As most people who have problems with standard cow’s milk know, there are a lot of alternatives of milk to consider, with each of them providing different benefits than the others. Some milks are high in protein and fibers, while others may be more nutritious.
Finding the milk alternative that suits your needs can be half the battle sometimes, especially if you are someone who has a sensitive digestive system and cannot handle gluten, nuts, soy, or dairy.
With all things considered, there are few milk alternatives that can stand up to being so safe to eat, but one of the best ones to consider is going to be oat milk. Oat milk is naturally nut, soy, and dairy free, and as long as you are careful about where the oats are sourced from, people who have problems with gluten can also consume this kind of milk without a problem.
When considering foods that are made for specialty diets, it often becomes easier to try and produce the food yourself, if you are able to. It may be somewhat time-consuming at the start of the week, but it often ends up being incredibly less expensive.
When it is related to something that is used as commonly as milk is used throughout daily life, it can add up quickly when you have to buy oat milk on the regular. Many people are considering making oat milks on their own because of this.
The good news about oat milk is that it is one of those types of milk that may seem somewhat strange at first in how it is produced, but it is actually quite easy to replicate at home.
Unlike making nut milk where you may often have to put in additives to make it taste good or have the right texture, or like with soy milk, where you have to physically peel each and every soybean that you want to use, making oat milk at home is a straightforward process.
All you really need to get the job done, at the core, is going to be oats and water. Many people will add some vanilla extract, maple syrup, berries, coco, and even whole dates to their oat milk to customize the taste of it.
Once you have perfected the method of getting the milk out of the oats, this can be incredibly fun to do as you add more flavor and interesting aspects to your oat milk.
The one problem that may occur is that it is not exactly easy to get the milk out of the oats themselves. Most people are going to want to use a blender of some sort.
Luckily, grinding up oats is not that much of an intensive process, and a sub-5-dollar hand blender can easily get the job done, but if your blender is broken and you are out of oat milk, you may not have this option. Luckily, you can still make oat milk without a blender. It will just take some extra time.
Before you can learn how to make oat milk on your own, you will want to understand the way that oat milk is made in the first place and how people will get “milk” out of oats, when oats are not something that naturally produce any sort of liquid.
By understanding how oat milk is made in the first place, you will find it much easier to make oat milk on your own, which is something that many people can appreciate.
The Making of Oat Milk on a Commercial Level
Oat milk, compared to other plant-based milks, is not unique in how it is produced. It is simply one of the easier to produce plant milks. Typically, when companies produce a commercial amount of oat milk, the process for it will go somewhat like the following.
The oats will be measured and milled, breaking the outer hull of the oat and exposing the actual grain portion. Most oats that you would purchase at the store have already been through this step, so you won’t have to worry about this.
From here, the grains will be stirred together with warm water. The water helps to expand the grain, to some degree, and this helps bring the nutrients into what will eventually become the milk.
The soaked oats are then ground down into a slurry. From the commercial standpoint, preservatives and enzymes are then added to the oat slurry to ensure that it will be able to last a longer time than it otherwise would and often to add some more nutrients and taste to the milk.
Finally, the slurry is then strained through a cheesecloth or another similar material (with some production centers using a centrifuge for efficiency), separating the oat pulp from the oat-water that will become known as milk.
The milk is then fortified with nutrients, sweeteners, and so on to perfect the product and then it is shipped out. That’s all there is to it. It is as simple as this.
To turn things to a home-production standpoint, it is actually even easier than this. Because most oats that you would purchase for oat milk are already going to be in their usable form, you won’t have to worry about milling the oats and breaking their shell because this has already been done for you.
You won’t have to worry about treating the product with preservatives, as the milk will be for your own home use and not for store shelves. You will also have full control over additives for sweetness and flavor, meaning that this will be completely in your control as well.
You may also begin to see how you can begin producing your own oat milk at home, with the grinding process being taken care of by a blender of any caliber and a sieve to strain the pulp from the rest of the milk.
If you do not have a blender, you can still make your own oat milk in the comfort of your own home. You will just have to take some more time out of your day to get the job done.
The Making of Oat Milk at Home, Without a Blender
The goal of the blender is always going to be to blend the ingredients put into it together. When the only two ingredients in the blender are oats and water, it then becomes a matter of simply breaking the oats down into the smallest possible pieces, without having to worry as much about the “blending” aspect of it.
In fact, if you have a food processor, you can use this in place of a blender as long as you are careful about the water that you will need to use.
If you do not have a food processor of any sort, or a blender of any type, you will then have to resort to another, more basic method to crush the oats. You are going to have to painstakingly use a mortar and pestle to grind down the oats yourself, using your own strength.
This may take a bit of time to get the oats to be a proper size for oat milk, but it will be well worth it in the end.
To make your own home oat milk, you will want to begin by soaking the oats in water. The minimum amount of time that is recommended for this is going to be about eight hours, although many people will do it overnight.
From here, you will want to drain and set aside the water that was used for soaking, if you have any water left from that.
You will then want to take a mortar and pestle and begin mashing the oats while carefully mixing water into the bowl. You won’t want to add too much water to this, so until you perfect your method of making oat milk, you will want to go slowly and steadily. If you have a food processor, this would be the time that you use it.
Once you have your mashed oats, you will want to then strain those into a large bowl, crushing the remaining oats in the strainer with a fork or spoon to get as much milk out of them as you can. This is going to become the oat milk that you will make use of.
After you have all of the oat milk drained from the oat pulp, you can then begin adding your own additions to the milk as per your own preference. Common additions include maple syrup, vanilla extract, and agave nectar as a form of sweetener, but none of these are required.
Instead, you can feel confident in knowing that you will now have your very own oat milk to enjoy.
Keep in mind that because the milk does not have preservatives in it, it will generally only keep for about three days at a time, so you will want to make use of it as soon as you can.
If you want to try and stretch this time out to about five days, you can add a pinch of salt to the recipe while you are soaking the oats. You won’t want to use so much salt that it would be noticeable in the taste, but if you do, you can try to balance it out with a sweetening agent.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.