Homemade Almond Milk Take 1

http://greenlitebites.com/2009/04/27/homemade-almond-milk-take-1/
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Update: Click here to heck out Homemade Almond Milk Take II with cookies!!!

Update 2: Homemade Almond Milk the Video!

We got cow’s, we got soy and now we almond. Milk that is! Now I’m not going to get all preachy or tell you I’m going dairy free. Although I’ve been thinking about it. There has always been something the creeps me out about drinking milk that’s made made for baby cows. And I never understood the stigma against breast-feeding when we freely drink the “breast milk” of another species. It just seems illogical to me.

Either way, The toddler and I have recently hoped on the chocolate soy bandwagon and we like it very much. The key to trying a milk substitute is not thinking of it as a milk. When I first took a sip I thought, “meh. it’s not chocolate MILK.” Then I thought, ummm yeah.. it’s not, it’s chocolate SOY MILK. Then I tried to taste is again without expecting milk and I was able to appreciate it’s flavor for what it is. And it’s YUMMY! We now buy a half gallon of Light Chocolate Soy about twice a month.

However, just like there are those that will tell you cow’s milk is evil, soy milk has it’s haters as well. But almond? I haven’t been able to find any groups that hate almond milk. Well, except for maybe these guys. It will be always something, right?

So a few weeks ago I bought my first container or Almond milk. I poured a glass and took the same approach I did with the soy. Before drinking it I reminded myself it wasn’t MILK it was “Almond beverage” and to my surprise it was delicious! It has a really smooth, sweet, almond taste (duh!). Nothing really like milk except for maybe consistency and color. Then I tried it with my morning cereal and I was blown away! It added a whole new dimension. Nothing beats a bowl of Grape-Nuts with almond milk and some sliced bananas! Make it chocolate almond milk and I’m in heaven!

The only problem. Almond milk is sometimes hard to find, it’s expensive and there are some who say the store bought kind is not all it’s chocked up to be. Man! It IS always something, isn’t it??

So I set out to make my own. I found more then a few sites that showed you how and they all had the same basic recipe. 1 cup of raw almond blended with 3 cups of water plus any other flavors you may want to add (vanilla, dates, etc.) It didn’t seem so hard and you know me, I’ll try anything once. Plus I like the idea of making my own. That way I know exactly what’s in it.

So let me tell you what a did and then what I will do different next time.

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 3 cups water

Measure out the almonds and place in a bowl of water overnight.

1 cup almondsalmonds soaking in water

When you are ready to make the milk. Drain and rinse the almonds. Place the them in the blender with 3 cups of water.

almonds in blenderalmonds blended for almond milk

Blend! I mean what could really be easier? I just cranked it on high for about a minute.

Now here’s where I hit a snag. I searched high and low for cheesecloth ad came up empty handed. I may just have to buy it online. So instead I made my own little filter system with my sifter/strainer and a bowl placed in my sink.

almond milk filtering systemalomond milk draining

I really had no idea if it would work. I just poured the almond milk in and to my surprise it started to filter and I saw “milk” in my bowl and almond grinds in my strainer!

close up of almond milk draining

I poured my almond milk in one of my decorative pitchers (translation: an old vase I use for water) and I took a sip. It was mildly sweet, tasty and… ummmmm… GRITTY! Apparently my filtration system had some flaws. I figured it would. So I strained it again and got a little more grinds out. I’m sure I could have done it a few more time but I accepted the grittiness and vowed to find cheesecloth!

almond milk finishedhomemade almond milk finished

The toddler? Well he just didn’t seem to mind at all! I gave him and glass and he downed it like a frat boy at a kegger party. I was shocked! He drank it so fast I didn’t even have time to snap an acceptable picture!

toddler drinking almondtoddler finish with almond milk

He said it was good and continued with his dinner. That’s a win in my book!

This morning we had it with our grapenuts. I figured the grittiness wouldn’t matter, I mean we are eating grapenuts! We added a few frozen berries and had a delicious breakfast! It’s so satisfying to make something and then sit down with the toddler to enjoy it. It was nice.

So, I’m looking for all almond milk experts out there. Any advice? Tips? Techniques? What do you use the almond grinds for?

For the Almond milk newbies. I urge you to give it a try. You may not like almond milk straight up the way you enjoy a glass of cow’s milk but almond milk in cereal and recipes can add a whole new dimension to your dishes!

(note: there is little info out there on nutritional information about homemade almond milk. Most commercially bought brands are 70 calories a cup with 2.5g of fat and 2g of protein.)

