Minnesotans sure do love their milk! Not only is the state of Minnesota the seventh largest producer of milk, it is also one of the largest consumers. In fact, we love milk so much that we named it our official state beverage in the 1980s.
As a young child, I always drank my obligatory glass of milk each day, preferably with a chocolate chip cookie or two on the side. This continued for many years until I discovered that I was lactose intolerant. Although lactose intolerance is a fairly common digestive disease, being dairy-free in a state of milk lovers isn’t always easy. Then, I discovered dairy-free milk.
No more crying over cow’s milk
Since I’ve been dairy-free by default for more than 12 years, I have had the opportunity to sample the majority of the milk alternatives on the market. Although soy milk is one of the most commonly sold and consumed alternatives, almond, cashew, coconut, and hemp milk are my favorites.
Despite the fact that the demand for dairy-free milk is increasing, many supermarkets don’t routinely stock it. Furthermore, many of the dairy-free milks they do offer are often laden with sugar and other not-so-natural additives. Fortunately, making your own dairy-free milk is easier than you may realize.
Got milk? How to make almond milk
- 1 cup raw almonds, preferably organic
- 2 cups water, plus more for soaking
- Sweeteners like dates, honey, or maple syrup, to taste, optional
- Flavor enhancers like cacao, almond extract, vanilla beans, sea salt, etc.., to taste, optional
- Measuring cup
- Blender – I use a Vitamix but most high-powered blenders will work
- Cheese cloth
1. Soak the almonds for 8-10 hours. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with about an inch of water. The almonds will increase in size.
2. Drain and rinse the almonds. Drain the almonds, discarding the soaking water. Rinse almonds thoroughly under cool running water.
3. Combine the almonds and water in a blender. Place the almonds in the blender and cover with 2 cups of fresh water.
4. Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. Pulse the blender a few times to break up the almonds then blend continuously for two minutes. The almonds should be broken down into a very fine pulp and the water should be white and opaque. Just like milk.
5. Strain the almonds. Line a bowl or strainer with the opened cheese cloth. Pour the almond mixture into the bowl or strainer.
6. Press all the almond milk from the almond pulp. Gather the cheese cloth around the almond pulp and twist close. Squeeze and press with clean hands to extract as much almond milk as possible. You should get about 2 cups. Save the leftover pulp! You can dry it and use it to make tasty dairy-free treats later.
7. Sweeten to taste. Taste the almond milk, and if a sweeter drink is desired, add sweetener to taste. About 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup or 3-4 dates should be sufficient but it’s ultimately up to you.
8. Add flavor enhancers to taste. My favorite flavor combination includes vanilla beans (or vanilla bean powder), dates, and sea salt. Of course, a glass of chocolate almond milk is pretty awesome too!
9. Refrigerate the almond milk. Store the almond milk in sealed containers in the fridge for up to two days.
10. Enjoy! Pour yourself a tall glass of homemade almond milk. If you’re feeling indulgent, dunk a dairy-free cookie or two in the milk.
Feeling ambitious? Check out these blogs for more dairy-free milk recipes!