Ever since adopting a mainly plant-based diet, I’ve nixed dairy milk from my fridge (except for the occasional Pão de Queijo or Challah-Banana Pudding hankering), replacing it with Silk non-dairy milks for oatmeal or cereal fixes. It was an okay substitute, but truthfully I would never sit down with a plate of cookies and a glass of store-bought nut milk. Since it contains some not-real-food chemicals to keep it fresh longer and help it stay homogenous, packaged nut milk takes on an odd flavor and undesirable viscous texture.
Nevertheless, I continued buying Silk, assuming that making my own required some kind of crazy DIY time budget of someone living in the midwest. Then one day, on a whim, I went ahead and purchased a nut milk bag (okay, can we just take a moment to appreciate how silly this name is?) and decided to start making it at home. Making nut milk turned out to be a very doable undertaking. The homemade stuff is way tastier – and has a much more pleasant texture – than store-bought. It also comes with a sense of self-satisfaction and pride, something that store-bought certainly can’t promise.
Non-dairy milk can be made out of various foods, including almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, coconut, rice and hemp seeds. I’ve only DIY-ed the almond and cashew kinds, and personally prefer cashews since the resulting milk is mildly flavored and therefore more versatile. It’s great in coffee, cereal or rice pudding, and even savory dishes like potato gratin.
- 1 1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked 4-8 hours in cold water in the fridge
- 4 cups filtered water
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2–1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- *Special equipment: High-speed blender and nut milk bag (you may also use a cheesecloth)
- Drain soaked cashews and place in a blender with remaining ingredients. Blend until nuts are pulverized and mixture begins to resemble milk, about 2 minutes.
- Line a large bowl with a nut milk bag (or cheesecloth). Pour milk into bag and strain: starting from the top of the bag, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Reserve remaining solids for later use (like for making granola).
- Pour milk into an airtight container and store in the fridge. Milk will keep up to 5 days.