Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recipe: Make Your Own Rice Milk

Perhaps you heard in today's news that trace amounts of radiation have been found in milk samples taken in Washington and California.  The FDA reports these amounts are minuscule and harmless compared to what we are normally exposed to daily.  Gee, that sounds reassuring.  I opt for no radiation please.

I actually switched to milk alternatives a few years ago due to a dairy sensitivity.  I started with soy milk, moved onto almond milk (until a nut allergy stopped that), loved coconut milk (but not the 5 grams of saturated fat per cup) and have lastly landed on rice milk.

Yes, most stores now carry rice milk as a staple, but I wanted to try making it for myself (it's super easy).  So, I started my adventure in milk making, here are my results:

Attempt How Results
Batch 1 Cooked instant brown rice Skim milk consistency, light beige color, slightly sweet taste
Batch 2 Cooked long grain white rice Super thick cream consistency, pristine white, no taste
Batch 3 Soaked long grain white rice Gritty consistency, pristine white, no taste
Batch 4 Soaked instant brown rice Skim milk consistency, light beige color, slightly sweet taste
Batch 5 Soaked long grain brown rice Gritty consistency, light beige color, no taste

My fifth batch will be made with long grain brown rice soaked overnight and I will post the results later.  But for those of you who can't wait to get started, here's the recipe that has worked the best so far:

Homemade Rice Milk
Yields: 6 cups of milk

Preparing the Rice:

Option 1: Soak 1 cup of rice over night in about 5 cups of water (enough to cover once rice puffs), rinse rice
Option 2: Cook 1 cup of rice per instructions (I use a rice cooker)

  • 2 cups rice (1 cup dried rice, soaked or cooked = 2 cups)
  • 5 cups water
  • Sweetener to taste (I use 2 packets of Stevia)
  • Optional 1 teaspoon vanilla (great for cereal, not so great for cooking)
    1.  Place all ingredients into blender (I use a Vitamix)
    2. Start low, then up to high quickly
    3. Blend for 2-3 minutes
    4. Store in refrigerator
    5. Shake before using
    Milk will be warm so don't plan on immediate consumption (unless for hot cocoa).

    With a Vitamix there is no need to strain the milk, I do not know what the results are with a regular blender, you may want to strain through a wire sieve the first time, just in case.

    I like to store my rice milk in glass canning  jars.

    Milk will separate, don't worry a quick shake fixes that.

    Happy Milking! (that doesn't sound right)
    The Hoff

    Update 4.3.2011:

    Batch number five has been made and tasted and well it's gritty - long grain rice simply will not puff up from soaking.

    The bottom line, if you want to save effort by not cooking the rice, you'll need to use instant rice. For you ambitious folks go for the organic long grain brown rice and get the ultimate in satisfaction.

    Break it Down:

    A 14oz box of Minute Brown Rice costs around $2.39, you can get 4 cups of rice from each box. That means that a potential weeks worth of milk (6 cups) will cost you $.60.  Lets say that a 1/2 gallon (8 cups) of store brand milk costs $1.99 - that's a savings of $1.39 and over a course of a year that's a savings of $72.

    Ok, not a huge savings, but the satisfaction of making your own milk is priceless!

    Update 4.24.2011:

    I had a breakthrough this morning.  I noticed that my store bought rice milk, that I had on hand (just in case) had expired and I did not panic!  In fact, it hadn't even occurred to me to buy any type of milk during this weeks food hunt.  And at that moment, it hit me; I had successfully made the transition to homemade rice milk - a proud moment indeed.  I take comfort in knowing that I shall never again make an emergency run to the store for milk, for I can at any given time whip up my own milk!  I just need to keep the pantry stocked with rice...


    1. I have one of those multi-cookers bought from HSN and have been experimenting with various ways to make rice milk. The best so far is to use 1 cup rice with 2 1/2 cups water and use the machine to cook white rice - but I delay the start of the cooking for at least 4 hours (the machine has a delay feature). After cooking the rice, I add 2 quarts of water, mix well and then cook on warm for 3 or more hours - you may want to give it a stir now and again. Finally, I put the stirred cooked slurry in a blender and blend with more water - half slurry and half water. Blend well and strain through a fine mesh strainer - it makes a little over a gallon. And you can add salt, sugar and vanilla to taste.


    2. Way more involved than it needs to be. First, though, buy a coffee bean grinder (around $10 for a perfectly satisfactory one). For three cups of rice milk, grind two tablespoons of sweet brown (or other brown) rice to a fine dust, which only takes a few minutes, at most. While you're doing that, have two cups of water on the stovetop between Lo and Medium low, to get it lukewarm to start with. Gradually stir in the ground rice dust a little at a time, and turn the heat up to Medium low, and continue stirring slowly (to keep the rice dust from clumping up) for 5-6 minutes. Remove from that burner and add four level teaspoons of turbinado sugar or whatever sweetener you prefer, stir that in, and let sit. At that point, or later, it really doesn't matter, I either add another cup of water or a cup of plain regular tea, but you could just as easily add a cup of any flavored tea or beverage that you prefer (citrus fruit may not work too well, though), or more water and some ground chocolate or vanilla extract. You can filter the "milk" if you want to, but it is all perfectly drinkable, and I don't filter mine. Refrigerate. Assuming you already have a coffee grinder, the elapsed time from the first step to the start of cool-down should be somewhere around 15 minutes, less if you already have some rice milled.