Fresh-made almond milk is amazing and incredibly easy to make. It is very customizable and avoids all the thickeners and additives commercial almond milk has. (Although it doesn't have the fortified vitamins or calcium, either.) I like to pour it in my cereal or drink it plain or flavored with chocolate syrup. It is a good base for recipes calling for non-dairy milks. It works okay in coffee if you drink it right away. (It separates out when left sitting, so you'll need to give your hot drink a stir if you linger.)
It lasts for 3-4 days in the refrigerator, just shake before using if it separates out.
This recipe makes a slightly creamy, nutty flavored milk. Add agave syrup or other sweetener to taste if you'd like afterwards. (I skip that.) A bit of vanilla or cinnamon would also be nice additions.
Makes slightly more than 2 cups
Once your nuts have soaked, this recipe takes longer to describe than do. (If your tap water doesn't have a nice, clean taste use filtered or bottled water.)
Equipment notes -- You'll need a nut milk bag -- a reusable, closely woven mesh bag available from Whole Foods and other natural foods retailers -- to strain and squeeze the milk through. If this is not available, line a colander or strainer with several thickness of cheesecloth, leaving enough cloth overlapping the sides that you can gather the ends together, twist it tight and squeeze the milk out.
You'll also need a blender -- I used a regular home blender with a pretty strong motor. You can use one less or more powerful, just watch for when the nuts are totally pulverized.
1 cup shelled raw almonds (with skins - no need to blanch or rub off the skins)
Water to cover
2 1/2 cups water
Cover almonds with water and let sit overnight (8-10 hours). Drain and discard water. Rinse almonds several times. Put in blender jar with 2 1/2 cups water. Blend until almonds are totally pulverized and only infinitesimal bits. Pour into nut milk bag that is propped up in a large bowl or a 4-cup measuring cup. (Make sure it is big enough to catch the almond milk that will soon be flowing through the bag.) Scrape out all the liquid and solids that remain behind into the bag.
Lift nut bag up out and over the bowl and squeeze (as if you were milking a cow if you like that analogy) until all possible liquid is squeezed out of the pulverized nuts. Transfer to storage container, stir in any sweeteners or flavoring, cap/cover and store in refrigerator. Shake well if milk separates.
If you like yours creamier or thinner, use more or less water.
You can discard the leftover bits of almond or reuse. Reusing seems like a great idea, but I never seem to do that. Maybe next time I'll use in a cake or stew.
Update: Added the nut meal to a soup. It gave it a creamy texture with a pleasant grit, plus it amped up the protein.