My Favorite Tool For Making Non-Dairy Milks
Since we try to eat mostly plant-based at our house (and I have a high dairy food sensitivity), we go through a decent amount of non-dairy milk every week. My husband likes almond milk, I like cashew milk, and sometimes we do rice or coconut milk. But I’ve been trying to weed out extra ingredients that are used as preservatives in foods (even in “healthier” foods) and make more of those same items at home, and non-dairy milk has been in that category the past year. Until recently, I’ve been doing the good old-fashioned version of using a blender and nut milk bags to make milk, but I always hated it and it felt like such a messy chore as I hated using the milk bags. If you use a larger weave bag, you get a lot of ground grains in your milk and if you use a fine weave bag, it takes forever to squeeze out all the milk as the holes are so small and the grains inside the bag keep blocking the milk from coming out. And of course some people do the two-strain process with a larger then a smaller weave bag, but that’s even more work, so I never wanted to do that method either.
Anyway, I had just about given up on making non-dairy nut milks at home and then I saw the phrase “nut milk maker” floating around the internet, and once I knew that was a thing I immediately had to look up all the options in that category to see if there was one that would make the process more enjoyable for me. It took me a little bit of digging, but I eventually decided on this milk maker and I’m so glad that I did!
One main thing that I like about this milk maker (and what makes it different from other milk makers I looked at) is that it strains out the nut/rice/soy/coconut bits for you so you don’t have to! It has this metal cylinder basket with tiny holes that you put your nuts into and it grinds the nuts in that basket, keeping the larger grains inside of the basket so you don’t have to strain anything. You do end up with more or less “pulp” in the basket depending on what you are using to make the milk, so when I do cashew milk there’s almost nothing in there—but quite a bit of almond or coconut pulp left when I make those milks. You can use that leftover pulp to make recipes though, so make sure to check out some yummy treats like this so you don’t waste the leftover bits. Some nuts (like almonds and cashews) you do want to soak first overnight (or sometimes I soak them in the morning and then make the milk at night) before putting into the machine, but that part is the same as using a blender, so unfortunately you don’t get to skip that step. I soak the nuts while in the metal basket so you don’t have to transfer them once they are ready, attach the basket, push the grind button 5-6 times (the more you press it, the thicker your milk will be), and then pour the milk into a glass container where I add a capful of vanilla extract, a shake of salt, and a little maple syrup. Lola drinks the cashew milk every morning—she loves it!
For coconut milk, I fill the basket about 3/4 full with large dry shaved coconut shavings and then blend 5-6 times. I add the same salt, vanilla, and maple syrup to that too and it’s so good.
The whole process feels so much easier to me than doing the nut milk/bag method that I honestly don’t even mind making the milk anymore. There are times where I’ll forget to make it and be on my way to bed and see it on the counter and think, “Oh yeah, let me quickly do this first!” That would never ever happen with the blender method for me, so that was a big cue for me that I find this method a lot simpler. You can also make soups and porridges and use the grinder to grind coffee and other items, but so far I’ve only used it to make the nut milk.
Now, if you are a person that simply cannot handle one more item on your counter, then you may want to stick with the nut bag method. But if making your own non-dairy milk always feels like a pain to you, then this may be your new favorite kitchen gadget too! xo. Laura
Credits//Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.