Many people using dairy alternatives have never made their own milks, but it’s surprisingly easy. To make oat milk, it’s straightforward as the only ingredients are oats and water. With the different types of oats available from rolled, steel cut, or instant – what are the best to use for oat milk?
Rolled oats are the best to use for oat milk. You can also use steel-cut oats, oat groats, and porridge oats but the results can vary and can sometimes make the milk not as creamy.
To make oat milk, blend the oats and water, then strain out the pulp. Use straight away or keep your oat milk in the fridge for up to five days, stirring it when it separates.
There are many reasons to make oat milk: oats are inexpensive, accessible, and environment-friendly, you don’t need much equipment, and you can avoid artificial additives and sugar. Let’s look at the best oats, how to make the most luxurious oat milk, and how to store it.
Different Types Of Oats For Oat Milk
Shopping for oats presents you with many options: oat groats, rolled oats, steel-cut oats, porridge oats, quick cooking, and instant oats. Alongside the list below, I wrote a whole article on how oats are processed from start to finish.
Which of these types of oats is best for oat milk?
Rolled Or Old-Fashioned Oats
Rolled oats are the best oats to make creamy, tasty homemade oat milk.
Rolled oats consist of large, whole oat flakes primarily used to make oatmeal porridge or granola. Once cooked, their texture becomes creamy and slightly chewy.
Oats start as whole oat groat kernels. To make rolled oats, processors steam the dehusked groats, flatten them with huge rollers, and dry them.
Flattening the oats means more surface area is exposed and absorbs more liquid during cooking (or soaking), so the oats cook more quickly.
Because they are absorbent, rolled oats are excellent for oat milk.
Irish Or Steel-Cut Oats
Irish oats or steel-cut oats, sometimes called porridge oats, are also suitable for making oat milk.
Steel-cut oats are made by chopping up dehusked oat groats with sharp steel blades, so the oatmeal consists of small oaty chunks.
The chopping process means that steel-cut oats cook more quickly than whole oat groats but need to cook longer than rolled oats. However, they have the advantage of higher fiber levels. Steel-cut oats have a lovely chewy texture, even when made into porridge.
Use steel-cut oats to make oat milk, but because they are less processed than rolled oats, the milk is less creamy and has a nuttier flavor.
Scottish Or Stone-ground Oats
Another variety of porridge oats you can use for oat milk is stone-ground or Scottish oatmeal.
Oat groats are crushed or ground to make a creamier, softer porridge. The oatmeal consists of small bits of oats and some oat flour but still takes longer to cook than rolled oats.
Stone-ground oats make slightly slick milk because of the oat flour.
Oat Groats are the whole oat kernel or seed, the least processed form of oats.
Once oats have been harvested, they are dehusked (the tough outer sheath is inedible), cleaned, and toasted.
Oat groats are the most nutritious oats but require long cooking to soften them.
You can make oat milk with groats if you really want, but you will need to soak the oats for a couple of hours first. The resulting beverage won’t be smoothly textured and has a strong oaty flavor.
Quick-cooking Oats And Instant Oats
If rolled oats continue to be processed, you will end up with exceptionally thinly rolled, flat oat flakes that cook very quickly. These oats are called quick-cooking oats.
Further processing, including cooking, turns the oat flakes into instant oats, so you can add boiling water and have a ready meal.
Because they are so highly processed, quick-cooking and instant oats aren’t ideal for oat milk as they disintegrate and make the milk slimy.
How Much Oats Do You Need To Make Oat Milk?
You can make oat milk with a fairly small amount of oats. The standard ratio of oats to water is 1:4. Use 1 cup of rolled oats for every 4 cups of cold water.
This will give you about 4 cups of oat milk after some of the water is absorbed by the oats and disgarded and some of the oat solids mix with the water. You can multiply the amount up or down, i.e. 1/2 cup of oats to 2 cups of water.
The ratio of oats to water depends on how thick you like your oat milk. Using 1 cup of oats to 3 cups of water make thicker milk, while 5 cups make thinner milk.
How Do You Make Oat Milk?
Making oat milk at home is simple, combining oats, water, and a pinch of salt.
The only equipment you need is a powerful blender or food processor to blitz the oats, a fine-mesh strainer, and some airtight containers for storage.
Avoid soaking the oats first. Most oat-milk makers agree that soaking rolled oats makes for gelatinous oat milk, as the oats release starch. But if you are using oat groats, you will need to soak them for at least 2 hours to soften them.
Here’s how to make oat milk.
Step 1: Blitz The Oats
Place 1 cup oats in the blender with four cups of cold water – hot water will start cooking the oats.
Blend until the liquid turns white. If you have a high-speed blender, blitz for 30-60 seconds. Weaker blenders and food processors may take up to three minutes.
However, don’t over blend as the oat milk heats up and develops an unpleasantly gluey texture.
Step 2: Add Flavorings
The only additional flavoring that oat milk needs is a pinch of salt (1/4 teaspoon).
However, you can add other flavors:
- Add a tablespoon of maple syrup, honey, or a couple of dates for sweeter milk.
- Add vanilla, cardamom, or cinnamon for spiced milk.
- Blend in two tablespoons of cocoa powder for chocolate milk or berries for pink milk.
- Add ¼ cup of cashew or macadamia nuts and blitz for creamier milk.
Step 3: Strain The Milk
Straining oat milk leaves you with a smoother beverage. There are two stages to straining:
- First, pour the mixture through a fine sieve to remove most of the pulp. Use this oaty glop in cookies, bread, smoothies, a facial scrub, or compost.
- Rinse the strainer, then line it with cheesecloth, an old clean cotton T-shirt, or a towel and pour through the milk. (Don’t use a nut bag, as these let through too much starch.) This second straining goes more slowly, but don’t squash the pulpy starch through the cloth to avoid slimy milk.
How Long Does Homemade Oat Milk Last?
Homemade oat milk is at its best after making, but it will last up to five days if kept in a sealed container (like a mason jar) in the fridge.
Separation doesn’t mean the oat milk has gone bad – this is normal. Stir or shake the milk, and it will be ready for use.
You’ll notice that the oat milk is past its prime when it develops an odd smell. Discard it immediately at this point and make a new batch.
Is It Cheaper To Make Your Own Oat Milk?
It can be up to five times cheaper to make your own oat milk, especially if you already have a high-powered blender and go through a lot of milk.
Consider that with just 18 ounces of oats, you can make 10 quarts of oat milk. Rolled oats are inexpensive, so your savings will add up every month you don’t buy commercially made oat milk.
However, if you don’t have a blender and have to purchase one, it will take some time for your savings on oat milk to cover the cost.
Hopefully, this post will have answered your questions on what oats to use for oat milk.
Oat milk is a great alternative milk to make at home since you just need rolled oats, water, and salt. It’s an easy and fun process and can save you money too.
Blending these ingredients and then straining them makes deliciously creamy oat milk for your coffee, bakes, granola, or cereal.
Have any questions? Ask me in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you.
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