[Sca-cooks] Almond Milk

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius1 at verizon.net
Fri May 29 13:38:34 PDT 2009

On May 29, 2009, at 3:27 PM, lilinah at earthlink.net wrote:

> On our local Kingdom cooking list, we're having a discussion of  
> almond milk. This topic was brought up by a new cook.
> Does one make almond milk of:
> -- almonds with skin on;
> -- almonds soaked overnight in cold water, skin left on;
> -- almonds soaked overnight in cold water & skinned;
> -- almonds blanched (dropped in boiling or simmering water & skinned;
> -- purchased already blanched;
> -- almonds with skin on toasted;
> -- almonds with skin off toasted;
> or some variation thereof.

The short answer (what, me, give short answers???) is that thee recipe  
usually specifies details as per usage, appearance of the overall dish  
in which it is to be used, etc.

In general, unless stated otherwise, you want the almonds as moist as  
you can get them, as with soaking them a bit, which prevents the  
resulting milk from breaking its emulsion (to a greater extent,  
anyway). Since this is milk, it should be white, all other things  
being equal. So, in general, the ideal would be blanched almonds,  
peeled either before or after soaking. It probably depends on which  
you can get in bulk, cheaper. Whole, unblanched almonds generally are  
cheaper, and have the longest shelf life, but the bran should usually  
be removed before grinding.

Unless the dish is something intended to be in a russet or brown  
sauce, such as a mirrauste, le Menagier's meat tile, etc.

> How finely does one process the almonds:
> -- coarsely chopped;
> -- finely chopped;
> -- ground into meal;
> -- ground into flour;
> -- purchased already chopped;
> -- purchased already ground into meal;
> -- purchased already ground into flour;
> or some variation thereof.

The finer, the better. Essentially, your milk is thicker and has more  
almond-ey goodness if it has more microscopic particles of almond in  
it. You can still strain out the most obvious hunks of almond dross.

For events, I generally a five or ten-pound bag of blanched almond  
meal from someone like Honeyville Grains, and use it for almond milk  
and marzipan. It's cheating, but only slightly, IMO.

> How do the commercial almonds milks compare to homemade,  
> particularly in flavor and in texture?
> I only know of two brands:
> -- Pacific Naturals Organic Almond Milk
> and
> -- Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk
> NOTE: Both now make unsweetened almond milks, but previously only  
> had sweetened.

I get the impression that most commercial almond milks have Stuff in  
them that almonds do not contain; of course, if they're milk  
substitutes, and get added to coffee, or are used for baking or simple  
drinking, this is not a problem and users of those products may expect  
a more milky, and less nutty, product anyway. But in general, my  
experience is that you get a better almond flavor using almonds and  
water than you do from commercial milks. YMMV.


"Most men worry about their own bellies, and other people's souls,  
when we all ought to worry about our own souls, and other people's  
			-- Rabbi Israel Salanter

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