Monday, April 26, 2010

Almond Milk

I got a bunch of recipes that I want to try that call for almond milk. So I spend this last week making some -- the old-fashioned way, with mortar and pestle. I know I could just run out and buy some or use my food processor, but I want to understand the product in a way that you only get when your hands get messy.

Almond milk is a long-time stand in for dairy milk in many lactose-free recipes and as a substitute in Lenten recipes. Almond has thickening qualities that neither soy milk nor rice milk have. So it's especially good in custard-style dishes.

Almond Milk
1 cup of almonds
2 cups of water

Pound the almonds as small as you can in a mortar and pestle. Add water and stir. Let sit for several hours. Drain fluid into a bowl. Stir milk to mix if it separates.

When pounding in the mortar and pestle, you can only do a few almonds at a time. If you add too many, then you won't be able to get the particles pounded small enough or evenly. I warn you -- this takes a lot of effort.

I decided my almonds weren't beaten enough after I soaked them, so I tried to pound them again (yes, they were wet). That was messy, but it did help a lot. I let it soak again.

I think I might have added too much water in this first attempt. I'm not sure I got it as thick as I wanted, so it's usefulness is likely to be limited in the dishes I want to do. I've got some other recipes to look at and see what other methods are recommended and try them. Once I get what I want, then I'll start using it in recipes.

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