Many people are surprised to learn how easy it is to make their own milks. You can use your nut or seed milk like you would use dairy—to add creaminess to smoothies, ice creams and savory foods such as soups, sauces or purees. For its aromatic qualities, Hazelnut Milk is one of my favorite milks to make when having friends over for coffee.
The process begins by soaking the hazelnuts in water at room temperature for 6-8 hours, and if you’re using another nut or seed, no problem—simply refer to this Soaking Guide. This recipe can be used with almonds, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, pistachios, walnuts, and even seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, and hemp seeds.
Soaking initiates the sprouting process, neutralizing enzyme inhibitors in nuts and seeds that prevent nutrient absorption. In addition, this process of soaking cleans them, removing any dust or tannins. Although you absolutely can make milks without soaking, it certainly makes your plant-based milk much healthier.
When we talk about nut milks being as being a healthy alternative to regular milk, it’s important to distinguish between DIY milks and most of the milks that can be purchased at grocery stores. As a rule of thumb, milks purchased at the grocery store should only have the following three ingredients: nut, water, sea salt (and occasionally vanilla). Anything beyond that and you’ll be much better off making your own.
Although you can strain your milk using a fine chinois or a regular strainer lined with cheesecloth, I love using nut milk bags. They truly ensure that you won’t have any pulp in your end result. As for all that leftover pulp, you can keep it for use in crackers, bread recipes, and even the crusts of plant-based desserts. Eventually, I’ll share a few of my favorite recipes using nut pulp.
DIY Hazelnut Milk
1 cup hazelnuts, soaked for 6-8 hours (or your chosen nut/seed, soaked per the Soaking Guide)
4 cups water
Vanilla, 2 tsp extract or 1/4-1/3” scraped bean
Virgin coconut oil or coconut-derived MCT, 1-2 tbsp
Organic stevia, to taste
Once soaked, rinse hazelnuts well and discard soaking water.
Blend nuts and water in a high-speed blender until thorougly combined. Make sure there are no large chunks remaining.
Grab a large mixing bowl, and strain mixture through a nut milk bag, a fine chinois or a strainer lined with cheesecloth.
Rinse your blender, and then pour the strained milk back in. Add flavor as desired and blend well.
Once ready, pour into glass containers. As a general rule, homemade milks will keep refrigerated for 2-3 days.
Yields: 4 cups | Time: 10 min | Level: Easy
After making your own milk, you’ll likely never go back! I make an extra-large batch twice a week, flavor half of it (for uses such as coffee, Four Sigmatic medicinal mushroom concoctions, or ice cream making) and keep the other half unflavored for when dishes call for plain milk (such as soups or sauces). With more and more people developing allergies and intolerances to foods they eat with some frequency—such as almonds in the paleo community—making your own milk is a great skill to have so that you can change up which nuts and seeds you are consuming on a regular basis.
Emilía Rún is the Chef and Founder of Los Angeles based Shanti Kitchen, a paleo, plant-based and keto-friendly cake and catering service. Emilía also instructs kundalini yoga and insight meditation, teaching self-compassion as the path to ultimate freedom.