18
Sep

Homemade Dairy-Free Milk with Almond Cow

Homemade Dairy-Free Milk with Almond Cow sitting on a table next to a platter of chocolate chip cookies
This post is sponsored by our friends at Almond Cow
All opinions are my own

I'm in love! I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it! Danielle here, with yet another Christmas movie reference. Sorry.

But really. I'm in love with a new machine in my life. The Almond Cow.

I'm not usually one to purchase a lot of kitchen gadgets or small appliances. I tend to lean towards minimalist, and especially like to keep my kitchen counters clean. So when I heard about the Almond Cow in it's start-up days, a machine for making homemade dairy-free milk a few years ago, I will admit, while I was incredibly intrigued, I wasn't an early adopter.

Nut milk bags, blenders, spills, and soaking

Though my lack of early adoption wasn't because I was happy making homemade dairy-free milk in my blender. To be completely honest, after spending the first few years of my paleo journey making everything from scratch- condiments, almond milk, coffee creamer, beef jerky, granola – I was burnt out. Especially with the nut-milk making process.

This will sound dramatic, but it's the truth – I did not ever want to look at a nut-milk bag again, and I always, always, forgot to soak almonds 24 hours in advance of needing almond milk for a recipe. The process of soaking, pureeing, and then hand squeezing the liquid out of a cheesecloth bag was messy and time consuming. I had milk miss the bowl every time (maybe it was just me, but I always had pools of wasted milk on the counter after diligently “milking” that nut milk bag like a cow's udders).

And I usually wanted the immediate gratification or needed the milk immediately for recipe testing. I switched from making almond milk to making cashew milk more frequently because I could do a quick soak and it didn't need to be strained. I haven't made a homemade batch of almond milk in at least 5 years.

The Problem With Store-Bought Milks

The problem is that most brands on the market contain fillers and stabilizers like Carrageenan, Guar Gum, Gellan Gum, Acacia Gum, Sunflower or Soy Lecithin, Dipotassium Phosphate, Cellulose Gel/ Cellulose Gum, Locust Bean Gum. And the ones that don't are triple the price.

These can all be hard on the gut, causing digestive discomfort, bloating and inflammation. Plus I don't really care for the flavor and texture that all of those ingredients lend to store-bought almond milk.

Some cleaner store-brands started emerging onto the market and I succumbed to just buying it. Always. Spending $6-$8 per bottle.

Reducing Single-Use Plastic

In addition to the problem of spending $6-$8 a bottle that lasted for 3-5 days, we have been diligently trying to reduce our use of single-use plastic in 2020, and store-bought nut milk was one area I knew we could reduce in.

So I finally gave in and tried out the Almond Cow. They gifted me a machine, with no obligation to talk about it, but after a few batches of fresh, homemade milk, I was sold.

I used to purchase a bottle of almond milk weekly, so in just our home alone we are saving 52 plastic bottles a year. homemade dairy-free milk in glass carafes on a table next to a plate with chocolate chips

 

Why I'm In Love With Almond Cow

Aside from the plastic saving, there's no squeezing and no messes of the milk missing the bowl. No fillers, no binders or stabilizers. It's incredibly easy to clean, which I was afraid it wouldn't be. Much easier than scraping out the inside of a nut-milk bag and washing it free of residue. You also get all of your pulp to use in other recipes, which I always felt I wasted some when I made homemade and couldn't get it all out of the bag.

I know every ingredient that goes into my homemade dairy-free milk, and it's simple – nuts or coconut, water, sea salt. That's it. Unless I'm sweetening it and then there's a date or maple syrup and maybe some vanilla.

I can make all of my favorite coffee creamer recipes in it – Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread, Vanilla. You can have so much fun with what you make – Hazelnut, Walnut, Pecan, Almond, Cashew. Chocolate, Horchata, Eggnog, Golden Milk. You name it! Be sure to see some of my favorite recipes below!

And the best part – I can have it ready in minutes. I've had it for a little over a month now and have already made at least 12 batches of milk or coffee creamer.

homemade dairy free creamer being poured into a cup of coffee

Cost Analysis

After calculating the cost of the machine and the cost of the ingredients, I figured out that it will only take around 30 batches of milk to pay for itself. Especially if I use up the nut-pulp in other recipes like cookies, granola, crackers or porridge. 50 batches or so if I don't.

