Before I tell you about my favourite non-dairy milk, let me clarify that I still consume some dairy milk. Not often. I use it to make yogurt or milk kefir. There is another milk drinker in the house, who drinks it everyday on his morning cereal. We are lucky to be able to refill dairy milk in glass at Harris Farms, but still don’t accomplish this 100% of the time. And sometimes we don’t notice we’re out of milk until the morning, when a trip to the store is out of the question. So this alternative milk helps in a pinch.
Adventures in nut milks
The first time I made almond milk, I couldn’t believe how delicious it tasted. I’d only tried the thin tasteless versions from a Tetrapack before then and wasn’t impressed. I’ll make almond milk now and again. It tastes great in cold brew where I find the nutty flavour pairs well with the coffee.
I’ve since learned to make soy milk, coconut milk, oat milk, macadamia nut milk, and various combinations thereof. They’re all decent to pretty good tasting options. It’s handy to be able to whip up small amounts of coconut milk from dried shreds and spare a tin from the recycling.
I also like nut milks because they help me minimize waste. I can get the whole ingredients from the bulk bins, so there’s minimal end-of-pipe packaging waste. There’s also presumably less land and water use from choosing plant rather than animal products. Usually I’m able to buy Australian grown.
Overall, my gripe about nut milks is the straining step (I already skip the soaking step). It dirties more dishes, and forces me to find uses for the pulp. Soy milk is the worst. It has to be cooked, makes a mess of the pot and creates a shocking amount of okara. Because nut milks only last a few days in the fridge, a constant supply would require small batches every few days, and a new batch of pulp each time. Too much work!
Which is why I really like hemp milk – a non-dairy milk made from hemp hearts. Hemp hearts have only recently been approved for human consumption in Australia. They have a mild taste and create a nice creaminess when blended with water into a milk – enough to satisfy the palate of someone raised on dairy milk. The best part though? No soaking and no straining.
How to make hemp milk
I eyeballed this recipe until I wrote this post, at which point I measured things for you.
Basic recipe for hemp milk
Use 1 heaping Tablespoon of hemp seeds per cup of water. Blitz until smooth in a high speed blender, and enjoy. No straining required. Stores in the fridge for a couple of days.
Vanilla hemp milk
To the basic recipe, I add 1/2 a large date per 2 cups water and a sprinkle of vanilla protein powder before blending. This goes nicely over porridge. You could substitute vanilla powder or extract for the protein powder – it’s just what I had on hand.
A tip for cold milk. If you want your hemp milk chilled right out of the blender, substitute ice cubes for half of the water.
To make it creamier. Reduce the proportion of water to hemp seeds.
I’m not qualified to say whether this is better or worse for you nutritionally than dairy milk. And to be totally honest, I’m happy to set food and health politics aside and simply say that it passes my taste test and my waste test.
So hemp milk, I like it. It can be whipped up at a moment’s notice without packaging. My partner will happily drink it, there is no pulp to strain and deal with. It’s so easy to make that even my partner could make it for himself, if he wasn’t so lazy.
I was curious about the affordability, so I calculated the per litre cost. One Tablespoon per cup is 45g of hemp seeds per litre, which works out to $2.70/litre based on the current retail price of $60 AUD per kilo. It’s less than the $3/litre refills of dairy milk, and not much more than the cheaper dairy milk you’d find at the major supermarkets (I’m ignoring the $1 milk because it’s insanity). Financial costs aside, the convenience of not having to leave the house when you’re out of something is priceless.