I spent the past few months exploring different options of homemade plant based milk and was surprised to discover that the whole process is very simple. It takes about 5 minutes as long as the main ingredient is soaked overnight in plenty of water. You do not need any fancy appliances and can use a simple food processor or blender.

Homemade, dairy-free milk last for three to five days when refrigerated in airtight glass containers. Boiling this milk with sugar or an alternative sweetener and then simmering the mixture for around 45 minutes results in a thick consistency very similar to condensed milk.

Hemp seed and rice milk provide very good, creamy and nut-free alternative. The left-over pulp can be used as an ingredient for other recipes and I am including some ideas.

Almond Milk

You will need:
1 cup almonds
3 cups bottled or filtered water and more for soaking
a pinch of salt
2 dates

Soak the almonds overnight. Drain the water and rinse the almonds.

Place the almonds in a blender and add 3 cups of bottled or filtered water. Add the dates and a pinch of salt.

Blend on high speed until the mixture is well blended. The almonds must be totally ground and the mixture appears consistent.

Strain the almonds by placing them in a sieve covered with muslin or a clean dishcloth.

Squeeze out the almond milk into a container by wringing the dishcloth or muslin. Do not discard the ground almonds

Refrigerate the milk in airtight glass containers for up to 4 days.

Use Almond Pulp to make almond flour. Place the almond pulp on a flat ovenproof dish covered with baking paper and bake it in a cool oven at 150°C for an hour.  Allow to cool down completely preferably overnight, then place in a food processor and grind to a fine texture.

Oat Milk

1 cup oats
3 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
1 date or 1 tbsp agave
A pinch of salt

Soak the oats overnight in plenty of water. Drain and discard the soaking water and place the oats in a blender.  Add the filtered or bottled water and the rest of the ingredients. Strain the oat milk by pouring it through a strainer covered with a clean tea towel. Use your hands to wring the tea towel to squeeze all the milk out.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Stir the milk thoroughly before using it. This milk can be used to thicken a soup or dessert simply by adding heating it as it becomes thick and gelatinous.

Use the oat pulp to make a crust for cheesecakes and sweet tarts. Place the oat pulp from the recipe in a food processor and add 6 large dates.  Blend the mixture and then carry on mixing the ingredients until it is a smooth consistency. Use your hands to form a dough and press it into a tart dish with a loose bottom using a metal spoon. Heat the oven to 150°C and place in the oven for 45 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before adding the tart or cheesecake filling.

Hazelnut Milk

You will need:
1 cup hazelnuts
3 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
1 tsp organic apple vinegar
Pinch of salt

For sweetened milk add 1 date or 1 tbsp stevia and some vanilla

Place the hazelnuts in a glass container and soak them overnight with a pinch of sea salt and a tsp of apple organic vinegar. Drain and discard the soaking liquid and rinse the hazelnuts well.

Place the hazelnuts in the blender and add 3 cups of bottled water. For a sweetened milk add also 1 date or 1 tbsp of stevia and some vanilla.

Blend at high speed until the nuts are completely ground to a fine pulp.  Place a piece of muslin or a clean tea towel over a sieve. Pour the contents of the liquidiser into the covered sieve and gently press the pulp down to squeeze the liquid through. Store the milk in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Use the hazelnut pulp to add to smoothies.

Hemp Milk

You will need:
½  cup hemp seeds
4 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
2 dates
Vanilla

Soak the hemp seeds overnight in a glass container. Drain and discard the water. Place the soaked hemp seeds in a liquidiser or blender and use a high setting to completely grind the seeds to a fine consistency.  Strain the hemp milk by pouring it through a strainer covered with a clean tea towel. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Use the hemp seed pulp as an additional ingredient to make homemade energy bars.

Chocolate Rice Milk

You will need:
1 cup long grain rice. I like to use basmati
5 cups water and more for soaking
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp agave
Vanilla

Rinse the rice and place it in a glass container. Immerse completely in water and allow to soak overnight.

Drain the rice and place it in a blender with the rest of the ingredients.

Process the rice on high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Line a sieve with a clean dish cloth and place over a bowl.  Pour the rice milk into it and squeeze as much milk as you can by wringing the dishcloth with your hands. Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Use the rice pulp to make a rice pudding. Place the rice pulp in a saucepan and cover with water. Add some cinnamon and honey or agave and 2tbsp of raisins. Bring to boil and reduce the heat. Stir constantly and when the liquid is absorbed, remove from the heat. Add more rice milk to achieve the consistency of your choice and serve warm.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs in English on Smash TV every Friday. You can follow Lea’s blog on www.goodfoodeveryday.wordpress.com and find more of her recipes on www.timesofmalta.com.

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