One problem that a lot of people have had is finding milk and milk alternatives, especially if they are trying to stay out of stores and out of town.
Matt and I have spent some time coming up with our own version of things. Yes we did order some regular almond milk when the whole COVID-19 situation started looking a little more serious. This allowed for a cushion but we know that it may be quite some time before a regular supply of almond milk is available via mail order.
Matt and I have also had many conversations about how it doesn’t make a lot of sense to ship a lot of products that are largely water. The weight and overall inefficiency and the amount of storage things like that take up is impressive. When I look at what 12 quarts of almond milk takes up on the shelf in my pantry it is easy to see that.
The Silk Almond Protein Milk that we both really like is not available in a shelf-stable version. It was $4 for a half-gallon at the store. It was good for when you were out working and just wanted some quick energy when you came in and the additional protein was great to have.
Since we haven’t been to the store in months we have been doing a lot of online shopping.
I noticed that although people had bought up a lot of basic ingredients, pea protein was still available on Amazon. This is the ingredient that is responsible for the protein that is in our favorite store-bought almond milk. Right then I thought “hey I am going to figure out how to make Matt’s favorite almond milk at home”.
The Main Ingredients and Supplies
- Blue Diamond Fine Almond Flour
- Anthony’s Pea Protein Powder
- Vanilla Extract. I like to make my own sometimes, otherwise, I buy Simply Organic or something similar.
- Sweetener (Many options are possible. Keep reading for what we tried and what worked for us!)
- Something to store your milk in
Take 1 cup almond flour and add to 4 cups of water in a blender. Blend well and let sit for 10-15 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth or a very fine metal strainer. You may still need cheesecloth to get some pulp out. Save the pulp for adding to baked goods. There is a lot of nutrition left in it and it would be a shame to waste. Don’t discard your blender. You will be blending one more time.
Pour the mixture back in the blender and add 6 tablespoons pea protein powder and blend well. This is your base that you can add vanilla, sweetener, or other ingredients to as desired.
1.5 tsps of regular sugar per 8 ounces or 6 tsps total will make your protein milk as sweet as the store version. We tried honey in ours, adding about 7 tsp and it was a little too sweet for us.
The pea protein powder made it taste a little grainy which is not the texture a lot of people care for. If you are used to graininess in protein shakes then it is probably not going to be much of an issue. However, we did decide to cook the pea protein or soften it with boiling water and try again to see if that reduced the graininess at all. If you don’t care about the protein powder and just want almond milk, then you can just skip it and have inexpensive almond milk.
Matt cooked 6 tbsp of pea protein in a cup of water and used that in the second batch. The total volume of liquid was still a quart. He blended the whole mixture for 20 minutes. The graininess was reduced but still there and there was some separation of the contents as it sat.
Overall the biggest issue was filtration. The taste was quite rich and good. I think that if we had used cheese cloth to filter the almond flour out or used just crushed blanched almonds and allowed for a long soaking time we would have achieved better results. At the same time there might be times when you can find almond flour but not whole almonds that you can crush. I think that you can get more flavor faster with almond flour but you really need to take the time to use a few layers of cheesecloth.
How long does the homemade version keep?
I know that someone is going to ask about the shelf life of this product after it is mixed. Since this is a new thing for us and we are not using any of the preservatives found in the store version, I cannot give you a definitive number of days for that. I would recommend just mixing up enough for 2-3 days to avoid waste. It only takes a minute or two and that way you don’t risk wasting ingredients with the supply chain being what it is right now.
I will say from my own experience with making products and keeping them in the fridge that the more you open it the more likely it is to become contaminated or go bad. So if you make a half-gallon of almond milk you may want to put it in 2 separate containers if you are trying to make it last longer.
Chocolate Protein Milk
I don’t eat a lot of sweets but I sure miss being able to get this stuff at the grocery store. Well you can take our base recipe and add some cocoa powder to it and maybe a little more sugar than usual and get a good version of it. Try heating this up in the microwave or in a pot on the stove for the best hot chocolate you have ever had. If you have a few chocolate chips or Hershey’s Kisses, you can add one or two in the warm mixture for a real treat. Top with little marshmallows if you have them!
Add a fresh banana to the mixture. I do have to say that if you do this to make sure to just make enough to consume quickly. Bananas mean a shorter shelf life in the fridge.
A little peanut butter will add a lot of calories and protein to this milk.
Blueberries or Strawberries
Berry Almond Protein milk sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Just throw in whatever berries you have and you will get something really delicious.
Of course, you can make all kinds of delicious smoothies by using the base almond milk recipe we have provided and adding in whatever you have on hand that is delicious. This is a good way to make a smoothie that can be a meal replacement or provide great nutrition if someone is having trouble holding down solid foods or anything at all.
This is not really less expensive than buying the store version but at least it can be managed at home and the base ingredients are actually available from various online retailers and bulk food suppliers. We are likely going to continue making some type of almond milk at home in the future.
14 cups of almond flour cost around $14 so $0.50-$1.00 per quart depending on how rich you make the almond milk.
I am not really sure how much the vanilla costs that goes into each quart because I use more or less at times. Let’s just say $0.25.
The pea protein was around $1.00 per quart
That puts the cost at around $2.00-$2.75 per quart depending on what type of sweetener you use and how rich you make it.
One thing we like is that we can also change the amount of sugar and the type of sweetener used so that the milk is healthier than the store version. Since my Dad cannot eat a lot of sugar, making this at home means we can create a version that he can enjoy as well.
Buying the dry ingredients might be a lot easier than finding the liquid version in the store. It is very hard to have enough liquid almond milk on hand to get through a very long period of time. Dry ingredients change that.
If you have a favorite alternative milk, there is a good chance you can figure out how to make a version of it at home if you take the time to look at the ingredients list and source them in bulk online.
People like to purchase premade products and those are often the first to sell out. By figuring out how to make your own milks, you can insulate yourself from shortages and I bet you will save some money too.
Amazon has a lot of bulk foods like pea protein powder and such but you should look at other places that specializes in bulk health foods because Amazon is not as reliable as it once was.
Do you have a good method for making alternative milk? Any tips for getting ingredients to blend well together?