Milky Milky but not actually Milk

I’ve now been vegan for 10 months which seems astounding to me as the time has flown by. Those first few months were a little bit exciting, daunting and intriguing all at the same time. Everything felt new; learning about my nutritional requirements, trying to take it step by step, trying new foods and learning new words. 

Now – ten months in, I feel completely relaxed and confident with my lifestyle and diet. I feel comfortable in my own skin and I feel like part of a wonderful, aware, no bull***t community with shared goals and ideals regardless of the journey or reasons it took for us to get here.  

Ten months in I feel more confident as time passes to try new things. I look back at my first posts and see my confusion about what to put in my tea, how I can replace cheese with something I love as much etc etc. Its interesting to see how your taste buds change and adapt with time. I now drink soy, almond or any old milk in my tea and love them all. They don’t taste weird any more or like they are a replacement for something, they are the something. I don’t even miss cheese – and find my replacements for it flavoursome and delish. I’ve made my own cheese many a time and enjoy it just as much. Daiya and its gooey meltyness has helped along the way of course.

So – this takes me to (in my mind) some next level ninja stuff. Making my own soy and almond milk. This is something that would have freaked me out massively ten months ago. I couldn’t even think about doing something like this as it wouldn’t have seemed do-able. I had enough on my plate figuring out what I was going to eat and how I was making sure my nutritional intake was healthy and sustainable, let alone attempting to make my own milk.

This weekend I took on the ninja stuff and decided it was time.

Who needs cows milk? Not this vegan.

Who needs cows milk? Not this vegan.

Funnily enough – and unexpectedly so – making my own milks was really easy. Far easier, in fact, than making my own cheeses or making some of the yummy desserts I have also tried in the last year. It turns out that the assumption that making vegan alternative milks was a glass barrier of expectation all in my mind. It wasn’t hard at all, quite the opposite, it was reassuringly easy. I could have done this months and months ago.

 

 

I still feel a little yoda for having attempted it to be honest and I am certainly intrigued by this new skill and the possibilities it opens up in terms of my options. Its certainly cheaper than buying shop bought and assumedly more sustainable too (far less waste and packaging created) but what now matters is whether I can equal the taste of the shop bought options that I have come to love.

So – how did I do it. Here goes….

Almond Milk:

  • 2/3 cup almonds (soaked 12-14 hours)
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1-2 pitted dates
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar

Drain the soaked almonds and rinse thoroughly, then blend all ingredients on high in a blender for 1-2 minutes until well combined.

Strain through a fine cheesecloth/muslin to produce a smooth milk that doesn’t contain any pieces. Keeps in a sealed jar or bottle for 2-3 days.

…and that’s literally it. Its that simple and the flavour is lovely. Truly lovely. Light and nutty and smooth. I can’t wait to have it with my oats for breakfast tomorrow!

Soy Milk

This one was a little trickier. Only a little but it did take more effort and more attention than the almond milk. The process starts the same – you soak the organic yellow soybeans in water for about 12 hours and then wash and drain them.

The almond and soy side by side.

The almond and soy side by side.

It then gets a little trickier from there as you have to remove their skins. Their what I thought….how on earth do you achieve this…I had no interest in individually skinning 100’s of small soybeans. So…instead I opting for a process of exerting gentle pressure on a handful of them at a time and rolling them inbetween my fingers and palms. This released the skins from the beans and I then picked through the beans and removed them as I found them. I guess this whole process took me about 20 minutes of repeating the activity until no more skins seemed apparent.

After that point I blitzed them in the blender with the water (the recipe is to follow) before bringing to boil for about 5 minutes. I then added vanilla, agave and a little caster sugar (as I like my soy with a little sweetness) and carried on simmering it for about 30 mins skimming off the froth and any skin that started to form on top. I tasted as I went adding more vanilla as I went along to taste.

The lovely recipe I borrowed was from this blog: http://simpleveganblog.com/homemade-soy-milk/

Once cooled I took it off the hob and let it cool completely before popping it in a bottle for my enjoyment! I did put some in a coffee and enjoyed it whilst hot….lovely.

…And thats it – that’s how easy it is to make your own milk. I feel full jedi vegan now that I have attempted and semi mastered this. I feel hopeful that I will continue to make my own milks and through trial and error will find the blend that I love. I think I might try macadamia milk next. Yum.

 

 

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