Our consumption of dairy really makes no sense from a purely biological perspective. Honestly I get the whole vegan rant that we aren’t meant to consume dairy because no other mammals do after the breast feeding phase. However, giving up all things dairy simply isn’t possible. Life without cheese is just not life. It is some lesser existence to which I could never subscribe. That being said, I pretty much stopped drinking milk over the past year or so. I never felt good after a big glass or a cereal bowlful and so gave almond milk a try a really liked it. Yes, it does have a mild almond flavor, so buyers beware that it may effect the flavor of your cereal. I always eat cereal that the milk complemented it, such as Cascadian Farms multi-grain squares or use it to add a creamy finishing touch to my porridge.
My friend Zach was very curious as to the almond milk production process and being the creative type he is, ventured to make it this past weekend. I tried the resulting milk and it was rich and glorious. And perhaps the best part of the whole process? When you make almond milk you get almond cheese too! The cheese is reminiscent of ricotta and is lovely served on toasted with a drizzle of honey as shown above. I found the whole process to be so easy and rewarding that it instantly became addicting.
So here is the recipe. The process is simple but a bit time consuming. I recommend doing it when you have a lazy afternoon or evening or when you have a few friends over to help!
Almond Milk & Almond Cheese
Makes about 4 cups of Almond Milk & 1 small medium log of Cheese
– Piece of cheesecloth
– Plastic wrap
– 1 Cup of Raw Almonds
– 3 1/2 Cups of Water
– 1 teaspoon of Honey (or more if you like sweet Almond Milk)
– 1 pinch of Salt
For Cheese (all really to taste depending on your preferences)
– 1 teaspoon of lemon
– 1 big pinch of salt
– 1 big pinch of pepper
– 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
– Dry herbs to coat (optional)
Submerge almonds in a bowl of water and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Rinse and peal all of them (this is when it’s good to have friends!). Put peeled almonds, 3 1/2 cups of water, honey and salt in a blender and blend on high for several minutes until the mixture is completely uniform and resembles milk.
Set up a bowl with a strainer and line with cheesecloth. Slowly pour almond milk mixture through the cheesecloth, allowing the liquid to pass through, while the ground nuts remain. You can gently move around the mixture with a butter knife or spoon to help separate the two. After all the milk has passed, squeeze the cheese cloth and try to release all the remaining liquid from the ground nut mixture. Your almond milk is ready to consume!
For the cheese: In a bowl, combine remaining ground nuts with lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil. Depending on the resulting liquid content of the cheese you can add more or less olive oil. Shape the cheese with the plastic wrap (this just makes it easier and less messy to handle), forming either a log or circle or even whatever depending on your preferred shape and voila! Your cheese! If you want to bring it to the next level and you have some dry dill or Herbs de Provence or any tasty dried herb, try coating your cheese with it. This looks very classy.
Cover and store both milk and cheese in the refrigerator. They will last you a few days at least!