Cover – No Dairy Required

Cover – No Dairy Required

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NO DAIRY REQUIRED

Make flavorful nut milks in a jiffy.

WRITTEN BY AIMEE EIGUREN
PHOTO BY ASA GILMORE

The froth and flavor of cow’s milk now has some serious competition. Do-it-yourself nut-based milks are popping up at hip and high-end coffeehouses and cafés around the country and here in the Reno-Tahoe area. DIY nut milks are flavorful, rich, and creamy, not to mention that they offer added health benefits — namely, a lack of the preservatives and high sugar contents found in most store-bought nut milks.

In addition, nut milks are easy to make in your own kitchen and offer an interesting alternative to the dash of dairy you usually pour into your morning brew. And there is a variety of nuts from which to choose, be it almond, hazelnut, macadamia, cashew, pistachio, pecan, walnut, or even peanut. Some well-known coffee roasters have found that blending macadamia and almond milks actually helps to temper the almond’s natural flavor, which can compete with coffee’s delicate characteristics.

At Reno’s Batch Cupcakery, owner Anne Archer wanted to find fresh, organic, non-dairy nut-based milks to offer her cupcake- and coffee-loving customers, so she created the Milk Bar.

“We decided that since we offer such pure, clean baked goods — such as paleo, gluten-free, vegan, and organic varieties — our customers deserved an amazing nut milk to drink with them,” Archer says, adding that her distinctive milk bar has become a big hit.

Regardless of which nuts you fancy and choose for creating your own milk, a few simple and reliable steps apply to all:

Soaking your chosen nuts for at least 12 hours makes blending easy and aids in digestion.

If using a standard blender (as opposed to a Vitamix), be sure to increase blending time by two minutes.

There are two options for pressing liquid, though neither is superior: Use a fine-mesh strainer and rubber spatula, or use cheesecloth or a nut-milk bag.

If you’re a fan of a slightly sweeter, tangier milk, try adding just a pinch of kosher salt along with a drizzle of your favorite honey or maple syrup, or a few pitted dates while the mixture is blending. A sprinkle of cinnamon or a splash of vanilla extract also is tasty.

Aimee Eiguren is a gluten-free food writer and founder of A.R.E. Public Relations (gluten-free PR and marketing at Arepublicrelations.com). She’s also a celiac disease advocate and advisory board member of The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center. A former Reno resident, Aimee now resides in the Bay Area.

Recipes

Basic Nut Milk

(courtesy of Aimee Eiguren. Makes about 3 to 4 cups)

1 cup raw almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, cashews, or peanuts

4 teaspoons agave nectar syrup (can substitute agave with other sweetener options, such as those listed in story above)

⅛ teaspoon kosher or sea salt

Place nuts in large bowl and add water to cover by two inches. Let stand at least 12 hours (key for silky, non-gritty results; the longer nuts soak, the smoother the milk will be).

Drain nuts; discard soaking liquid. Purée nuts, add sweetener of choice, salt, and four cups extremely hot water (but not boiling; hot water yields creamier milk) in a standard blender on high speed until smooth, about two minutes. Strain through fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing down on solids; discard nut pulp. Thin nut milk with water as necessary to reach desired consistency. Keep in airtight container and chill until cold; lasts three to four days.

Creamy Chocolate Hazelnut Milk

(courtesy of Aimee Eiguren. Makes about 4 to 5 cups)

3 to 4 cups warm, filtered water (for soaking)

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 cups raw hazelnuts (skin on or off is fine)

4 cups cold, filtered water

½ cup raw cacao nibs

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup pure maple syrup (Grade B)

Sea salt

First soak nuts, as follows: Combine four cups warm water and sea salt, stirring until salt is dissolved. Add raw hazelnuts, making sure nuts are covered with water completely. If needed, add more water. Cover and let soak at room temperature for at least eight hours and up to 24. Drain nuts and rinse with cool water. Proceed with recipe.

Prepare fine sieve or colander by lining with cheesecloth and placing over large bowl or use nut-milk bag.

In large blender, combine soaked hazelnuts with four cups fresh filtered water (not same water you used for soaking), cacao nibs, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Purée in blender until completely smooth (about one to three minutes in standard blender, less if using high-speed blender such as Vitamix).

Pour puréed mixture through sieve, using a spoon to push liquid through. Strain well, squeezing cheesecloth at end to expel all liquid. Taste and add additional sea salt or maple syrup as desired. Transfer to glass jar and store in refrigerator for up to four days.

Nut Milk Tips

While the consensus is to first soak nuts for at least four to 12 hours in a 48-hour window before making the milk, they can be soaked two days ahead of use. Cover, refrigerate, and drink milk within three to four days.

Shake or stir nut milk before using. No matter how obsessive you are about straining it, some sediment will get in and settle as it sits.

Nut Milk Resources

Batch Cupcakery
555 S. Virginia St., Ste. 104, Reno
775-336-1622, http://www.Batchcupcakery.com

Jüs
You’ll find fresh, organic vanilla almond milk made in house daily by utilizing an industrial food processor and then cold pressing and bottling it. Sixteen-ounce bottles are available for sale at both store locations. The almond milk is sweetened with only organic agave, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to give it a delicious, creamy taste. This fall, Jüs also will begin making and selling organic cashew milk.
191 Damonte Ranch Pkwy., Reno
775-852-1401
555 S. Virginia St., Ste. 103, Reno
775-323-1794
http://www.Jusreno.com

Whole Foods Market
You’ll find organic, prepackaged almond milk at the coffee bar. The market also sells a variety of prepackaged nut milks, including almond, cashew, hazelnut, and coconut, on store shelves and in the refrigerated section.
6139 S. Virginia St., Reno
775-852-8023, http://www.Wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/reno

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