I recently got into making nut milk. My diet at home is mostly vegetarian. I'm not a strict vegetarian, but that is how I eat at home most of the time. Although I do use dairy (I love feta cheese and good quality ice cream), I almost never buy cow's milk. Instead, I've tended to drink soy milk. Korea is wonderful in that a variety of soy milk is readily available in all supermarkets and the price is not much different from regular milk. I've been happy with using soy milk until someone told me that practically all commercially produced soy beans in the world are genetically modified. This, plus another concern about soy's affect on one's hormonal levels, made me look into alternatives to regular consumption of soy milk. (I use a "milk" everyday with my morning smoothies.)
Then someone told me how easy it is to make nut milk. I started doing so a few weeks ago and must say that enjoying nut milk has become one of my great new pleasures.
So the basic process of making nut milk is pretty easy. First you soak the nuts in filtered water for a couple of hours. Nuts with a brown husk tend to be harder than other white nuts, so they need more soaking than other nuts. I soak the nuts for about two to six hours, depending on the nut. I've found that if I soak them too long they go rancid and taste bitter. Soaking seeds/nuts have a dual purpose. First, it softens the nuts, making them easier to blend. Secondly, seeds/nuts contain enzymes that are not good for your digestive system--in large quantities they are actually somewhat poisonous. Soaking them in water practically eliminates that problem. After soaking the nuts, throw off the water and rinse them thoroughly.
Next, place the nuts in the blender with double the amount of water. In other words, for every cup of nuts add two cups of water. This ratio of one part nuts, two parts water makes for a very creamy milk. I've actually increased my water ratio for some milks just because they are so creamy.
In this step you may also consider adding other ingredients, although it is not necessary. Personally I add a pinch of salt and a blob of honey, maybe around a table spoon. This is a personal preference that some people go without.
The third step is to blend the nuts. I find two minutes on a high speed setting to be more than enough for a very fine blending.
The final step is to pour the liquid through a very fine strainer, cheese cloth or nut milk cloth. Squeeze out any excess milk and put the pulp aside. Personally I only use a very fine strainer. My milk is a little grainy, which I don't mind, but this can easily be fixed by pouring the milk through a cloth. The milk will keep a couple of days in your refrigerator in a sealed container. I've always used mine up within two days, but some on-line sources say it will last a week. Remember to shake before use.
That's it! Enjoy wonderful creamy and flavoursome milk.
So far I've made almond milk, cashew nut milk, and walnut milk. My favourite is undoubtedly the walnut milk. I sometimes add a little cinnamon to it. For the best home made chocolate drink you have ever tasted, use the walnut milk with either instant hot chocolate powder, or just add some coco powder (about one or two table spoons) and a sweetener (e.g. condensed milk). It's so good you'll have to hold onto something. The cashew nuts, being so high in fat, makes for a very creamy and distinctively nutty tasting milk. The almonds have the most neutral taste.
I usually use milk for my regular morning smoothies and for this I used to buy soy milk. However, I truly enjoy the taste of these nut milks so much that I often feel sad using them in the smoothies. It just feels like a waste not to enjoy these nut milks in and for themselves.
By the way, about the pulp that is sometimes left over. There is no reason to throw it away. You can add it to your smoothies, or add it to stews or experiment using it in your baking. Sometimes I just stir a little condensed milk into it and eat it just like that.