Update: Click here to heck out Homemade Almond Milk Take II with cookies!!!

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Posted in: Beverage Ideas, Food Photos, Snack Ideas, Toddler Approved
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60 Comments and 7 Replies

  1. amanda

    I can seriously drink a 1/2 gallon of almond milk in a few days. I haven’t tried the original, just the vanilla and chocolate. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I sneaked a glass of chocolate to him and he drank it and asked me when I bought chocolate milk for HIM and the boys :P

    I’ll have to try this! Where did you find your raw almonds? I am in a place right now that is limited on Whole Foods/health food stores.

  2. Patty

    Hi Roni. I am with you considering at least limiting dairy if not eliminating it. Actually I don’t think I consume all that much so I don’t think it would be too difficult.

    My daughter shows certain signs of lactose intolerance, but the Dr. told me that the only way to know is to eliminate the lactose and see if the symptoms left. I’ve had her on Lactaid milk for almost a year and she takes the lactaid chewables before other dairy. I still can’t tell if she is or isn’t, I mean she seems somewhat better, but not totally. Maybe she needs to try dairy free to find out for sure.

    Sorry to ramble, but thanks for the link to the dairy free site. I really need to look into it further.

    Oh and by the way I’ve always had those thoughts too about how we easily accept drinking an animal’s milk, but society frowns on a mother nursing in public, I hated feeling like I was doing something, for lack of a better word, “dirty” when I was nursing my kids. But I’m happy and proud to say it didn’t stop me and I know I gave them the best start I could.

    Thanks for the info!

  3. Sonia

    I LOVE almond milk! I tried it for the first time about a month ago when I was eating primarily raw foods 24/7… my first experience was making it homemade, and it was awesome! I want a nut bag, too, but I was too impatient to buy it online… I heard from a friend of mine that you can just get one of those cheese bags (that’s what she called it) from Target or any of those stores, and it works exactly the same. I happened to have a strainer that’s INSANELY small (the holes), so it did a great job of getting rid of all of the nut residue… the only problem is that the strainer itself is not very big, so it takes a long time to strain the milk.

    Anyway, have you tried adding some agave nectar or dates to it? I only add a bit to sweeten it up, but it tastes amazing! :) I also heard you can use the nut residue as a pie crust or something to that effect. :) I’ve just thrown out the nuts thus far, but I plan on using all of it next time!

  4. Sabrina

    I’ve heard of people using the almond meal for almond flour.

    I was wondering what the nutritional info is for your almond milk? I love Diamond’s unsweetened but am trying to cut out the amount of artificial sweeteners I’m consuming!

  5. Amanda

    Okay, I am going to have to give this a try. I LOVE the idea of making my own! I have looked in my local stores for Almond Milk and I can’t find it so this will be the next thing to try. DH and I have recently started going to more organic types of milk. He and DS1 LOVE milk…me…notsomuch.

    You know, when I was breastfeeding DS2, I didn’t even care what people thought when I did it in public. I mean, it’s so natural. We did it in restaurants, the center of the mall at Christmastime, the park–anywhere and I didn’t care. Nothing was ever said to me and I never noticed any rude glances. And now that we are done, I miss it. Sorry to get off topic there.

    Will you add any vanilla or anything else to this in the future? I can’t wait to try it!

  6. Kelly

    I was wondering about the nutritional info. I’ve seen some list the fat pretty high but then the kind you get at the store is pretty low in calories.

    I have a soy milk maker that makes almond milk effortlessly. If you are going to start making this a lot you might want to look into getting one. Mine is called Soyquick.

    If you find any more nutritional info please post it. :)

  7. Tyra

    I have been eyeballing the Almond Milk for a while now and I really have been wanting to try it – It is just so very expensive! So, I love the idea of making it myself. I am confused about the points though… Almonds are high in points (19 points for 1 cup of raw almonds) So, my confusion is you are not taking anything from them, you are adding them to water so even if you used 4 cups of water figuring a cup of the milk per serving would still lend you 4 points per serving?? Would the points really go down that much just from strainging out the nut pulp???? Or, would the points drop from the nuts being soaked and rinsed? I have just started back with WW and am trying to be strict in my efforts so I wouldn’t want to miscalculate and screw myself out of the next size down… The difference of 2 points isn’t that big of a deal per glass, but when you thing about several glasses within a week – it can really add up!!

  8. Amy

    I LOVE almond milk but usually buy mine at TJs (Blue Diamond Unsweetened VAnilla is great and only 45 cal per cup). However, they also make nut milk bags specifically for the purpose of straining the nuts so that you don’t get that grittiness. I’ve also found that linining a strainer with cheesecloth is a great way of keeping all of that pulp from going through.

