Updated: Aug 31
You'll go nuts over this creamy, dreamy, multipurpose, multi-nut, DIY nondairy milk!
For the printable recipe click here.
Growing up, I hated drinking milk.
This fact, however, did not prevent my parents from requiring me to drink a large glass of the stuff before leaving the dinner table or getting dessert each night. To make it more palatable, my mom would add vanilla extract or suggest that I hold my nose when sipping. Nothing helped. Yet, despite my protests, my parents insisted because dairy was "part of a healthy diet."
Back then, there was a series of commercials, each featuring a scrawny kid peering hopelessly into a mirror, where someone like Cindy Crawford (or the male equivalent) would appear as their future reflection--a destiny assured to them IF they drank their milk. "Milk," the marketing slogan said. "It does a body good."
I think many of us of a certain age still see this commercial in our heads, so bravo, dairy association.
Fast forward to today, while the Cindy Crawford ideal may have evaded me, I couldn't be happier to embrace a mostly dairy-free healthful lifestyle and am thrilled the grocery store shelves are lined with non-dairy milk options. I mean, if the promise of looking like a supermodel wasn't enough to get me drinking my milk, it really wasn't going to happen.
Nevertheless, some of my kids will beg for the cow's milk they get at other people's houses. The littlest monsters love coconut milk, but Monster 2 is less enthused. Monster 3 follows the lead of Monster 2, and Monster 1 is convinced the only suitable replacement for dairy milk is oat milk, which isn't even paleo.
Store-bought nut milk can be so hit-or-miss anyway. Whether almond, walnut, or cashew milk, when it comes to nut milks, it seems like each of us has a different preference. Plus, we always have to check the labels for things like carrageenan, added sugar, or other undesirables.
A reluctant start
I'd had it in mind to try my hand at homemade nut milk for years, but for some reason I always shied away. When you look at the price of raw almonds, you have to wonder if homemade almond milk is gonna be worth your time, you know?
Recently, however, I'd started wondering what it would be like to make a mashup of not one or two, but FOUR of my favorite nuts, plus coconut! Getting this custom blend from the store was certainly not an option, so it was finally time to make my own nut milk. I ordered myself a nut milk bag and got to work.
The result is so creamy and delicious with all the best in flavor, texture, and nutrients from the incredible variety of goodness represented within.
Ready, set, go! How to make your own nut milk
Making DIY nut milk is actually ridonkulously easy. You just need a few key items, time to soak the nuts and strain the milk, and space in the fridge to stash the nuts while soaking.
high-speed blender, such as Vitamix, or a food processor with a large capacity.
Sieve set over a large bowl (something tall like a bowl from a Kitchen Aid stand mixer works great)
Nut milk bag (cheesecloth works also, but a nut milk bag makes things cleaner and easier)
So what is a nut milk bag?
The one I have is a very simple drawstring pouch made from organic cotton. It came with no care instructions, but I like to wash it by itself on hot with just a smidge of a "clean" detergent and an extra rinse cycle to help get rid of any detergent residues. I tumble dry on high heat. So far, so good.
The bag is the perfect size for a batch of nut milk, and the drawstring helps to contain everything so you don't end up with nut mess out the wazoo.
It cost me roughly $10, which is probably $9.50 more than it cost the company to make it, but still pretty affordable assuming I use it more than a couple of times--which I intend to do!
It's as easy as this:
Soak the nuts in several cups of water overnight. You could use hot water to make it go faster, but I prefer to use cold to maintain more of the nutrients in the raw nuts. I let the nuts soak in the blender canister to make things extra simple.
Blend the nuts with the water in a high speed blender until fairly smooth. A longer blend leads to a creamier milk.
Pour the mixture into the nut milk bag set over a fine mesh sieve set over a tall bowl; pull the drawstrings to close the bag.
Let the milk drain out. I like to place this setup in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let gravity get a good start on things. After that, simply squeeze the nut milk bag to wring out as much of the milk as possible. To me, it's actually a little like milking a cow, haha.
Should you discard the leftover pulp?
Absolutely not! If wastefulness gets you down, I'm right there with you.
After you've squeezed out as much of the liquid as possible from the nut milk bag, the leftover pulp will have a moist, almost crumbly dough-like consistency.
You can spread this mixture out in a dehydrator and use the dried pulp like almond meal for baking or breading, or you can go ahead and bake with it immediately. Of course, the latter will require a little experimenting since the extra moisture prevents it from being an easy swap for almond flour in your favorite recipes. The monsters love Monster Milk Muffin Balls, a super easy recipe featuring fresh Monster Milk pulp.
What plants can you milk?
When you think of plant-based milk, nut milks are probably the first thing that comes to mind. All kinds of different nuts are wonderful for milking.
Monster milk is a combination of walnut, hazelnut, pecan, cashew, and coconut (which is not a nut).
Macadamia nuts make wonderful milk as well, but I often find it more challenging to source macadamias that are not already roasted and salted, and in my experience, they tend to have greater issues with rancidity.
Another option is to make seed milk using flax or hemp seeds. In fact, one of the monsters' favorite store-bought milks is flax milk, though its price tag is a pretty big deterrent. We haven't tried homemade flax or hemp milk yet, but I'm hoping we can get to that soon!
Of course there are also oat milk, rice milk, or soy milk, but those (along with other grains or legumes) would be outside the realm of this paleo blog.
How should you store your homemade milk?
So you've completed your great recipe and officially become a nut milk maker. Now you need to store the stuff!
Unlike many store-bought nut milks, your homemade nut milk contains no stabilizers, thickeners, homogenizers, or preservatives of any kind. Therefore, you'll want to give it a good shake before you pour it, and you won't want to keep it around for ages.
Still, it will keep well in a glass jar or similar airtight container in the fridge for at least a week. But you'll probably drink it all before you test that boundary.
What can you do with Monster Milk?
All sorts of things!!
Of course you can drink it straight, bake with it, and throw it in smoothies, just like with any store-bought milk. But my favorite way to use it is with coffee.
I like to blend up cold brew, Monster Milk, a couple of dates, and a little bit of cocoa powder for a quick cold-brew mocha, or swap out the cold brew for frozen coffee cubes to make more of a frappe. YUM!!
Here's what you'll need:
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Here's what you'll do:
Place all ingredients in the canister of a high speed blender and cover with enough cool water so the water level is 7 cups.
Place the canister in the fridge and let the nuts soak overnight, at least 8 hours.
Place the canister on the motor and blend till almost completely smooth, at least one minute.
Set a fine mesh sieve over a tall bowl and set the nut milk bag over the sieve. Pour the nut mixture into the nut milk bag slowly to allow the milk to begin to let the milk drain out without overflowing the sieve. Pull the drawstrings on the nut milk bag and place the whole setup in the fridge to let gravity help with the draining for at least 30 minutes.
Squeeze the nut milk bag to release the remainder of the milk. Continue to squeeze until you are no longer able to extract milk.
Transfer the milk from the tall bowl to glass jars or the airtight containers of your choice. Give a good shake before drinking!
For the printable recipe click here.
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