How Is Almond Milk Made?

Almond milk can be made commercially or at home. However, for maximum output, you must follow certain due processes, which we will discuss in this guide. While discussing how almond milk is really made, we’ll consider its nutritional value, shelf life, common uses, and benefits. Let’s dive in!

What Is Almond Milk and How Is It Made?

Almond milk is an alternative milk derived from almond nuts. It’s purely plant-based and doesn’t contain milk sugar (lactose) or cholesterol. Which is why its benefits extend mostly to vegans or those with lactose intolerance.

You can make almond milk for domestic consumption using blenders or portable grinders. The same tactic applies to how commercial almond milk is made. Here, we’ll answer the following questions:

  • How is almond milk made in a factory?
  • How is almond milk made at home?

That being the case, these steps must be considered for the home or commercial production process so that the almond milk can be marketable.

Step 1. Prepare the Almond Nuts for Processing

Preparing almond nuts involves harvesting, hulling, shelling, and sorting them. Sorting removes the bad ones, dirt, or pebbles in the bulk. Usually, we use almond nuts whose hulls are still in their early splitting stages for commercial almond milk production.

Commercially, an almond huller hulls and shells the nuts. Then, a sorting machine separates the nuts from the chaff or dirt. After that, you can soak the nuts.

On the contrary, you could buy already-processed almond nuts from factories that process them. This makes the milk production process faster and more cost-effective. However, you must also sort the bag of nuts in case of unsuspecting dirt or pebbles.

Step 2. Soak and Peel/Strain the Almond Nuts

Soaking doesn’t affect the nutritional value of the almond nut; it only softens it. Research has shown that softer almond nuts crush faster and produce better milk.

The ideal soaking time for almond milk is between 10 and 12 hours. Some prefer to do it overnight, while others just soak the nuts in hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Nonetheless, different producers may soak at different times. The time shortens depending on the temperature of the water used. 

The same applies to the soaking time for other almond nut derivatives or use cases. For instance, almond nuts designated for consumption could be soaked for 2 to 3 hours. After soaking, you may remove the almond bark by straining it.

Step 3. Blend or Grind the Soaked Nuts

Upon completing the soaking process, blend or grind the soft almond nuts. Home-made almond milk undergoes blending, while commercial production uses grinding.

Both processes are mechanically similar, just using different machines. However, you add other additives in blending, while grinding focuses on just the almond nuts. Also, while blending or grinding, add adequate water to make the outcome watery.

Step 4. Sift the Blended Liquid Milk

The next step is to sift the blended almond solution. Sifting removes solids present in the blended solution or milk. For homemade almond milk, you could do this using a cheesecloth or nut milk bag and a straining machine for industrial production.

Usually, during sifting, you rinse the solution. This reduces wastage but makes the solution more watery. Sifting and rinsing are done gradually to ensure the resulting solution is clear, less viscous, and ingestable.

Step 6. Fortification

After straining, you may mix the milk with additives or flavors. Usually, you prepare the flavors you’d use beforehand and then add them after straining. 

Additives may include vanilla, cocoa, vitamin A or D, sugar, etc. So, if you’ve been asking how is chocolate almond milk made, how is unsweetened almond milk made, or how is vanilla almond milk made? Then there goes the secret.

For instance, to make chocolate almond milk, you add cocoa. While in unsweetened almond milk, you do not add sugar. The same applies to vanilla or cinnamon almond milk; just add the primary ingredient, vanilla, cinnamon, or both. It all boils down to preference or demand.

Step 7. Homogenization

For homemade almond milk, you could stir the solution after straining it to make it equally viscous. Alternatively, you may achieve homogenization directly using a blender and stir the solution after straining.

However, industrially, homogenizers can be used to achieve this. A homogenizing machine makes the liquid component blend equally with the additives used during fortification. 

Step 7. Pasteurization 

Pasteurization increases the shelf life of almond milk. Traditionally, this involves heating the milk at a certain temperature to denature the bacteria or enzymes in the milk, hence making it safe for consumption.

You could use the high-temperature short-time (HTST) or ultra-high-temperature (UHT) pasteurization techniques on almond milk. In the HTST technique, you heat the milk at about 70 degrees Celsius for 15 seconds. For the UHT, heat the milk at about 137 degrees Celsius for two seconds.

Step 8. Preservation and Packaging

The next step after pasteurization is packaging. Although some producers prefer to pasteurize milk after packaging. Either way, it makes the milk last long.

Homemade almond milk is packaged in glass or plastic bottles or containers and stored in the refrigerator. Since homemade almond milk may or may not be pasteurized, storing it in the freezer is a viable alternative.

Industrially, almond milk is pasteurized and stored in labeled or unlabeled containers. These containers must be designed with colors or patterns that portray the distinct ingredients. For instance, chocolate almond milk may be packaged in a container with a brown or chocolate brown color.

Per regulations, you must also include the ingredients or additives used in making commercial almond milk and its calorific value. Once the packaging is cleared, you may ship or market as you wish.