    In terms of the pulp, I’m not sure. But some people have talked about using it for baking. Now that would be an interesting experiment!

  9. Kristina

    Hi! Great post! I just posted a long post on my pickytots blog re: Milk Allergies/Intolerances and childhood feeding complications. I will have to link to this post since I see so many dairy free kids for therapy! If you want any rec’s for other yummy dairy free foods I have “Milk Free sites” on my blog too. I love the pictures of your little boy drinking the almond milk!!!

  10. Kristina

    P.S. We get the light chocolate soy milk too! My daughter loves chocolate milk and it just makes me feel better to see ‘cane juice’ and the shorter ingredient list, rather than corn syrup, etc! And it Does taste good!

  11. Kim

    This sounds pretty good. I have not tried almond milk, but have been pretty keen on doing so.
    I have been able to find cheese clothe in a crafting store and our local dollar store (not too sure if they have these in the states). Hope this helps you.

  12. Denise

    For staining the almond milk, try a paper coffee filter in the strainer. I have never used it for this, just for other things. It drains pretty slowly, so only do a little bit at a time.

  13. Priyanka

    I am not sure about this but how about using a paper towel on the mesh strainer and then letting the milk strain. It will be pretty slow, bit I guess it should work. I did this to thicken my regular yogurt and in the end most of the liquid was leeched out. Or the Coffee filter could be a great alternative too!

    The almond grits would be perfect to add some texture to brownies, muffins or cakes!

  14. Heather

    Yum! I love making homemade almond milk, but don’t do it often for some unbeknowst reason. Raw almonds cost about $8-$10/lb at most places, but Walgreens has a 1lb bag of Blue Diamond natural (raw) on sale for $4.99 this week, so I’ll have to stock up.

    I’ve only done it with cheesecloth which seems to produce the best results. I got this at a craft store. Good luck finding it!

  15. Robin

    What about straining it with a pair of clean panty hose?

    I have to go on a “Low Iodine Diet” because I have thyroid cancer, and will not be allowed to have any dairy. The only fake-milk I am allowed to have is Hemp Milk, and I didn’t like it. I can make my own almond or rice milk, but can’t buy it in the store because of added salt.
    However, I will definitely try this, and add it to my homemade granola!

  16. Liz Rosenbaum

    Awesome Idea! Now, can you figure out how to make HOMEMADE vanilla Rice Milk? I absolutely LOVE it and dang… it’s expensive! :) I’d love to know how to make that one on my own!

  17. Marla

    Hiya Roni,
    I’ve been making your whole wheat pancakes for a few weeks now and love them. Recently I joined your blog and this is my first comment.
    I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. I will tell you this about the cheesecloth… I find it in Walmart in the paint section. Yes, that’s right, it’s where they have the lint free cloth for using with paint. They used to have it on the kitchen gadget aisle too, but I don’t see it hanging there anymore. Hope this helps you out.
    I look forward to more delicious “experiments” from your site.

    Marla

  18. Bonnie

    I’ve got to try this! I also am interested in your response about the points. Thanks Roni….you’re the best, and I continue to tell people about your websites and send them your way.

  19. Danielle

    I actually was recently considering going dairy free aswell. I was hanging out with a good friend of mine this past wednesday, she’s vegan. Every time we hang out, I’m so inspired to change my life… I just dont know if I’ll be able to go 100% diary free. There is dairy in a lot of things. Where you would least expect it, I think I might cut out milk cheese butter yogurt ect ect. I’m just really not sure if I have it in me to worry about the miniscule amounts of dairy in some prepared foods. (like margerine!)

    I would absolutly LOVE to try the almond milk thing, but alas, I have an intolerance to almonds. UGH! I’ll just stick to the occasional glass of soy milk in my cereal!

  20. Brianne

    Oooh, I am totally inspired by this! I’m not much of a milk drinker because it totally wigs me out to drink another animal’s baby milk. Funny, I have no problem with cheese or sour cream or cream cheese or butter, LOL……

    But almond milk sounds so yummy and EASY! who knew? Thanks, hon!

  21. KC

    Roni! I’m so glad you discovered almond milk. I’ve been drinking it for close to a year now. My favorite is Blue Diamond Unsweetened Chocolate…it’s amazing. You can add any sweetener to it, but it actually tastes good plain. And most cereals have enough sugar in them to compensate for the unsweetened milk. Blue Diamond is a great brand–every few weeks I can find 2/$3 or 2/$4 specials on this stuff, so I stock up when I can. I have made my own and enjoyed it–it’s nice to have nonpasteurized, preservative/additive-free milk for a chance! But when I don’t make my own, I stick with Blue Diamond!

