I stopped drinking cow’s milk a long time ago. Then went through a period of searching for my favourite plant-based store-bought milk. And there is a lot to choose from! Soya, oat, hemp (I was almost addicted to the subtle sweetness of hemp milk for a while), rice, almond… I am sure there is more I haven’t mentioned.
My weekly shop consisted of at least 6 cartons of plant-based milk. Sometimes more. It depended on whether I intended on using it
only for coffees and teas throughout the week, or whether I was planning on baking or making pancakes. Dragging it home was heavy as hell. I often had to use my trolley-dolly (yes I have one 🙂 – polka dot design) and a couple of canvas bags to fit all my weekly shop in. Not mentioning the piles of milk cartons in my recycling bin. I am still not 100% sure you can actually recycle those cartons.
So, finally I decided: that’s it. There must be a better way. And started looking for recipes to make home made plant-based milk. I bought a whole-sale amount of organic soya beans online (yes – I will never learn to make small steps when it comes to stoking up…) that will last me a lifetime and started learning. It turned out, there isn’t really much to learn. It’s an easy process that only requires a little bit of planning . And you can adjust the taste of your milk to you liking by simply adding salt or a sweetener of your choice, e.g. dates. Or sugar. It’s all about balance in life. Isn’t it?
It’s been a while since that moment and I cannot imagine going back to using store bought milk. Be ready – it takes a while. But it’s fresh, organic and costs a fraction of the shop-bought price. And has no strange additives either. Unless you put it in it yourself 😉
I listen to audiobooks while making my milk. I actually look forward to it now as I don’t have much time for audiobooks unless I run, or cook, or clean 😉
What you will need:
- one cup of dry soya beans
- two semi-large pots. Mine are about 3l each (roughly)
- food processor or a blender
- a sieve
- a cheesecloth or a clean tea towel
- patience and love 🙂
Soak soya beans overnight in a cold water. Make sure to use plenty of water as the beans double in size as they soak up the water. I use filtered water but it’s entirely up to you. Your milk will be delicious and way healthier than the one bought in a store even if you use tap water. This is how my soya beans looked like after about 30 hours of soaking (I didn’t have time to make my milk sooner so they enjoyed their bath for a little longer):
Once soaked, rinse them well (they will love you for it:)) and fill the pot / a large bowl with fresh cold water. Now, this part is the audiobook part: taking the outer layer of the beans off. You don’t need to be very thorough. The general rule is: the more layers you take off the less “beaney” the taste of the milk. So put your favourite music on, or the latest audiobook or simply be in the present and practice a bit of mindfulness or, if you like, a zen-approach and take those little baggers off. Or leave them on. Entirely up to you 🙂 If you decided to de-skin the beans, the best way is to rub them in your hands and then scoop up the floating skins.
Now, once you’re satisfied with the result (and this is when I struggle – cannot quite finish picking out all those little layers. There’s always ‘just one more’ to pick out …) you want to pour them through a sieve to get rid of the water.
Put half of the beans into your food processor or a blender (more-less, it will be ok anyway) and add 4 cups of cold water (I add filtered water) and blend 🙂 I put it on a “food puree” function but if your blender doesn’t have one, simply run it for around 4-5 minutes, until the beans are all mashed up.
Put a sieve on a pot and a cheesecloth on the sieve and carefully pour the content of the blender out. You want to be really gentle and take it slowly, so it doesn’t escape the cheesecloth before going through it, where it belongs 😉 Squeeze the cheese cloth to use all the remaining milk.
You are now left with the pulp – okra. You can either freeze it to make cookies, patties and all sorts of vegan goodies later on. Or discard it. The choice is yours 🙂 I make soya milk every week so cannot get through the amount of okra I produce. I will share some of my favourite recipes for okra too.
Repeat with the other half of the beans using the second pot. DO NOT be tempted to fill up the same pot. The milk gets really lively when being boiled and tries to escape the pot any occasion it gets! You want to leave loads of space for your milk in the pot. Believe me you will need to watch it anyway! And stir it often. It tends to form a skin on top (gross!)
Now all you need to do is bring your milk to boil on a semi-hot hob. Once boiled, simmer for about 20 minutes and cool down. Remember to stir often and watch for attempts to escape from the pot constantly. This milk is really skilful and really cheeky. When you think you have it under control and stop watching it for a few seconds, it’s out and about covering at least half of your hob…
You should have 2l of home made organic, delicious, the best (add any other description of your preference) soya milk. BTW – I have no idea how many pints it makes, so you need to convert it if you REALLY need to know. Add a pinch of salt or a sweetener and pour into bottles of your choice. Done 🙂 Enjoy!
PS I usually keep one bottle of milk and make a tofu from the other. You can read my blog on home-made tofu here. https://balancedgreenliving.com/2019/04/03/home-made-tofu/