San Francisco’s Four Barrel Coffee ruffled some feathers when it announced that almond milk would replace soy as its dairy alternative. “I felt like soy had become the industry standard,” says Four Barrel founder Jeremy Tooker, “but I was never very fond of the flavor and wanted to find something that would complement the coffee, taste good on its own and steam well.” Tooker found his answer in almonds. So too did the team behind Los Angeles’ Sqirl preserves company and café, who took their own almond adoration to the kitchen and formulated a creamy, housemade milk. “Homemade almond milk really can’t be beat,” says Sqirl founder Jessica Koslow. “Whether you’re steaming it for a cappuccino or pouring it over granola, dairy drinkers and non-dairy drinkers alike can’t seem to get enough.”
1 cup blanched almonds (whole, sliced or slivered)
3 1/4 cups water
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
Large measuring glass
Cheesecloth or muslin (Koslow suggests using a muslin turkey stuffing bag or nut-milk bag, both available on Amazon.com)
Quart-sized glass jars
Note: Koslow says blanched almonds are a must for optimal texture and flavor. Also, homemade almond milk will naturally separate—just shake it to reincorporate before each use.
Bring water to a boil. In a blender pitcher (make sure if it’s glass, it’s tempered), carefully cover the almonds with boiling water and let steep for 2 hours.
Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture completely liquifies.
Add the sugar and salt and briefly blend again to incorporate.
Fine-strain through mesh and multiple layers of cheesecloth or muslin into a large measuring glass, pushing all the liquid through with a spoon. Repeat as needed until all solids have strained out.
Funnel into a glass jar, cover and keep refrigerated. Drink within 2 days.
TIP: Koslow says you can dehydrate the almond solids to use in a sugar crumb mixture for coffee cake. “It adds a great textural element,” she says.