  22. Bessie

    so… I don’t like cows milk- unless there are at least 2 tablespoons of Quick in it… and then it’s only tolerable! So, would I like soy milk or almond milk?? I’ve stayed away from it because, well, it’s MILK!! I’m scared to try either- but after this, i may try it!

  23. roni

    Bessie – Not sure if you like it but I can tell you it’s not “milk”. Like I said it only shared color and texture. Pick some up on your next grocery trip, worse case scenario.. you don’t like it. :)

  24. Melanie Ellsworth

    I just made Almond Milk for the first time and it worked great. I looked everywhere for cheesecloth (including Bed, Bath and Beyond) and I was not able to find it anywhere. I did find Flour Sack Towels at Walmart and they worked just as well as any cheesecloth.

    I am not very fond of the taste yet. Anyone have suggestions to what I could add to make it a little tastier? Thanks! =)

  25. roni

    Melanie – Sure do! I’ve been getting us used to the taste as is but a lot of people add dates, vanilla, agave, honey.

    I’m sure others will chime in as well. :)

  26. Jami

    Wish me luck, I’ve never had almond milk (just never thought to try it). I bought some almonds tonight and can’t wait to try this out tomorrow.

  27. Monica

    We just recently started making our own almond milk in our Vitamix and we love it!! What I use to strain my milk is actually something I got in Thailand to make Thai Tea, but you can get it on Amazon: link to amazon.com

    It works GREAT!! We also add a little honey in for sweetness sometimes. :)

  28. Vickie

    I have to give you my recipe for Creamy Almond Milk. It is really good (tastes better than Almond Breeze which I bought for years). You could adjust the amounts of salt and honey for your preferences.

    2/3 cups raw almonds (that have been soaked in water overnight)
    1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 cup raw oats OR cooked brown rice (I use brown rice)

    Blend dry ingredients to powder.

    Add:

    1 Tbsp pure vanilla
    2 Tbsp raw honey or Agave Nectar

    Add a little water to begin blending Than add more water to make 1/2 gallon of milk. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. This lasts about one week in the refrigerator.

    Recipe from Hallelujah Acres

  29. Deborah

    For nut milks they recommend nut milk bags (I know the name is funny!) but what I use is a cotton pillow case. It works the same, is cheaper, and I can wash it with the laundry! Using a milk bag really helps because you get every last drop out. Also, I dilute my almond milk- while it is thicker, I like to have almond milk for a week or so at a time. What I do is roughly follow 1 cup of nuts to 10-15 cups of water. That does two things- it increases volume and it decreases calories per gulp. It also doesn’t change the taste much.
    Just a few tips.

  30. Jen

    Hi Gang!

    Here’s my recipe that does not use cheesecloth or sieves:
    1.Soak your almonds overnight.
    2. BUY from any fabric or craft section 1/2 yard of UNBLEACHED MUSLIN. Cut it into a square about the size of a bandana, wash it (no detergent, water only).
    3. Next morning, peel the almonds, then ROAST them at 350 for 10 or 12 min. (This helps to warm and release the tasty almond oil and gives the milk a flavor kick).
    4. Using a food processor, grind the nuts to a thick paste that is still somewhat grainy. Adding a little water can help the process, but keep the mixture very thick.
    5. Now the fun part – dampen your muslin in clean filtered water, and spread it over a large cake bowl. Spoon your nutpaste into the center of the square. The sides of the muslin should be long enough not to collapse into the bowl – if they do, get a bigger piece of muslin.
    6. Add your filtered water to the paste, stiring to combine the water and nutpaste. Carefully gather up all the edges of the muslin, give it a twist to lock the nutpaste into the cloth so that it doesn’t squeeze out the top anywhere, and start twisting and squeezing the ball of almondpaste until you get all the liquid out.
    7. Flavor according to taste – we like it with 1T of vanilla and 8 Tbsp sugar to a half gallon of milk. For an extra tasty treat, add 1/2 can of organic coconut milk too.

