Straining Vegan Milks

Non-diary milks are remarkably simple to make. However, the gritty texture of homemade nut and seed milks is a common drawback. This can be easily remedied with a simple straining of the milk. At Sanlinx, we have experimented with different straining methods over our years of experience with vegan milks, and ship all our soymilk makers with straining supplies.

Straining involves passing the milk through a fine mesh to catch the particles of fiber on one side, letting the milk pass through to the other. Despite the simplicity of this task, there are several ways to strain vegan milk.

A popular method is to use a fabric, such as a nut milk bag, a cheesecloth, or even a piece of nylon hosiery. The unfiltered milk is poured into the fabric, the edges are gathered, and the resulting pouch of milk and pulp is manually squeezed and wrung-out. While effective, small particles of pulp can get stuck in the fabric fibers and make cleaning the fabric difficult. Furthermore, cheesecloths can be unwieldy and nylon hosiery is unlikely to be food-safe. Some may also be uncomfortable with the milk streaming down their hands.

Another method is to use a metal sieve. Slowly pour the milk through a metal sieve, pressing the liquid from the pulp with a spoon or spatula. This eliminates the need to use one’s hands, and requires less manual dexterity.

For this reason, Sanlinx provides a fine metal sieve and plastic pitcher for straining with each soymilk maker. The sieve is placed on top of the pitcher, and the milk slowly poured through for easy and tidy straining. After tamping down the pulp, the pitcher is full of fresh, smooth milk. Afterwards, the sieve is easily cleaned with a rinse under the tap. The fiber and nutrient-rich pulp (or “okara”, for soy pulp) can then be used for any number of delicious recipes.

We find that most of our soymilk machine owners find one straining to be satisfactory. However, some of our customers find that they prefer to strain the milk a second time through a nut milk bag to eliminate any residual fine pulp. Waiting for the fine particles to sink to the bottom of the pitcher can also give the same effect. This comes down to personal preference – the extra time taken for a second straining results in an ultra-smooth milk, but one straining is generally enough.

Finally, not all nut and seed milks require straining. Nuts like cashews and macadamias have less tough fiber than for example, almonds and soybeans, and produce smooth milks without straining. Some people may even find the texture of unstrained milks perfectly palatable, particularly after running the machine multiple times on the same batch of milk. Regardless, Sanlinx has every (non-dairy) milk enthusiast covered.