My milk making machine looks a bit like this:
It’s like a kettle and blender combined. It came with a little measuring cup to measure out beans, rice, oats, nuts, etc, with, like a rice cooker. I make two batches of soy bean milk per week, for two adults. Since I buy my beans in bulk, I use about 5-10 cents of beans per batch, and then add some other ingredients to the milk once the machine has done its business…
Everything – except oats – requires some pre-soaking. When our milk is near running out, I toss some beans in water and leave them in the fridge until we need to make the milk. When it’s time to make the milk, you throw the beans in the little wire basket, attach the basket to the machine (it clicks on), and switch it on. The machine heats up, blends up the beans, heats up on/off some more, blends some more… until you have some lovely, very fresh milk. It takes about 5 minutes per batch.
After the 2 batches of milk are made, I stir in a tablespoon of rice malt as a sweetener, a pinch of salt, a splash of vanilla essence, soy lecithin granules, and a dash of sunflower oil. (The soy lecithin stops the oil from separating from the milk – I add oil to improve frothing for when I make coffees with my espresso machine. The oil also contains omega oils.) After adding stuff, I let the milk cool for a while, then put it in a jug in the fridge. Easy peasy. Quicker than going to the store for milk, and certainly a helluva lot cheaper. (Sometimes I grind up B12 and calcium tablets with a mortar and pestle and stir the powder into the milk. Many commercial soy milks are fortified in much the same way. The calcium probably isn’t necessary but a bit extra doesn’t hurt, and every little bit of B12 helps vegans in this overly-sterilised world of ours!)
Almond milk is very nice, but expensive. Hazelnut is apparently very nice, but even more expensive. I find oat milk is bland, no matter what I do to it – and it’s not entirely gluten-free! Rice milk is great with the right amount of vanilla essence added. Adding a bit of shredded coconut can be nice, too. If you aren’t sensitive to gluten, barley is another good thing to throw in – many commercial brands add pearl barley. Soy lecithin performs much the same function as the barley, though – a bit of extra richness, and it stops oils separating from the milk.
I got my machine from a local health food shop. Our machine is Chinese and the instructions that came with it were rather vague! The guy who runs the shop gave us heaps of instructions and hints – such as rice malt being a good, mild sweetener, and using soy lecithin to stop the oil separating. I have seen our machine in Asian grocery stores, too. It seems to be a very popular, non-branded one. We paid $100 for it. It should last 5-10 years with weekly use. Our health food shop guy has been using it for years. He does a mixture of rice and soy beans, sometimes adding almonds – you can make all sorts of interesting milk mixes! But I’m very happy with our straight soy milk. I would say it tastes very similiar to Vitasoy, but a tiny bit more “beany” in taste… and about 25 cents per week instead of around $10… Win!
I’ll post some photos of my machine in-action after I make some milk next week…
And just in case you’ve ever wondered if soy good for you? It’s ok!