth to strain it through so I left the milk with a bit of sediment in it, which still tasted great. *Don't throw the almond pulp out I tell you what to do with it below*. I think I made about 1.25L of milk in total from about 1 1/2 cups of Almonds. The milk tasted really good. The only down side I would have to give making it yourself is you really have to drink it within 3-4 days of making it. Any time after that it gets a bit fermented and not so nice to drink.... as I found out.
Recipe adapted from Vegetarian.about.com
I didn't want to waste the almond pulp that I made the milk from so I spread it onto a large lined baking tray and placed it into a 160 degree fan forced oven for about 30 - 45 minutes. Stirring it about every 10 minutes. By doing this you are drying the almond pulp out making it into crunchy almond goodness.
Great uses for the dried almond pulp would be to sprinkle it on some yoghurt, mix it in with your morning muesli, add to cookies or cakes or even to a crumble topping. I sprinkled this on my morning Apple Pie Quinoa Flake bake..... recipe coming next week!
I did the calculations on the cost of making almond milk versus buying it in the supermarket. To my disappointment it really wasn't any cheaper doing it this way. It may be cheaper if you didn't use pesticide free almonds but that really would defeat the purpose of making it yourself and making it healthier. I think I will stick to my organic brand of unsweetened almond milk and make this when I am desperate for almond milk and couldn't be bothered going to the shops!
* If you would love to know how to make your own almond milk yogurt using this almond milk recipe - CLICK HERE*