An easy-to-make, non-dairy milk that costs maybe $1 to make? Sign me up!
Even though I’m not a vegan, I haven’t drank cow’s milk in about six years. I switched over to soymilk when I first heard my fitness idol, Denise Austin, raving about its health benefits on her show. When I was first transitioning I would occasionally have cow’s milk if soy wasn’t available, but now straight-up cow’s milk just tastes, well, ghastly to me. It leaves a bad aftertaste and just always seems a bit sour. Plus, who wants all the hormones and cholesterol that comes with it? So non-dairy milk is my staple, be it in my cereal, a creamy smoothie, or in baked goods.
Over the past couple years I’ve been trying new non-dairy milks to switch it up a bit. I drank rice milk for awhile, then switched to almond milk, which was creamier. My store staple for the past few months has been unsweetened almond milk. But over the past year, I’ve also been trying to make more of my grocery store staples myself. I’ve started making bread, seitan, beans, and hummus, all of which has cut down significantly on my grocery bills. While non-dairy milk isn’t incredibly expensive, a homemade alternative would be nice. I thought of making my own almond milk, but almonds are expensive, and soaking’s a pain in the butt. So, I decided to give oat milk a try!
I’ve never had store-bought oat milk, but it’s always intrigued me. The ultimate selling point was price and convenience. Not only are oats really cheap in and of themselves (even organic rolled oats aren’t too expensive, and you can buy them in bulk), I also have a lot lying around that I don’t use as much as I should. So, why not use them to make milk? After some searching I found this very simple recipe from Food.com, and was sold.
To start, I cooked up 1/2 a cup of rolled oats. Be sure you’re using rolled oats and not quick-cooking oats! To cook the oats, I simmered the oats in 1 cup of water until the water was absorbed and I had a thick oatmeal-y goo.
While the oats were cooking, I brought 5 cups of water to a boil. I did this when the oats were about halfway done, since this takes awhile; just make sure your other ingredients are ready when the water is boiling! To prepare for the water, I threw the oatmeal into a blender and added arrowroot powder (as a sub for the recipe’s corn starch), agave nectar (in place of regular sugar), and salt. I left out the vanilla and nutmeg because I like my nondairy milks to be relatively plain; next time I may even leave out the agave. Though the recipe doesn’t instruct blending until you add the water, I went ahead and blended these ingredients while I waited. This made for smoother emulsion with the water.
Once to water came to a boil, I slowly pored the water into the blender in batches and blended until smooth. Slow and careful is key, as the water is HOT and you don’t want a bunch of hot water to suddenly explode out of the blender. I’d even recommend holding down the blender lid with an oven mitt to protect your hands. Once done, you have yourself a little over a quart of frothy, fresh oat milk! (It may seem thin at first, but it will thicken as it chills in the fridge)
The recipe says to just pour the mixture straight into a container and chill. However, there are still some oat particles in the mixture, so I recommend straining the milk through a sieve or cheesecloth to get the particles out. You can either save the remaining oat gel for food, or even better, use the paste as a scrub for your face and/or skin. See, you get multiple products out of this super-cheap recipe!
Just a note – unlike many store-bought non-dairy milks, this one won’t be fortified with vitamins and minerals; so make sure you’re getting them elsewhere! But if you’re looking for a fast, cheap, and healthy homemade alternative to cow’s milk, then definitely give this recipe a try!