Oat milk is cheaper, easier, and better for the environment than other milks, so why not dip in?
Claire Brnjac // Arts and Culture Editor
Last month, Starbucks launched a new oat-milk-specific drink—the Iced Brown Sugar Oat Shaken Espresso—to relatively positive acclaim. Chatime, a global bubble tea brand, also recently released their version: the Brown Sugar Oat Milk tea, which costs around $7 per cup. Especially important since the abundance of COVID-19 layoffs, one can save money by making their own oat milk at home.
Oat milk, made mostly of rolled oats, ice water, and some flavouring, is extremely inexpensive to make and is absolutely delicious in coffee, frozen in milkshakes or slightly frothed for a latte. Compared to the huge water consumption needed to make almond milk and the ozone-destroying emissions in the making of cow milk, growing oats take up 80 per cent less land area and water consumption than all other milk alternatives. Start-to-finish, it takes two to three minutes to make great oat milk if you’re prepared beforehand.
MATERIALS (MAKES ONE LITRE OAT MILK):
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 4 cups of ice water (the colder, the better)
- Nut milk bag (cheesecloth or an old t-shirt would suffice)
- Flavourings (vanilla extract, maple sugar, etc.)
- Large mixing bowl
STEP ONE: GATHERING MATERIALS
Get all your materials ready at the same time to make the process as quick as possible. For this batch, I used two tablespoons of maple syrup, one teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt alongside my oats and ice water. Using ice-cold water is incredibly important to keep the texture of the oat milk as non-slimy as possible, so keep the ice cubes in as long as possible. While you’re at it, prep your nut-milk bag by placing it over a large mixing bowl—you’ll be glad you did later.
STEP TWO: BLENDING
Blend the oats, the flavourings, the water, and the salt for no more than 20-30 seconds. Make sure to keep this process relatively fast—letting the oats soak for longer than they have to will make your milk slimy and unpalatable. Twenty seconds is all you need to get the oats incorporated enough, and then turn it off.
STEP THREE: DRAINING THE OATS
Pour the oat mixture through your already-prepared nut-milk bag. Make sure not to squeeze the oats through the nut-milk too hard, or the milk texture will get slimy. The oats will still have a little bit of liquid in them after squeezing, so let the bag sit in an empty measuring cup to drain further. After the oats have been squeezed into your mixing bowl, you can use the oat remains to make cookies!
STEP FOUR: POURING AND ENJOYING
Transfer your oat milk from your mixing bowl to a jar, bottle, or reusable container of your choice. I had an old Avalon milk bottle lying around, so I used my funnel to pour the oat milk into my container and then stashed it in my fridge for safekeeping.
Oat milk is relatively hardy, but like all things, it goes bad over time. Homemade oat milk will start to go off after about a week in the fridge, but check the smell and consistency to make sure. Separation in your oat milk is normal—just give your milk a quick shake to reincorporate it before serving.