Making oat milk that doesn’t separate is as easy as throwing three natural, cheap and sustainable ingredients in a blender. Skip the single-use packaging of store-bought non-dairy milk and stop paying for water with this easy oat milk recipe.
Why is oat milk mainly water?
If you’ve ever glanced at the ingredient list of any non-dairy milk carton, you’ll notice the first ingredient is usually always water. That’s because, like many most liquids products, a large percentage is plain ol’ water.
In fact, even cows milk is 85-90% water; not because it’s been watered down, but because it naturally has a high water content as a liquid. Buying most things in their liquid forms means you are mostly paying for water – and, of course, the single-use plastic packaging it comes in.
Yep, you read that correctly. Shampoo, dishwashing liquid, moisturiser and toothpaste. Water, water, water and more water. Don’t believe me? Check out the first ingredient on most of your liquid products and you’ll likely see water or aqua.
Why oats are a sustainable choice?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware the dairy industry isn’t great for the environment. In fact, the global dairy sector is responsible for 4% of total greenhouse gas emissions. In comparison, air travel accounts for 2% of global emissions while electricity and heating accounting for 25%. A lesser know benefit of oats is their sustainable credentials. Oats are a low-input crop and require fewer resources to grow and produce. They have a long shelf-life and are available in many bulk stores. Oats require much less water to grow than almonds and rarely require shipping from tropical areas.
Oats are generally grown in cooler regions and aren’t associated with deforestation in developing countries. Shockingly, more than half of the oats currently grown are used to feed animals. Therefore, if more people switch to plant-based meals, there is already plenty to go around!
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The secret ingredient that stops non-dairy milk separating: Lecithin
If you’ve ever seen the ingredient list of a non-dairy milk package, you’ll see additional ingredients after water and the nut, seed or grain. In a good quality non-dairy milk, this small amount of additive stops the water from separating from the other ingredients. In other words, if you don’t fancy stirring your coffee between sips, consider investing in a lecithin powder or liquid. Lecithin is a naturally occurring compound that attracts both water and fatty substances and will stop your non-dairy milk from separating. Moreover, lecithin is a natural ingredient that exists within the body.
Soy lecithin is the cheapest and most widely available option. Although, sunflower lecithin has also grown in popularity. For a non-dairy milk recipe, use about one teaspoon of lecithin powder or liquid, depending on the quality of the product. Lecithin works best if you add some type of fat to your milk. In the same way cows milk contains water, protein, carbs and fat, the best non-dairy milks do too. I add a tablespoon of creamed coconut to this recipe when I’m after something creamy.
Why you should make your own oat milk
Substituting dairy milk for a non-dairy choice like oat milk saves the planet an immense amount of resources and you a lot of money. Most importantly, plant-based milk is an ethical choice when compared to cows milk.
However, most commercial brands use single-use packaging that’s likely destined for landfill. Skip the non-recyclable packaging and stop paying for water by making your own oat milk that doesn’t separate.
Oat milk that doesn’t separate recipe
- Nut milk bag, cocktail sieve or tea strainer
- 3.5-4 cups cold water (the less water, the creamier the milk)
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp mild-tasting oil* olive, canola, safflower etc
- 1 tsp sunflower lecithin powder
- 3 ice cubes (optional, helps to stop it from going "slimey")
- Place oats in a strainer and rinse under the tap. This will help to stop the excess fibre making your oat milk "slimey".
- Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender.
- Blend on a high-speed for 1 minutes.
- Strain immediately to separate oat pulp from the milk.
Whats to do if your oat milk is “slimy”
Oats contain a form of fibre that can cause oat milk to become silky or “slimy” in texture. I find the thick, creamy, silky texture a nice addition to smoothies, baking and coffee.
But if the texture is bordering on unpleasant, troubleshoot with these tips:
- Wash oats more thoroughly before blending to make sure all excess fibre is removed
- Don’t over-blend your oat milk: 1 minute is plenty and 30 seconds may even be enough in very powerful blenders.
- Strain the oat milk twice: each time into a clean (or rinsed) container.
- Don’t soak oats before blending but this can lead to more slime.
- Add ice cubes when blending to keep
What to do with oat pulp
The leftover oat pulp from straining is a nutrient and fibre-filled gluggy mess that you can add to baking recipes, smoothies, oatmeal porridge or hummus. Oat pulp also has fantastic properties for skincare which means it can be used as a face mask, scalp treatment or added to a bath.
Here’s some inspo:
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This article is part of the plastic-free food essentials series. Read more
- How to make two-ingredient hemp milk
- One minute oat flour
- Easy cooking ingredient substitutions
- My sustainable weekly routine