Making a Convenience Product at Home
Our friend and recent student from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America), Stephanie Zauderer is back. Last winter she wrote a series for Bakepedia about making large-scale wedding and celebration cakes. Now she is living in NY with another CIA pastry school grad making their way in the Big Apple.
As with so many of us bakers, we strive to create balance in our diets – we have to, since we are surrounded by so many treats that should be considered occasional indulgences.
Almond milk has become a staple in our fridge and theirs and perhaps yours too. I use it for cereal and even make vegan ganache with it. Stephanie and Gina decided to create a homemade version for us.
Stephanie: As we attempt to better our eating habits, and become more cautious of the foods being put into our bodies, my roommate Gina Lupoli and I decided to experiment at home with making our own organic almond milk. Almond milk is a very big part of our daily diet, and has become very popular in today’s world of nutrition. However, after deciding to actually read the ingredients on the back of the carton, we realized that almond milk may be better for you than regular milk in some ways, although, with all of the additives it contains, it made us cringe. We have been trying to stay away from boxed food, and anything that contains some sort of chemicals and secret additives. We strive to eat whole, organic, and pure foods, and after a few days of waiting for our almonds to soak, it was definitely well worth the wait.
- 2 cups of whole organic almonds
- A quart container or Mason jar
- 4 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon plus1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons organic vanilla extract
- 2 to 3 ounces organic simple syrup, optional (see Bakepedia Tips below)
- Start off with 2 cups of almonds in a jar or container, and fill it up with double the amount of water, or 4 cups. Make sure to keep an airtight lid on it while the almonds soak. Allow the almonds to soak over night, about 12 hours.
- The next day, rinse the almonds thoroughly, and strain out all of the water. Then soak the almonds again with fresh water, and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Allow almonds to soak again over night, or 12 hours.
- The next day, rinse the almonds thoroughly, and discard all of the water. Place the almonds in a blender with 6 cups of fresh water (3 cups of water, per 1 cup of almonds). Blend together the soaked almonds and fresh water for 5 to 7 minutes to ensure there are no big lumps.
- Strain the milk through a mesh strainer, a cheesecloth, or coffee filter. Once the mixture is strained, place the strained liquid back into the blender, and add 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract, 2 to 3 ounces of organic simple syrup (if you want the almond milk sweetened and flavored with vanilla), and a tablespoon of salt. Save the pulp for future baking experiments; the pulp can be stored in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
Making homemade almond milk may not be cost effective, however we think the benefits of it are well worth the price.
After extensive costing research, the average cost of a one-pound bag of almonds is around $9.50. A 32 ounce bag of organic sugar from Trader Joe’s cost $9.44, and a 3-pound box of kosher salt by Diamond Crystal is roughly $7.75 each.
Cost of Homemade Almond Milk:
2 Cups of almonds = $4.75
Simple Syrup (2 to 3 ounces) = $0.44
Kosher salt: 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon = $0.08
1 quart = $5.27
1 cup = $1.32
- To make simple syrup, simply combine equal parts organic sugar and water. (It keeps almost indefinitely, so we recommend making a large batch. Try at least 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water). Place in a medium pot, whisking to combine, and heat until the sugar is dissolved; store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated. It can be used to sweeten hot and cold drinks and to moisten cake layers.