Modern Almond Milk Production Techniques

As technology advances, modern almond milk production machines or equipment are being introduced to producers. For instance, we have High Pressured Processing (HPP) machines used to pasteurize almond milk over heating techniques. 

The HPP technique reportedly preserves the almond milk’s natural flavor and nutrients. It also allows for fewer errors common in heating pasteurization methods.

Also, we have machinery like the hulling and sorting machine, which makes it easier to process almond nuts used in producing almond milk. Introducing these modern-day machines streamlines the production process. Especially since almond milk currently dominates the nut or plant-based milk market.

For instance, the US plant-based milk market is valued at 2 billion USD. Almond milk alone generates about 1.3 billion USD of this total amount. That’s about 65% of the total plant-based milk sales.

The report above shows that introducing modern machinery for almond milk will make production even more seamless and economical, boosting its future market.

Nutritional Value of Almond Milk

Let’s examine the natural nutrients almond milk possesses per a 250-milliliter sample:

NutrientAlmond Milk ValueDairy Milk Value
Protein1.55 grams (g)7.69 g
Fat2.88 g7.93 g
Carbohydrate152 g11.71 g
Calcium516 g276 g
Sodium186 g105 g
Potassium176 g322 g
Vitamin D110 international unit (IU)124 IU
Vitamin A372 IU395 IU
Energy39 kilocalories (kcal)149 kcal

From the comparison above, it’s clear that almond milk is less nutritious than dairy milk. Though it trumps dairy milk for certain nutrients like macro-elements and carbohydrates, medical practitioners may still recommend dairy milk over it for people with certain deficiencies. 

However, when fortified with additional nutrients, almond milk could be a great substitute for dairy milk. Regardless of the nutritional content, vegans or people with different milk allergies can use it as a substitute for dairy milk.

Homemade Almond Milk vs Commercial Almond Milk

So, it boils down to a common question: homemade almond milk vs commercial almond milk, which is better? While there is no definite answer to this, we’ll try to examine them in terms of taste, shelf life, cost, etc.

  • Taste: When it comes down to taste, commercial almond milk wins. This is because it’s fortified with additives in considerable and rationed amounts. Every brand has its secret formula, which gives it its characteristic taste. On the contrary, the ingredients of homemade almond milk may not be rationed properly unless an expert prepares it. In summary, commercial almond milk has less room for errors than homemade milk.
  • Shelf Life: Commercial almond milk lasts longer than homemade ones due to pasteurization. This could take one to two months, provided the seal is not broken. However, homemade almond milk is usually prepared for instant consumption. This leaves room for bacteria or enzymes to act on it should they be stored for later use. Nonetheless, they may last between 7 to 10 days with refrigeration.
  • Cost: Homemade almond milk is cheaper than commercial ones. All things considered, homemade milk uses fewer materials or resources, while commercial almond milk considers the cost of production and distribution when finalizing the market cost. Research even shows that plant-based milk costs 87 percent more than dairy milk.

Common Uses and Benefits of Almond Milk

As a substitute for animal-based milk, almond milk can offer virtually anything dairy milk offers except making cheese or preparing certain desserts because it has low fat. Some common uses of almond milk include:

  • Food dressing (cereals, salad, sauces, etc.)
  • Tea making
  • Making smoothies
  • Ice cream production
  • Vegan milk diet

With that said, here are some health benefits of almond milk:

  • Health and Medicinal Benefits: Almond milk fortified with vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that removes unwanted compounds or ions from our body. Additionally, people with high blood sugar and cholesterol levels can depend on unsweetened almond milk for their daily diet. Also, almond milk fortified with Vitamin A boosts vision.
  • Supplementary Benefits: Almond milk can be an excellent source for supplementing body nutrients. For instance, natural almond milk contains calcium, potassium, and sodium, which are macro-elements for stronger bones and teeth formation, excellent blood performance, and body electrolytes.
  • Satisfying Benefits: Another great benefit of almond milk is the nourishing feeling it provides. As iterated in the guide, almond milk is an excellent milk diet alongside other foods or diets. You can confirm that chilled almond milk is satisfying and refreshing.
  • Community Benefits: The society comprises distinct communities, including the vegan community. Almond milk, being a plant-based diet, meets the demands of the vegan community.
  • Religious Benefits: From the Middle Ages until now, almond milk has been a primary source of the diet of some religious faiths, especially Catholicism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Conclusion

Almond milk is a great source of nourishment and nutritional supplements. You can produce it commercially using various modern machinery and processing techniques like sorting, soaking, grinding, homogenization, fortification, pasteurization, and packaging. On the other hand, you can prepare it at home using a blender and nut milk bag.

Whatever step you choose, hopefully, this guide has resolved your query about how milk is made from almonds. Meanwhile, should you need modern machinery with standardized almond milk processing capacity. Then consider SaintyTec to supply you with the perfect machinery. In that case, view our product catalog or request a quote for more information.

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