I have avoided making this for years, thinking it was really scary and difficult, but now that I’ve finally tried it, I have no idea why I was so bothered. It’s the easiest thing in the world, it tastes delicious (admittedly slightly nutty), and it even looks like “the real thing” (cow’s milk… if that matters to you):
I left some in a jug in the fridge overnight and it separated into two layers, with the cream on top, like non-homogenised (old-style) cow’s milk. So I’m guessing you could skim it in the same way, either to reduce the fat or to make cream. In fact, a whole vista of new possibilities is opening up before my eyes… (could you make cheese??)
You do need some equipment: a blender (preferably a high-power one), and a nut-milk bag (available on the internet for around £7).
Bear in mind that how creamy the finished product is will depend mainly on how much water you add. There isn’t a right amount – you just need enough for the blender to be able to blend. After that, the more water you add, the more milk you will get (so it will go further, if you are on a budget), and the weaker/lower in fat that milk will be. As a general rule start with about twice as much water as nuts, but you may want to experiment, depending on taste. This milk is best fresh, so don’t make too much at once.
N.B. You can add other things too, for flavouring (vanilla, strawberries, chocolate?), if you like. It’s so nice just as it is though, so I’ll leave that up to you. Try the basic recipe, and then feel free to experiment.
Soak the almonds overnight. Put them in a blender with some water and blend until smooth. Add more water to achieve the desired milky consistency. Open the nut milk bag over a large jug or bowl and pour in the milk. Holding the bag closed with one hand, squeeze the liquid through with the other. It may help at this point to hang the bag from something like a cupboard handle (with the jug/bowl below it!), if you have one nearby. Discard the pulp.
One advantage of knowing how to do this is that, even if you use shop-bought non-dairy milk most of the time, you can always keep a bag of nuts in the cupboard in case you run out.
Bear in mind that this milk does not contain the added vitamins and minerals that some commercial products do. Then again, it also doesn’t contain salt, sugar (in it’s various forms) or oil, which many boxed non-dairy milks do. When buying non-dairy milks in the shops, look for brands that do not contain these unhealthy additives. If you use soya milk, the ingredients list should read: water, soya beans (+/- vitamins). Nothing else. I have yet to find a commercial almond milk that I find satisfactory, but fortunately the home-made variety is roughly comparable on price. Almonds are expensive, but so is shop-bought milk, and a few go quite a long way.