Recipe – Homemade Almond Milk and Homemade Gluten Free Vegan Sweet Bread using Leftover Almond Pulp (Banana, Pear, Apple, or Pumpkin Bread)

web_20151112-DSC_6722
Homemade Almond Milk and Almond Pulp Banana Pumpkin Bread Recipe

 

A few years ago, I made almond milk. It was watery and tasteless. A few months ago, I went to a workshop on homemade nut milks.  They made it just like I had, with two differences: 1) they used expensive, powerful blenders 2) they used a “nut bag” to strain the almonds (instead of cheesecloth). That was it. Why was their almond milk so much better?

Now that I have one of those expensive, powerful blenders, and have made almond milk again, I have a few conclusions. Primarily, the better results come from heat. The ultra powerful blenders heat their contents with friction (they don’t have a heating element). Fat dissolves in heat. Without an expensive blender, you are blending without heat. Instead of thick creamy almond milk, you have water and almond grit. My conclusion: add heat from a different source. Second, straining with the correct tool (nut bag or hops bag) gets any grittiness out. Third, a bit of salt and sweetener go a long way to flavoring the resulting creamy milk.

If you don’t have a fancy blender, you can still do this. Bgin with hot water when blending, and blend for a longer time.

Finally, humor me, and use purified water. Tap water contains flouride, chlorine, and a host of minerals that you don’t need to be ingesting – not to mention it tastes terrible. Since your almond milk is just water and almonds blended together, the nasty taste of tap water is going to make your almond milk taste terrible too. If you want the milk to taste nice like store-bought almond milk, use purified water. We have an APEC reverse osmosis system we bought off Amazon and it gives us fantastic purified water for a reasonable price.

 

 

HOMEMADE ALMOND MILK

1 cup raw almonds
4 cups purified water

Soak almonds in water overnight on counter top (room temperature).

In morning, dump old water. 
Rinse twice in fresh water (preferably purified).

Into your blender, add

4 cups purified water (new water, not the soaking water)
Soaked almonds


Blend in high powered blender such as Vitamix or Blendtec for 3 minutes. 

For a standard blender, before adding to the mixer, get the 4 cups water hot. Blend 6 minutes.

If desired, flavor with the following before blending (or your choice of sweetener). I make plain almond milk for smoothies, ice cream, and cooking (like mac and cheese), and flavored/sweetened for drinking or eating with cereal.

1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp agave
1/2 tsp vanilla

Use a “nut bag” (Amazon), or “hops bag” from a Home Brewing store near you. They cost about $4. Cheesecloth is what I used on my first attempt. I don’t recommend it. It was not as easy or effective as the nut / hops bags.

Strain milk through hops bag, squeezing with your hands.

Result is about 4 cups milk and 1 cup almond pulp. 

Homemade almond milk lasts 2-5 days depending on refrigeration temperature and freshness of almonds (helps to store the almonds in freezer if you have space). Make only what you can use in a short period of time. Homemade almond milk does not freeze well. 

Leftover almond pulp DOES freeze well. Thaw completely before using at a later time. Refrigerate if you plan to use it within the next few days.

Almond milk and leftover almond pulp

I tried several recipes using leftover almond pulp. It is NOT almond flour, or almond meal, and cannot be used as such in recipes.

Most recipes for leftover almond pulp have you turn it into almond flour by baking or dehydrating the pulp, then puree it in the blender to make flour. This is way too much effort, and too much energy consumption for me. 

I wanted an easy recipe that I could make as often as I make the milk, with minimal mess. It needed to be quick, simple, and have every-day ingredients. It needed to be fast to make and fast to clean up from, because I’m a busy mom. Preferably it needed to be cheap to make. It needed to use the fewest number of measuring spoons / cups as possible.

We are on a tight budget, and almonds are expensive. We are gluten free, and GF bread is expensive. I wanted to use the almond pulp to reduce the quantity (and thus cost) of GF bread we purchase. This recipe has done the trick!

I make almond milk about twice a week. I bake almond pulp bread once or twice a week, either one loaf at the same time as I make milk, or two loaves, using one fresh batch of pulp and one frozen or refrigerated batch of pulp.

This recipe calls for Gluten Free flour. Use your normal household choice of GF flour mix. If it contains leavening ingredients and xantham or guar gum, omit those from this recipe. If it’s just flour (like a mix of brown rice / tapioca / potato / sorghum), that is what I have used. I tried a couple different homemade GF flour mixtures with this recipe, and they all came out fine.



LEFTOVER ALMOND PULP SWEET BREAD – GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN

– Single Batch – 

1 c    almond pulp (leftover from making almond milk)
1 c    gluten free flour
1 c    soft fruit, crushed (ripe banana, applesauce, pears, pumpkin puree, berries, etc.)
1/2 c sugar (increase to 3/4 c or 1 c if using pumpkin since it’s not naturally sweet)
1 tsp  baking soda
1 tsp  baking powder
1 tsp  xanthan gum
1 tsp  cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs (for vegan, use “flax eggs” 3 Tbsp water 1 Tbsp ground flax meal, for each 1 egg)
1/3 c  oil (canola oil, butter, shortening, earth balance, etc. your choice)

Throw it all in a big bowl and stir until combined. Pour into loaf pan (no need to grease pan). Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit, for 70 minutes. 

To make with regular flour (not gluten free), omit xanthan gum and baking powder, and alter baking soda to 1 1/2 tsp.



LEFTOVER ALMOND PULP SWEET BREAD – GLUTEN FREE, VEGAN

– Double Batch –

2 c    almond pulp (leftover from making almond milk)
2 c    gluten free flour (your choice of mixture. check ingredients. if it contains leavening ingredients and xantham or guar gum, omit those from this recipe. if it’s just flour, like a mix of brown rice / tapioca / potato / sorghum starch, etc., that is what I have used)
2 c    soft fruit (ripe banana, applesauce, ripe pears, pumpkin puree, crushed berries, etc.)
1 c sugar (increase to 1.5 or 2 c if using pumpkin since the other fruits are naturally sweet)
2 tsp  baking soda
2 tsp  baking powder
2 tsp  xanthan gum
2 tsp  cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp salt
4 eggs (for vegan, use “flax eggs” 3 Tbsp water 1 Tbsp ground flax meal, for each 1 egg)
2/3 c  oil (canola oil, butter, shortening, earth balance, etc. your choice)

Throw it all in a big bowl and stir until combined. Pour into loaf pan (no need to grease pan). Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit, for 70 minutes.

To make with regular flour (not gluten free), omit xanthan gum and baking powder, and alter baking soda to 3 tsp.