How to Make Cultured Almond Milk

I’ve never tried almond milk but my husband loves it in his smoothies. This recipe will surely add more power-packed nutrition to smoothies or anything you would want to use it with. I’m already thinking a dash of vanilla extract would taste great in it, too. To learn how to make cultured almond milk for yourself, keep reading.

Posted by Ashley

Almond milk is a tasty and nutritious dairy substitute that can be made even healthier by the addition of probiotic cultures to enhance its digestibility.  While kefir grains are traditionally added to dairy products, there’s no reason not to make your own dairy-free kefir ferments at home.

Store bought almond milk often contains additives, preservatives and stabilizers, not to mention unnecessary synthetic vitamins—all of which have the potential to hamper the fermentation process.  For cultured almond milk, skip the store bought and start with fresh almonds for the best results.

While there are expensive packets of kefir culture available on the market today, the simplest and most effective versions are made by opening powdered probiotic capsules.  Probiotic capsules contain many beneficial organisms, but most contain mostly dormant kefir culture, which is perfect for starting your ferment.

How to Make Cultured Almond Milk

Yield: 8 cups (1/2 gallon)

Ingredients: 

To Soak the Almonds:

• 1 cup raw organic almonds

• 3-4 cups soaking water

For the Milk:

• 7-8 cups chlorine-free water

• 1 splash raw cider vinegar

• 1 pinch sea salt

• 3-4 capsules probiotic powder, opened and capsules discarded

Directions: 

  1. Soak the almonds overnight in 3-4 cups of water. This softens them and causes them to begin to sprout, converting their enzymes and nutrients to a more digestible form.
  2. Thoroughly drain and rinse the almonds. Discard the soaking water. Any anti-nutrients or plant defenses that the almonds had are leached out into the water, and draining them removes those to make for a healthier almond milk.
  3. Place the soaked almonds along with 2-4 cups of water into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Add the remaining water and blend thoroughly.
  4. Strain the almonds through a very fine mesh cheesecloth, cotton napkin, nut milk bag or similar fine strainer. I use cut-up scraps of either old t-shirts or sheets, which should give you an idea of how fine you’ll want your cloth to be for completely straining all the fine almond particles out of your milk. (The almond pulp can be discarded if you choose, or saved for making crackers or smoothies. It also works well to bring up the protein content of whole grain cookies or oatmeal.)
  5. At this point you should have roughly 8 cups of traditional almond milk strained and ready to use. To culture, add in a pinch of salt, dash of raw cider vinegar and the contents of 3-4 probiotic capsules. Mix thoroughly.  To make sure the powder from the probiotic capsules doesn’t clump, it might be better to take out about a cup of the milk and whisk the powder in separately until thoroughly combined before adding it back in.
  6. Cover the almond milk loosely with a towel and leave on the counter to ferment for 24 hours before refrigerating.

At the end of your ferment, a bit of almond “cream” will have separated out at the top.  You can either shake that back in, or separate it out for use in richer recipes.  If you prefer thick, full-flavored almond milk, I’d recommend shaking it back in before serving.  At this point, you may choose to sweeten with a bit of honey, maple or other natural sweetener to bring out more flavor.

Saving 1/4 to 1/2 cup from this batch can be used to start subsequent batches, which will save you money buying probiotic capsules.

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 Ashley is an off grid homesteader in central Vermont. She is passionate about fermentation, charcuterie and foraging. Read more about her adventures at VermontMangoPlantation.com.

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