Milking Almonds…what?

Ah Almond Milk. . .or Drink or whatever the Dairy Industry wants us to call the white creamy goodness that comes from pulverized almonds. Here in the CatHouse it’s Almond Milk. 🙂 This nut milk has been our go to for cooking, baking, drinking, and cereal eating for the last 3 or so years. Recently, when a Trader Joe’s opened in our city we started buying Raw Almonds and making Almond Milk at home. We both prefer the fresh stuff, without preservatives and sugars.

If you look up Almond Milk recipes online there are many different opinions on how much water to add to 1 cup of soaked almonds. I even found different ways of measuring the almonds. Some said measure before soaking, others say to measure after. After having made almond milk for the last few months I am confident in my take on the recipe, so decided to share it!

The CatHouse Almond Milk Recipe

makes 6 cups or 1 1/2 quarts

Step 1

1 cup Raw Almonds (measured before soaking)

2 cups filtered water

Soak almonds in water over night or 10 to 12 hours in a covered bowl. I have been known to soak them as long as 2 days when I can’t find the time to blend them up! The trick to extended soaking is to change the water every 12 hours. I keep my bowl of soaking almonds on the counter, but it is cool in my house this time of year (between 55 and 68 degrees, we believe in bundling up in the spring instead of using the gas furnace). I am not sure if I will be able to do this in the summer when the temperature in the kitchen seems to stay in the high 70s and low 80s (makes for a miserable baking season! The joys of living in an old house!).

Almond Milk Soaking almondsAlmond Milk 12

When almonds have soaked long enough you will notice a definite change in size and texture. Drain and Rinse. You will now have about 1 1/2 cups Raw Almonds.

Almond Milk Compare

Step 2

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups soaked Raw Almonds

6 cups filtered water

3 whole dried dates (optional if you don’t wish to sweeten, though this amount of dates is actually less sweet than unsweetened Amond Milk you buy)

Almond Milk 13

Place Almonds in high powered blender, I use my Oster 14 speed blener, then pour in 3 cups of the filtered water (If you have a higher capacity blender you can add more water). Break up the dates, to make sure there is not pit and to make blending easier. Do NOT skip this step the pit of the date is very hard and can damage your blender! Put the lid on and start  the blender on a low setting and slowly turn it up to 11 or milkshake leave it for 5 minutes or so. Then for the last minute turn it up to highest setting, 14.

Almond Milk 11

Now comes the straining part. Some people dread this part, and there are many ways to do it. You can use a mesh strainer with very small holes, if you don’t mind a little grit remaining. Or you can use a Nut Bag, or you could do what I do and use the mesh strainer with two coffee filters.

I’m only using coffee filters because I rescue them from work where they would be thrown away. You see, the coffee we order comes with standard coffee filters in each box, but we use a commercial coffee maker that requires gigantic filters. So the standard coffee filters are free game and often end up in the trash. Needless to say I have a stock pile of them. I have used them for crafting and cleaning (mirrors and windows), and now I use them to make silky smooth almond milk! 

I set the mesh strainer and coffee filter over a medium size bowl with a spout for easy pouring. I pour in about 1 cup of the Almond blend at a time, filling up the filter. Then comes the waiting. Once the stream of almond milk stops I gather up the filter and gentle squeeze from the top down. Easy gentle pressure is the key, or the filters will rip. Then I dump out the Almond Pulp on a cookie sheet. This pulp will soon become Almond Meal or Almond flour. . .but that’s another post! Also keep an eye on the Almond Milk level in the bowl you strain into, once the milk reaches the mesh strainer you need to pour it into your designated container. I use a glass pitcher I found at HomeGoods.

Almond Milk 6

Almond Milk 2

Once I have about 1 cup of the Almond mixture still in the blender I add another 2 cups of filtered water (for those of you counting this means we have now used 5 of the 6 required cups). Put the lid on the blender, and turn it back on, starting slowly and then bringing it up to 14 again. This time you only need to blend for about a minute.

Now, you do NOT need to blend in the remaining 3 cups the way I do, but I have found that if water is added to the Almond Milk after straining it is prone to separating in the fridge over time. This doesn’t hurt the milk, a quick shake fixes it, but I find simply following these steps keeps the Almond Milk together much better.

So, now you have 3 more cups of Almonds mixture to filter, keep on going! If you are using the coffee filter method and they rip, simply dump the Almond Pulp onto the cookie sheet and grab two more! Once the blender is empty it will still have a lot of Almond residue. This is when that last cup of filtered water comes in, I add it to the blender, cover, and turn it on high. Then strain this last cup as well. This last step cleans the blender and ensures you are not wasting any almonds. Pour the last bit of Almond mixture, that will be watery compared to the rest of the Almond Milk. Swirl or stir to combine. Then refrigerate! Use in cooking, baking, or in your cereal. We love to make Steel Cut Oatmeal using only Almond Milk, it makes the creamiest yummiest Oatmeal ever.

Almond Milk 4

Again you do not have to do all of this craziness. You could just blend the Almonds and dates with 3 cups of water, strain, then add the remaining 3 cups of water to the strained mixture, but these steps work best for me!
If you want to make only 1 quart then start with 3/4 cup Raw Almonds, which will give you 1 cup of Soaked Almonds. Then add 4 cups filtered water and 2 dates!

I hope my directions aren’t too confusing! But this is what I have found works best for my 5 cup blender. If you have an 8 or 10 cup blender then try adding more water at once and cutting down on the steps! Now go forth and make milk! or um Almond drink, whatever. 🙂

For the sake of this “photo shoot” I made two batches so this is the 12 cups of Almond Milk I ended up with.

Almond Milk 5

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