That's one area that has always bothered me about store-bought milk (similar to buying boneless chicken!) – the bottles contain a much higher water to nut ratio, and what happens to all that pulp? When you make it yourself, you get to use every part of the ingredient, nose to tail if you will, making it much more cost-efficient.

Homemade Dairy-Free Milk being made in an Almond Cow

Pulp What?

Nut pulp is what is leftover after straining out the liquid for your milk. It's actually really valuable – it's the meat of the nuts. There's a ton leftover and it works great dehydrated and blitzed in a food processor to use as flour, or blended into recipes in its damp state.

Try my Almond Pulp Rosemary Crackers or Almond Pulp Double Chocolate Cookies. Dehydrate it into granola mixed with some maple syrup, raisins and sliced nuts, or use it in my Paleo Breakfast Porridge.

There's dozens of recipes for pulp over on the Almond Cow website too that I can't wait to try – from muffins to cake pops to cupcakes to savory tarts.

thumbnail images of a variety of recipes from Almond CowDo You Need One?

I think it depends how frequently you purchase versus make homemade dairy-free milk, and how many people in your household drink it. I figured out I was purchasing 1 bottle a week. My kids or Ryan will occasionally have it over granola, but I drink it every day in my coffee, and I use it a lot in recipe testing and baked goods. My kids will, however, down an entire jug of the chocolate milk (recipe below!!) in just a few days if I make it!

If you're purchasing the same, or even more frequently, the cost and knowing exactly what's it in your milk is worth it in my opinion.

If you're ready to give it a shot – I have a special discount code for you, and some recipes to get you started!

Homemade Dairy-Free Milk with Almond Cow



AUTHOR:

SERVES: 8

Cuisine: American

Category: Beverage

PREP TIME: 5 mins

TOTAL TIME: 5 mins

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Chocolate Cashew Milk (adapted from this recipe)

Cashew Vanilla Creamer (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2/3 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked and rinsed (about 100g)
  • 1/4 cup coconut shreds
  • 2 to 3 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • small pinch of sea salt

*Soaking nuts enlarges them and they will measure differently after soaking. Almonds nearly double in size.

*Soak almonds in filtered water with a tiny pinch of sea salt for 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.

*Soak cashews in warm water with a tiny pinch of sea salt for 30 minutes. Drain and rinse well.

Instructions:

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

  1. Add the soaked almonds, coconut shreds, soaked cashews, pumpkin spice mix, stevia powder, and salt to the Almond Cow filter basket. Hold sideways and secure filter basket to the left.
  2. Fill the jug with hot water to the minimum line. Add the maple syrup. Attach the top and the power cord. Press the cow button. It will run through 3 automatic stages. When the green light stops flashing, your milk is ready! Remove the filter basket and set in the collector cup to collect any remaining liquid. Pour the creamer into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

For a super thick creamer, wait 5 minutes, then run the machine through one additional cycle.

 

Chocolate Cashew Milk

  1. Add the soaked and rinsed cashews, dates, cacao powder, vanilla extract, and salt to the Almond Cow filter basket. Hold sideways and secure filter basket to the left.
  2. Fill the jug with water to the minimum line. Attach the top and the power cord. Press the cow button. It will run through 3 automatic stages. When the green light stops flashing, your milk is ready! Remove the filter basket and set in the collector cup to collect any remaining liquid. Pour the milk into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

 

Cashew Vanilla Creamer

  1. Add the soaked and rinsed cashews, coconut, dates, vanilla beans, and salt to the Almond Cow filter basket. Hold sideways and secure filter basket to the left.
  2. Fill the jug with water to the minimum line. Attach the top and the power cord. Press the cow button. It will run through 3 automatic stages. When the green light stops flashing, your milk is ready! Remove the filter basket and set in the collector cup to collect any remaining liquid. Pour the creamer into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.

 

Tips: 

  • Using hot water will extract more of the nuts, making a thicker milk.
  • You can also wait a few minutes and run the machine through an additional cycle to get the most out of the ingredients.
  • If using larger nuts and not coconut shreds, you can tip the basket upside down to get the blade in easier.
  • Press the pulp with a spoon in the filter basket to extract any remaining liquid.


Keywords: homemade, paleo, almond milk, cashew milk, almond cow, danielle walker, against all grain, clean eating, gluten free, dairy free


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