This Wednesday was an exciting day for me: After almost four years of being vegan, I made my own plant-based milk! Writing my post on everything to know about vegan milks made me want to get some hands-on experience. I decided to try oatmilk, since oats are much cheaper than nuts. All I needed was water, oats, a blender, and something to strain with. I let myself splurge a bit and purchased a pair of beautiful, reusable nut milk bags made of organic cotton from a responsible company for straining, since I knew there would be lots of other recipes I could use them for. Once I had made the oatmilk, I also added canola oil, salt, and vanilla. Here’s a step-by-step photo guide to my experience.
Step 1: Soak Oats
I used this oatmilk recipe from Vegan Blueberry. I first soaked a cup of oats (I doubled the recipe) in cold water for probably around an hour. I then tried to rinse the oats, as the recipe says, in running water. This was actually pretty difficult, and the oats still felt slimy. But I decided to proceed!
Step 2: Blend Oats
I then dumped my wet oats into the blender with the appropriate ratio of water, and hit the start button.
All seemed well!
Step 3: Strain Oats
Now came the part I was really excited for… using my newly purchased, freshly washed nut milk straining bags! They’re made by Gaia Guy, which also offers other zero-waste and biodegradable products for conscious living like yoga mats, slippers, glass straws, and kitchen scrubbing brushes.
These Nut Milk Bags…
- Are vegan
- Produced from organic cotton
- 100% biodegradable
- Come in 100% compostable packaging
- Can also be used to strain smoothies and green juice, brew coffee and tea, make cheese and veggie stock, protect food, and even serve as a produce bag
Where Did I Buy My Nut Milk Bags? You can purchase the two-pack of extra large cotton here for $18 on Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s website, which is where I found them.
Alternative Strainers: Clean tea towel, cheesecloth, or basic fine strainer. You may need to strain 2-3 times with these substitutes, but the end result should be the same! Here are instructions to make your own no-sew nut milk bag from Eating Vibrantly.
I didn’t have any issue with this part, and it was actually easy and fun to squish the oats and squeeze the milk from them. Here’s a photo of my metal bowl full of freshly strained oatmilk! I saved the oat pulp, which is the ground up oat sediment captured by the nut milk bag, and placed them in a container in the freezer to use for future recipes.
Step 4: Add Oil
I could have stopped here, since all you need for a basic oatmilk recipe is oats and milk. I taste-tested it and didn’t love it, so I went along with Vegan Blueberry‘s suggestions and poured the milk back into the rinsed blender, turned it to medium speed, and slowly added canola oil. The author theorizes this mirrors the recipes of store-bought plant-based milk, which companies add oil to “simulate the fattiness we are accustomed to in traditional dairy milk.” I tasted it again, and couldn’t really detect a difference.
Step 5: Add Vanilla and Salt
It’s only then that I added vanilla to the milk to try and make a sweeter milk, as well as salt, since it is listed as optional but recommended. This part would normally happen when you first blend the oats and water, but I had wanted to try and make plain, unflavored milk at first. Tasted it and… still didn’t love it.
Overall, the milk isn’t fantastic, but also isn’t disgusting. It’s just.. okay. But I’m probably accustomed to sweetened, sugary-tasting milks, so maybe I need to work on acquiring a taste for unsweetened drinks. I think I’ll enjoy this milk in my smoothies and shakes, with cereal or granola, or in cooking. I might try making oatmilk again, but with a longer soaking time and adding a pitted date to sweeten up the taste without reaching for refined sugar. You can also use maple syrup, agave syrup, or coconut sugar. It’s a quick recipe and a very budget-friendly way to satisfy any need for milk.
My first batch of oatmilk is now chilling in my fridge in a reused pasta sauce jar and my boyfriend’s old coffee mason jar. I give it a good shake, as it is prone to separating over time, and use it in my morning oatmeal and protein shakes. According to Vegan Blueberry, my oatmilk will keep for at least five days.
The nut milk bags were great! They were easy to use and clean. I would recommend them if you think you’ll get a lot of use out of them. They are rather expensive though, so maybe use one of the alternatives I mentioned or find a cheaper nut milk bag if you’re not sure you’ll use them very often.