Kayleigh shares her easy oat milk recipe for if you need to tighten your purse strings or want to go that step further in reducing your waste. Or maybe you just want to cut back on your dairy, this oat milk recipe might be for you.
Converting to a plant-based diet, I quickly found out that dairy alternatives can be expensive. Finding myself buying 2-3 bottles of oat milk a week, I decided it must be much cheaper just to make it myself. After asking around a few friends for advice, I was given this recipe, and it’s much easier than I expected.
- 1 cup oats
- 4 cups water
- Pinch of sea salt (optional)
- 1 clean t-shirt
- 2 containers for straining (preferably tall with a wide neck)
- Bottle or container with sealed lid for storing your oat milk
It usually takes 30 minutes to make 1 litre of oat milk.
Simply blend all the ingredients together for about 30 seconds and strain twice through a clean t-shirt. I personally I keep an old t-shirt for the job. I also tried using a muslin cloth for straining, but the material was too fine so the milk came out a bit watery.
Initially I stored mine in the same jug I used for straining, which worked fine, but I needed to stir the milk before using as it separates in the fridge. I ended up transferring the milk to a sealed glass bottle so I could simply shake it when it separated. In the fridge the milk can last for 4-5 days.
I always add a pinch of sea salt as I find it lifts the flavour and seems to smoothen the texture. Other ingredients such as vanilla extract and cocoa powder can be added before blending to flavour the milk.
Using the pulp
After sieving you will be left with an oat ‘pulp’ this can be used in baking, I found it good to add to a vegan muffin mixture as the texture makes a good egg substitute. Alternatively, I like to use it on my face and body as a cleanser, applying this pulp in the shower and leaving for 3-5 minutes before rinsing left my skin feeling super soft.
Why choose oat milk?
Oat milk is my go-to for two reasons.
Firstly, the taste, I find that oat milk is the ‘creamiest’ option and tastes most similar to the cow’s milk I grew up with. The taste is also neutral (unlike coconut and almond milks), which makes it a good for both drinking and cooking/baking.
Secondly, oat milk is one of the best options for the environment. The entire process of making oat milk uses less water and land compared to other alternatives. The oats can also be grown in the UK, which obviously releases less carbon from transportation than coconut milk, for example.
Why make it yourself?
Making it yourself works out a lot cheaper than buying it from the supermarket. A single carton of oat milk from the supermarket can cost £1-£2. 1 cup of oats equates to roughly 200 grams, and 1 cup of oats can around make 1 litre of oat milk, For 1kg oats for the same price and you can make 5 litres of oat milk so for less than £2.
Buying oats from your local zero waste store works out a little more expensive than supermarket, but eliminates unnecessary packaging, supports local businesses, and often you can find out exactly where the oats have come from.
If you are buying at a supermarket, try and by the oats in paper packaging to reduce plastic consumption!
Remember you can also recycle cartons of plant milk! If you have an empty carton of plant milk, Tetra Pak® have now launched carton recycling in the UK. Local collection schemes are increasing in number- hurray! Check http://www.tetrapak.co.uk® to see how and where you can recycle your cartons!
Any downsides to making it yourself?
Vitamins and minerals
Supermarket milk alternatives are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, and one that is particularly important for vegans, vitamin b12. By making oat milk yourself, you are losing a source of these vitamins, so it is essential to ensure you are getting them elsewhere (especially b12!).
Overall, I have found it a huge relief to know that I can make a zero waste milk alternative without spending a lot of money. Although I still occasionally find myself buying the odd bottle of oat milk (and yes, oat always wins!), when I do have a spare 30 minutes, making oat milk is a super rewarding task, which leaves me feeling smugly satisfied. By making your own, you get cheap oat milk and pulp cleanser whilst also being zero waste…you cannot lose!
About the Author: Kayleigh Singh is currently volunteering in rural communities in Tanzania.