Years ago—who am I kidding, it was more than a decade, I had my first sip of freshmade almond milk. It was while I was touring the Natural Gourmet Cookery school, now known as the Natural Gourmet Institute. While tuition costs superceded my dreams of attending, that almond milk has haunted me to this day.
It mostly stayed in the recesses of my brain. Always there, but not part of my everyday thoughts. The last year, though, almond milk has become a more regular guest in my cooking habits. My daughter’s classmate is allergic to dairy, specifically cow’s milk, and anyone who’s been through elementary schools knows the occasions for bringing in goodies are more than the ten digits on my hands can hold.
While I’ve found almond milk a very good substitute for baking cakes and cookies, the packaged stuff has never rocked my palate for drinking straight up. As I looked at the contents I’d poured into the measuring cup, memories of that first sweet sip came flooding back again. It was decided. I was going to learn how to make almond milk.
And now so are you!
It’s actually a very simple process, though it does require about 30 minutes of active time, so plan accordingly. Cost-wise, it’s a little more to make it than buy your own, but once you take your first taste, you won’t need anymore convincing. I’ve since poured an icy glass to dunk chocolate chip cookies, steamed some to make hot cocoa, used it in oatmeal and it adds a natural flavor to my morning coffee.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own almond milk:
200 grams blanched almonds
3 cups (675 ml) filtered water
fine strainer or sieve
4-cup measuring glass
cheesecloth (see my tip for an alternative)
Combine the almonds and water in a deep bowl, and let soak overnight.
Add soaked almonds and the remaining water to the bowl of a blender; rinse bowl, you’ll need it again later. Blend until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.
Arrange a strainer over the measuring glass. Pour the almond mixture through the strainer, using a rubber spatula to press as much liquid as possible from the solids. Discard the almond pulp—this is what it looks like.
Arrange the cheesecloth over a deep bowl, pour in the almond milk. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth to make a sack. Twist a few times, then squeeze cheesecloth to press the almond milk through. You’ll have some additional almond pulp remaining once all the milk has been extracted, discard those solids.
Store almond milk in a clean mason jar or glass bottle, and use within 3 days. Shake well before pouring.
Makes 2 cups
- If almond milk is part of your regular routine, then feel free to double the recipe, but you’ll likely need to blend it in two batches, unless you have a large volume blender.
- The almonds can also be set to soak during the day while you’re at work if you don’t have time to finish the process in the morning hours. Simply set up the almonds and water before you leave for work, and they’ll be ready to blend when you get home or after the dinner dishes are done.
- Blanched vs. Skin-On Almonds (unroasted & unsalted)—I tested this recipe using both. Skin-on almonds are very acceptable if that’s all you can easily find, but I preferred the cleaner, creamy taste from using blanched almonds (these also happen to be less expensive in my bulk foods section, so go figure).
- Vanilla Almond Milk—This is an option too, if you like. Personally, the taste of unadultered plain almond milk has such a lovely flavor, I like it just as-is. To make your own flavored almond milk, just add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract to the ingredients before you blend them. If you’re gluten-free, be sure to use a gluten-free extract, such as Nielsen-Massey.
Recipes where I’ve used almond milk is an easy swap: