I dunno about you but we seem to go through LOADS of dairy-free milk each week. It’s one of the most expensive things we buy and I probably spend about £8-10 a week on milk! Add in the fact that, although we’re lucky enough that the roadside recycling in our area does accept the tetrapak cartons, the waste situation isn’t exactly as good as it could be.
So with an aim to cutting down on cost and waste, I decided to look in to making my own dairy-free milk at home. Personally I love Koko coconut milk, it’s never curdled in my coffee and has quite a light and refreshing flavour. But coconuts aren’t exactly local to Cheshire, or particularly cheap! My husband is a big fan of Oatly Barista, in fact it’s the only milk that actually tempted him away from the cow-stuff, so I thought something oaty would be a good place to start! At least oats are a crop grown natively and they’re much cheaper than nuts!
The thing my husband loves about Oatly Barista is that it’s really creamy and most importantly goes nicely in coffee, so my number one priority was getting it to behave in coffee! At first it kept separating in hot drinks (not curdling, just sort of.. sinking?!) but I finally discovered a way to stop it doing that with the magic that is xanthan gum (which if you do a fair bit of gluten-free baking you probably already have in your cupboard!). If it does still separate in the fridge after a while, you can just give it a quick swish/shake before you use it and all is good.
In order to make your milk creamy you can do one of two things – firstly you can use a neutral flavoured oil, I’ve used rapeseed oil (£1.49 from Aldi) or you can use a creamy nut, like cashew or macadamia if you don’t want to use oil. I tried both but have settled on oil because it works out cheaper and I’m trying to save money!
I’ve also chosen to calcium-fortify my milk as we have children and it’s easier to get nutrients in to them via beverages sometimes (smoothies and ‘milkshakes’!) than it is to persuade them to eat leafy greens! It just so happened that the calcium carbonate I got gave 1200mg of calcium per teaspoon, so 1 tsp in 1 litre of ‘milk’ gives 120mg per 100ml, which happens to be exactly the same as Oatly Barista!
The internet seemed divided on whether to soak your oats before blending, but I’m lazy and impatient so I’ve opted for not soaking or rinsing and just going straight ahead with the ‘bung it all in a blender and get on with it’ method. You will need a ‘nut milk bag‘ or something similar to strain the milk after blending, and you can use the leftover ‘pulp’ for things like porridge, biscuits, pancakes or just chuck it in the compost!
Of course if you require gluten free oats then use those instead of the cheap ones, bizarrely although my husband is coeliac, we’ve discovered that it doesn’t matter whether the oats he consumes are labeled ‘gluten free’ or not, it is the AMOUNT of oats he eats, suggesting he may be sensitive to the avenin in the oats themselves, but he’s fine with oat milk in his coffee! Just thought I’d mention that in case you wanted to experiment yourself, since the gluten free oats are really expensive in comparison to the regular ones and there may be little point in actually buying them!
The bottles I’ve used were actually from some passata sauce I got half price in Tesco for 68p – which works out a lot cheaper than buying ‘new’ glass bottles! I did also get the little jug for the kids since I thought giving a large glass container full of liquid to a 5 year old was just asking for trouble!
While we’ve been experimenting with oat milk I’ve also developed some other recipes using it, so watch out over the next couple of weeks to see those! (You can ‘subscribe/follow’ the blog so you get notifications when I post new recipes my clicking a button up there^ and to the right >!)
DIY Oat Milk Recipe (makes approx 1 litre, costs approx 50p):
- 1 litre of water (I’ve just used tap as that’s safe where I live, use purified if you like though)
- 2 cups oats (I used the 75p ones in the paper bag from Aldi as in the photo – less plastic waste!)
- 1 tbsp rapeseed oil (or 1/3 cup of fatty nuts like cashew or macadamia)
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp calcium carbonate powder (optional)
- pinch of salt
- squidge of agave syrup or similar (optional and yes ‘squidge’ is totally a legitimate official cooking measurement..)
- few drops of vanilla essence (optional)
- Shove everything in the blender. Blend for 30-40 seconds (maybe a bit longer, but we’ve just upgraded our blender and it’s so loud it scares the children, so 30 seconds is fine for ours!)
- Strain through a nut milk bag in to a large bowl or jug. I used a bowl with a spout to make it easier to pour in the bottle!
- Pour in to clean/sterilised bottles or containers. I put mine through the dishwasher which sterilises them, but if you wanted to do that ‘manually’ then wash in warm soapy water and bung in the oven at 100C for about 10 minutes.
- Shake before use and keep in the fridge for up to 3-5 days
Need some cookies with your milk? Why not try out these delicious almond biscuits, they’re gluten free and the spider decorations are optional! ❤