Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Night Owls and Early Birds: The Story of Homemade Almond Milk

I am and have always been a morning person. The latest I've ever slept in was 11 am, and that was after a full month of no school and no work. Mike is night owl, not the extreme, up til 3 am every night, sort, but a night owl nonetheless.

What's been the real surprise is how well this works for us. After 2+ years of 4 hour drives and nightly skype calls, we got comfortable with our time apart. Last August we moved not only to the same city but also to the same apartment. And to be 100% honest, I love my quiet weekend mornings alone.

Most mornings I hunker down in front of the TV and indulge in all sorts of guilty pleasures: Bridezillas marathons, food documentaries, Pretty Little Liars. Anything is fair game. Last Saturday was a different story though. Last Saturday I woke up empowered. I woke up on a mission, a mission to make...

Homemade Almond Milk

You'll notice that I'm one of the lucky people with the pleasure of owning a Vitamix. I loooooove it and totally recommend it if you are a big blender user. Ours gets used daily for a wide variety of things. 

I think this recipe will work with a less powerful blender. Worst case scenario would be that you wasted a cup of almonds, so it's probably worth trying. The one piece of "equipment" you MUST have however is a nut milk bag. My bag came with my blender. You can find cheaper ones online or in specialty cooking stores. You can also make your own using a porous fabric. This tutorial uses tea towels.

There are probably a million different variations to the standard nut milk recipe, but the method is always the same. 

1. Soak the Almonds In a bowl, cover 1 cup of almonds completely with water. The almonds will expand as they absorb the water so be sure you have some extra room at the top of the bowl. This step is really, really important. I soaked mine overnight. You should try to soak for at least 8 hours. I've heard that an hour with very hot water will do in a pinch. Once you're ready to start making the milk, drain and rinse the almonds.

Beautiful, plump, and ready to blend.

2. Add to the Blender with Water Add the almonds and 3-4 cups of water to your blender. I used 4 cups and thought it turned out great. Less water should result in a slightly thicker milk. I also added a drizzle of agave at this point, but you could wait til later in the process too.

3. Blend! This is probably a good time to mention that Mike was already starting to wake up. Though who could really be upset about waking up to freshly made almond milk. #FirstWorldProblems

4. Milk that Bag This was my favorite part. Growing up in Wisconsin but having never milked a real cow, I found this part oddly rustic and wholesome. Place your nut milk bag over a large bowl and pour the entire contents of the blender in the bag. Then gently squeeze out the liquid. The remaining almond pulp in your nut milk bag can be used for all sorts of things so don't toss it out! I'll make sure to post whatever I end up doing with mine.

No animals were harmed in the making of this almond milk.

5. Flavor If you want to make a flavored almond milk now is the time, if you want to rock the plain milk you can just skip this step. I made a batch of plain and a batch of chocolate. Pour your plain milk back into the blender and add whatever flavorings you choose: cocoa powder, vanilla, more sweeter, cinnamon...the sky is the limit. Do a quick google search and you'll find tons of great ideas. 

For my chocolate batch, I added 100% cocoa powder (try to use fair trade if you can), agave syrup, and the secret ingredient...a shake of sea salt. No idea how much I used of what. I'm very much a "guess and test" person in the kitchen.

It might seem weird to add salt, but let me tell you something magical happens. This simple chocolate milk takes on the delicious complexity of the store bought chocolate milk gallons of your youth. Trust me on this one. Add the salt.

6. Chill and Enjoy The beautiful nut milk you just made tastes great straight from the blender, but it gets even better after being chilled in the fridge. We used a couple of inexpensive bottles with stoppers from Ikea to store our milk. Anything with a lid will work fine. 


PS Tomorrow is Bang Day. After marathoning season 1 of New Girl, I'm only half terrified. But hey it's only hair right??

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