Earlier this year when I was dairy-free, finding non-dairy substitutes for things was essential. And I made those yummy “chocolate” chip cookies, and on that post, Nicole left an interesting comment suggesting that I try oat milk. Not just for drinking, but for making. Fortunately, this was something that was right up my alley because I’m still interested in the non-dairy milks, had a recipe that I was intrigued by, and had all the ingredients for it already. I had also been looking into getting a glass carafe in which to store whatever “milk” I made, and then I’d be set. Unfortunately, I’m lazy, and sometimes cheap, and so the purchasing of a carafe off Amazon got pushed. But then I was in my local Aldi, and came across a large carafe (about 1.5 liters) that was simple and cute, with a lid and it was less than $10, and it was right there. I got one right away, and decided that making oat milk was in my future!
It turns out that Oat Milk is as easy to make as advertised. Dumping the ingredients in a high powered blender and hitting “start” is effortless. The challenge, it turns out, is in straining. I had some cheesecloth, but it seems that I didn’t use enough – either I didn’t pay attention to the recipe video, or I was just being stingy. In any case, I think I ended up straining the solids out of the oat milk something like 3 or 4 times, and it would still develop a layer of solids at the bottom. I think if I make it again (and I think I will), I’m going to purchase a nut milk bag for myself that has a much finer strain, and will make the solids less of an issue. Of course, just writing the words “nut milk bag” makes me feel like a weirdo hippy, but whatever.
So – aside from the graininess that comes with being an imperfect strainer of “milk solids”, how was it? Pretty good! The date gave it just the right amount of sweetness so that it didn’t taste bitter, but wasn’t feeling cloying either. The dash of vanilla didn’t hurt either, but was perhaps not necessary. I was able to drink it straight out of the glass and not feel weird the way that drinking almond milk can sometimes feel. I used the oat milk in place of regular milk to make macaroni and cheese, and while it did taste a little sweeter in that context, and did make the pasta have a slightly different taste, it wasn’t bad. I think if I planned on using it for cooking purposes again, I might leave out the vanilla, just because it won’t feel quite so “dessert-y” of a liquid to be including, at least in savory dishes. The Boy used the oat milk for his cereal a few times, and he rather enjoyed it. If either of us were the kind of people to put milk in coffee or tea, I’m sure it would have been good that way as well.
Yield: about 1 liter
1 cup rolled oats
salt, to taste
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
2 dates, pitted (optional)
4 cups water
Place the rolled oats in a blender. Add salt to taste. For sweetness, add the vanilla extract and/or the pitted dates. Add the water and blend on high for 1 minute.
Double strain the liquid into a medium-sized container using a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Keeps for roughly 3 days (though I think we had ours for 2 weeks and it didn’t taste off)