We Need Your Help: How Do You Use Nondairy Milk?

Let's talk about uses beyond 'milk' in your coffee, like yogurt. And baking.

  
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We’ve got some terrific alt-milk and cheese recipes — but we know this is an evolving world, so we want to hear from you. How do you make nondairy milk? And what do you do with it? How do you make cashew milk yogurt, coconut milk ice cream, and so on?

In the audio above, learn more of the details as to why Mark has nondairy milk on his mind — and how he makes his own.


Nut or Seed Milk

Makes: About 2 1/2 cups
Time: 15 to 20 minutes, plus 8 to 12 hours soaking time

With this recipe and its Grain Milk and Soy Milk variations that follow — and of course some coconut milk — you’ve got your vegan dairy replacement needs covered. You’ll need cheesecloth to strain the milk, or use a nut bag, which is made for this purpose. This recipe will work with any kind of nut as well as seeds like hemp and hulled (green) pumpkin. Flax seeds are the one exception, since they need to be ground first, which makes them difficult to strain out. If you like, you can add a touch of sweetness and flavor by including a bit of vanilla extract or agave nectar before puréeing; or dissolve sugar to taste after straining. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, or more.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted raw nuts or seeds

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

1. Soak the nuts in generous water to cover for 8 to 12 hours until swollen and soft.

2. Drain and put in a blender with 4 cups fresh water. Process on high until smooth.

3. Line a fine-meshed strainer with 2 layers of dampened cheesecloth so the sides overhang by several inches; set it over a large bowl. Pour in the purée, gather up the ends, and squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the purée. The milk will keep in an airtight container, refrigerated, for 3 to 4 days.

GRAIN MILK You can make this with white or brown rice, rolled or steel-cut oats, buckwheat, or millet; white rice and oats produce milks with the mildest flavor: Substitute the nuts with the grain of your choice and decrease the water in Step 2 to 3 cups.

SOY MILK The results are thicker and richer than commercially made soy milk — more like half-and-half. I like it but if you want something lighter, thin the finished milk with a little cold water. Substitute dried soybeans for the nuts, rinsing first and picking them over for any debris before soaking them. Drain the beans, put them in a pot with enough water to cover, and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat so the liquid bubbles steadily, cover, and cook, stirring once in a while, until just tender, about 1 hour. Drain and add to a blender with 4 cups water; purée. Let sit for a few minutes to cool, then strain as directed in Step 3.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Tenth Anniversary Edition

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Cashew Cream

Makes: 2 cups
Time: At least 4 hours, mostly unattended

Turn to cashew cream when you want to add smooth richness to a dish but no dairy (and to the variation below for Cashew Cheese) as a savory alternative to fresh cow and goat cheeses and spreads. Cashews are a great alternative to coconuts because of their more neutral flavor. By adjusting the amount of water you add, you can make cashew cream as thin or thick as you prefer. This can be doubled, tripled, or more, and will keep for a few days in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted raw cashews

Instructions

1. Soak the cashews in 2 cups water for at least 4 hours, until swollen and soft. Drain; reserve the liquid.

2. Put the cashews in a blender and process on high, adding the soaking liquid a few tablespoons at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

FAST CASHEW CREAM Ready in 10 minutes: Boil 2 cups water and put 1/2 cup cashew butter in a small bowl. Turn off the heat, pour 1/4 cup of the boiling water into the bowl, and whisk until smooth; whisk in another 1/4 cup boiling water, then pour the cashew mixture into the pot and whisk to combine. Return the cream to medium heat and adjust as necessary so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily. Cook, whisking, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 1 to 3 minutes.

CASHEW CHEESE Same principle, only spreadable like cream cheese. Increase the quantity of cashews to 1 1/2 cups. Increase the water in Step 1 to 3 cups. After draining, put them in the blender with 1 tablespoon each lemon juice and nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt; purée until smooth, adding reserved soaking water 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you want. Eat as is, or at this point, you can add flavors from the list below and pulse until incorporated.

10 Directions to Take Cashew Cheese

Feel free to adjust any of these amounts up or down to suit your own personal taste. And if you can let the cheese sit for a couple of hours after seasoning, all the better.

1. Herbed Cheese: Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, like chives, parsley, basil, dill, or mint (alone or in combination).

2. Garlic-Mustard Cheese: Add 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon chopped garlic.

3. Chipotle Cheese: Add 1 or 2 minced canned chipotle chiles, plus some of their adobo.

4. Lime-Cilantro Cheese: Add up to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice.

5. Sesame-Soy Cheese: Add 1 tablespoon each soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds and 1 teaspoon sesame oil.

6. Lemon-Dill Cheese: Add another tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill. (This is even better the next day.)

7. Ginger-Mint Cheese: Add 1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh ginger and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint. (This is even better the next day.)

8. Vanilla-Orange Cheese: Use orange juice instead of lemon juice and add 2 tablespoons grated orange zest and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

9. Berry Cheese: Skip the nutritional yeast and add 1 cup mashed berries and 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar.

10. Tangy Cheese: Add 4 teaspoons cider vinegar and 1 1/2 teaspoons white or yellow miso.

— Recipe from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, Tenth Anniversary Edition

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