Our friends are getting a cow. I'm currently torn over the prospect of offering my kids unpasteurized milk. When I was a medical student I helped look after 5 kids who came down with invasive E. coli disease from drinking unpasteurized milk on a preschool farm visit. One of those kids died, another ended up on dialysis with kidney failure. Chuck grew up on a dairy farm, drinking milk straight from the cow, but strangely enough has no interest in non-store-bought milk. Then again, I know that most problems with unpasteurized milk spring from specific problematic handling practices, and that pasteurized milk is 'processed' and nutritionally depleted compared to raw. Maybe we'll buy their milk, but scald it and use it for yogourt. We certainly want to learn to milk their cow, and would love the chance to try cheese-making and butter-making. We've done these from store-bought, but somehow that doesn't seem quite as nifty.
We don't drink a whole lot of milk, at least not the kind of quantities I was raised on. My kids drink mostly water with meals and for quenching thirst during the day. They like milk with breakfast cereal, but it's a bit of an exception for my kids to actually pour themselves milk in a glass to drink. They did develop a fondness for Rice Dream a year or two ago, though. And they've always loved almond milk, warm or cold. Oy, the tetrapaks, though! Only the juice tetrapaks can even be "recycled" around here, and even with those I know in my heart of hearts that the sarcastiquotes around "recycled" are well-deserved.
I experimented with making almond milk when we first started ordering bulk fruit and nuts from Rancho Vignola each fall. It worked beautifully, but the grinding and filtering was messy and time-consuming. Almond milk was a rare treat. Cashew milk happened a little more often, since filtering wasn't necessary, but the pre-cooking of the millet was enough to prevent nut milk making from becoming part of my routine. I also tried making rice milk. Again, an acceptable end-product, but messy and time-consuming.
So, after kicking the idea around for a while and doing some research, I bought a Soyabella. It has vastly simplified the making of dairy-free milks, and has totally eliminated our use of tetrapaks. We use it in equal proportion for nut milks, rice milk and soy milk ... and various combinations thereof. The night before I measure out the raw ingredients, in this case a combination of cashews and soybeans.
Then I dump them into the milk-making screen cup, set that into the utility cup, and fill the whole thing with water.
In the morning I remove the metal cup and its soaked beans and nuts from the water, and attach the cup to the grinder part of the Soyabella. The grinding blade doesn't look too impressive but it certainly does its job. The cup twists on to make a cylindrical unit that is below the lid of the Soyabella jug.
Then I set the lid into the jug which has been prefilled with water. I plug it in, press "milk" and wait. For a few minutes the unit warms up from an element hidden beneath the bottom of the stainless steel jug, heating the water to just below the boil. It goes through four grinding/filtering cycles, steeps a little longer and then beeps to tell me it's done.
I add whatever flavourings inspire me -- often 1/4 tsp. of salt, two or three tablespoons of honey or maple syrup, sometimes some vanilla extract.
A quick stir, and we're ready to decant into a container for the fridge. Most milks keep 2-3 days in the fridge. Most l.6 L batches of alternative milks disappear around here in 24 hours, long before the thermophils get to them.
Mmm, mmm! I'll even confess that with my cashew-millet recipe, I empty out the paste that's left inside the screen cup, add maple syrup and milk, call it 'porridge' and enjoy it immensely by the spoonful. My kids think I'm nuts, so it's only the worms who are sad not to get their serving.