Making Oat Milk by Maria Lantin

What you need:

Oats:
If you want to sprout the oats, get the whole oat kernels…sometimes called oat groats. They look like this:

Image1Maria

You can also work with steel cut oats. Preferably not oatmeal or quick oats though in a pinch it would be ok.

Sprouter: (if you want to sprout the oats before making the milk. This makes them more nutritious and reduces phytates, which can be hard to digest. In general, sprouting increases protein and vitamin B2 content.)

The sprouter can be something especially designed like this EasySprout:

Image2MariaOr it can be anything that can keep the oats draining while they sprout. A fine colander will work.

Blender:
A powerful blender like a Vitamix does quick work, but for oats a regular blender will work. Bean milks do better with a Vitamix or similar blender.

Something to strain out the solids:
You can use a muslin cloth, a nut milk bag, a nylon bag like the kind you get at the farmer’s market, a fine colander. The bags are nice because you can do a single pass and get all the liquid out. The colander works but I usually do 2-3 passes.

  • Additional ingredients (optional but desirable):
  • Thickener (I like xanthan gum but feel free to experiment. See note below.)
  • Maple Syrup (or other sweetener like dates, agave, etc)
  • Vanilla (pod is best but non-alcoholic extract is ok too)
  • Nuts to flavor and smooth out texture (raw pistachios or macadamia nuts)
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Container that can hold 1.3 Litres

What you do:

This list of actions assumes you’ll make 1.3 litres of milk from sprouted oat kernels. Vary it at will.

  1. Measure out 1 cup of oat kernels. Rinse them well until the water runs clear.
  2. Soak them for 45min-1.5 hours. The time depends on the type of oats you have. You don’t want them soggy or they won’t sprout. You want the water to have penetrated through the outer coating of the kernel. I find that with the oats I have just over an hour is good. I’ve worked with some oats that require much less than this. Just keep an eye on them the first time to get a feel for it.
  3. Drain and put them in a sprouter or any kind of draining container.
  4. Leave them for 12 hours.
  5. Rinse well.
  6. Leave them for 12 hours.
  7. Rinse well and put them in blender with enough water to get it to the 1.4 Litre mark.
  8. Optional: add raw pistachios (about 1/3 cup or to taste)
  9. Blend at high speed until it is smooth and uniform. 2 minutes or so.
  10. Strain out the solids by either passing it through a colander or cloth. If using a cloth, squeeze until the solids are quite dry. It will be a bit slimy. This is ok!
  11. Put back in the blender and thicken with xanthan gum…about 1/2 teaspoon will do. Put more if you want thicker or if you will make yogurt. Get the blender at a high enough speed to get a vortex forming, then add the gum gradually. Keep blending until it has thickened…about 2 minutes.
  12. Add 1/8-1/4 tsp of salt.
  13. Optional: Add maple syrup (about a Tbsp).
  14. Optional: Add . vanilla pod scraped or . tsp of extract (or to taste).
  15. Blend again and transfer to container to put in the fridge.

Should keep about 10 days. I ferment mine so it keeps for a longer time.

To ferment: heat it to 110 and add some vegan yogurt starter. I use the one from “Cultures for Health” (1/2 packet for 1.3 litres of milk). Let it sit in a warm environment so it stays between 105-110 for about 6-9 hours. I’ve used my oven with the light on with success. I also use a yogurt maker. It will not be as thick as regular yogurt but will be deliciously tangy.

Why oats?

  • Good nutritional profile (66% carb, 17% protein, 17% fat). Vitamin B1, Vitamin E, Manganese, Magnesium, Potassium, etc. It’s a plant so it has all the benefits of plant material for digestion and health.
  • Easy to find locally grown oats.
  • It’s not soy. Some people prefer to avoid soy.
  • Won’t trigger nut allergies or gluten allergies.
  • Tastes good.

Notes about thickening:
Adding a thickener like xanthan gum helps keep the oat milk from separating after sitting for a while. Other thickeners or emulsifiers would work, like lecithin or arrowroot. I like xanthan gum because it works fast and at room temperature. Some thickeners like agar agar need to be heated and cooled to work. Here are a couple sources for learning more about thickeners:

  1. http://www.foodarts.com/tools/kitchen-features/562/the-plot-thickens-a-hydrocolloidstory
  2. http://baking911.com/learn/ingredients/thickeners

If you are going to make yogurt, thickening is essential. And if you prefer to bring the milk to almost a boil before making the yogurt, some of the thickeners that require heating will work better than xanthan gum. For example, Pomona’s Universal pectin will give a good texture.

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