  31. Laura

    I recently physically discovered the joys of excluding all dairy. I haven’t felt this good ever, the inflammation caused by osteoarthritis has subsided and in 10 days I have dropped 5kg. Of course I really miss the dairy and set out to try every known brand of milk substitute (oat, rice, soy etc). To say I was unhappy was an understatement because no matter what I tried I could not get past the fact that each and every type of substitute although tasting sort of okay (some were completely yuk) had so much crap done to it to make it drinkable (including loads of sugar which is even worse) that it turned me off completely. I kept saying to myself none of this stuff is live food. There is no nourishment to my body because its been treated so much that nothing is left.
    I then discovered homemade almond milk. Its the most wonderful beverage especially on my gluten free muesli breakfast to which I add bits of different fresh fruit and pour fresh ice cold almond (sorry here in Australia its summer). The almond meal residue I get after I strain the milk out I use in cakes and biscuits for the family. It makes a great wheat substitute.

    Its wonderful.

  32. Yoga Goddess

    Have been making almond milk for about a year. Simple no frills. I use a white pillow case to strain it. Just found a recipe in The Thrive Diet book for almond burgers, raw or cooked, a cool way to use the left over meal. Also dehydrate the almond meal if you like in a dehydrater, then run it throught the food processor and use the flower in your baking.
    Glad to know you all are out there doin’ the same stuff I’m doin. Love the way I feel with this way of eating.
    Be Well

  33. liz

    i love vanilla almond milk, especially on the high fiber uncle sam cereal. i will try this and report back! roni, do you mind if i link to this post and/or the one where you try the almond milk again, from my blog?

    thanks for the recipe!

  34. liz

    thanks! i went to hyvee yesterday and they were out of almonds in the bulk natural foods section, boo. maybe they are restocked by now.

  35. Andy

    Please help clear up the Calorie Count Confusion! My entire family has fallen in love with homemade almond milk and we’re drinking a lot, so much that calories are a concern. There seems to be a range of calorie counts given for 1 8 oz. cup of the milk:
    40, 70 or 228. Similarly, there is a range of fat: 2.5 grams all the way up to 178 grams of fat. Can anyone please clear the air? This could wreak havoc on a weight watching program. Thanks very much.

  36. sarah

    I make my own chocloate almond milk that is delicious!

    1 cup raw almonds soaked overnight then rinsed and blended with 3 cups of spring water. I strain it with a muslin sac that my laundry soap nuts came in. I then toss the strained milk back in the blender, add a pinch of salt, a dash of vanilla extract, 4 stevia packets, and 1 tablespoon of pure cocao powder. I give it a quick blend and store it in a glass bottle. My VERY picky 3 yr old loves it and thinks its his chocolate cows milk.

    I am also curious about the calorie count.

    Oh, and I save the almond meal and put it in a fryin pan. I cook it on medium for about 5 minutes to toast it and dry it out. I store it in the fridge and have been adding it to various things. My husband used it in place of flour to make sugar cookies-soo light and good. they almost had a cake like texture.

  37. Doggirl

    Get a nut bag to make the best almond milk. Just google “nut bag” or “vermontfiddlehead”. They only cost abut 10 bucks including postage. Nothing is better or easier to strain the almond milk.

  38. Jamie

    Milk intolerance with my babies made me go to almond milk several years ago. We sweeten with a 1/4 t. stevia. I use a jelly bag to strain mine, and turn the seam to the outside. I’ve noticed that I can get a quart out of 1 cup of almonds if I use a higher quality blender (stick or table). I had to replace my stick blender recently and have a hamilton beach, which doesnt grind as fine, and I can only get 3c. with this level of grind. I dream of having my own vitamix someday. I feed my grounds to the chickens who love them. Before I had chickens I used it for face scrubs (combine it with corn meal ground oatmeal or honey-or all three). I also have a whole pail of dehydrated almonds that I plan to make up for face scrub powders to put in nice jars for Christmas gifts. I order mine online at bulkfoods.com if I can’t find a better deal at my local grocery store. Look for specials around the holidays when they go on sale. Sometimes I can save some change/pound plus my shipping. HTH.

  39. Jamie

    Also if you put a Brazil nut in with the almonds it provides enough phosporus to utilize the calcium in the almonds. We also put vanilla in ours to flavor. A tip: Almond milk can be used in place of cows milk in any dish EXCEPT instant puddings. The structure of the commercial instant puddings count on the casein to gel the product. However if you use the cook and serve that has the cornstarch (or make your own cornstarch based pudding)it works fine. My mother likes almond milk in her mashed potatoes, we don’t, and just use some cook water and real butter.

  40. AJ

    Hello!

    My 14 month old loves almond milk. She is allergic to peanuts so I purchase peanut free almonds. I’m super curious about the nutritional content. I usually make it with 1 cup almonds and 3-4 cups water. She’s a good weight so I’m not worried – just curious I suppose!

    Thank you!! Great article!!

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