If you’re vegan or you just feel like trying a different type of milk that doesn’t contain dairy in it, you might be wondering if oat milk is worth buying.
While we always hear about nut milks, like almond milk, we don’t always hear about oat milk.
So, what is oat milk?
As its name suggests, oat milk contains oats that have been soaked in water before being strained.
You might wonder what it tastes like and if it’s good for you. We’ve got the lowdown so keep reading to find out everything you need to know about oat milk.
How is Oat Milk Made?
Oat milk contains steel-cut oats that have been soaked in water, before being blended and then strained with a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
Since oats absorb water, when they’re well blended more of them end up moving through the cheesecloth, and this gives oat milk a wonderful creamy texture.
Thanks to how oats can absorb water, this means that oat milk contains nutrients that are already present in oats, such as protein, fiber, and iron. By drinking oat milk, you’ll be able to get the same nutrients that are in oats.
What Does Oat Milk Taste Like?
While you might think oat milk will likely taste like oats, it actually tastes a lot like cow’s milk.
It does, however, have an oat-like aftertaste. The milk is thick, naturally sweeter than some other types of non-dairy milk, but it’s light.
This makes it ideal for putting in your morning tea and coffee, as well as in cereal, soups, curries, and even baked goods.
What Are Oat Milk Health Benefits?
- Oat milk basically contains water and oats, so it’s free of soy, lactose, nuts, and it’s vegan. Therefore, you can enjoy it if you’re vegetarian, vegan, have nut allergies, or are lactose intolerant.
- Oat milk is a great source of B vitamins. This type of milk is usually enhanced with B-vitamins like B12 and B2. B-vitamins have been linked to various health benefits, such as healthy skin and nails, and they also alleviate oxidative damage.
- Oat milk contains soluble fiber. The type of fiber in oat milk is beta glucan, which produces a substance in your gut that binds with cholesterol to prevent it from being absorbed, so oat milk can decrease your blood cholesterol levels.
- Oat milk contains Vitamin D and calcium, and these are healthy for your bones.
What Are The Downsides Of Consuming Oat Milk?
Oat milk, although healthy, has less protein than soy and dairy.
If you purchase sweetened or flavored oat milk, these products can contain added sugar. This is why it’s healthier to choose unsweetened oat milk.
Commercial oat milk isn’t gluten free, so if you’re gluten intolerant you won’t be able to consume it. Another thing to consider is that oat milk is more expensive than cow’s milk.
Can You Make Oat Milk At Home?
If you don’t want to consume store-bought oat milk, you can make your own at home. It will also be cheaper.
To do this, you’ll have to mix one part steel-cut oats with two parts water. Cover the mixture and let it soak overnight.
The next day, pulverize the mixture in a blender. You want it to be really smooth. Once you’ve achieved that texture, you should strain the mixture in a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth.
You can store your oat milk in the fridge, where it will last for up to five days.
Extra Tips for making oat milk
Prevent it from becoming slimy
One of the biggest problems you might encounter when making oat milk is that it can become slimy or gloopy. There are some important tips to prevent this from happening:
- Don’t soak your oats before making oat milk.
- Don’t blend the oat milk too much as that can cause it to become slimy.
- You should strain your oat milk twice as this eliminates extra starch in the oats.
- Make sure you use cold water and avoid squeezing the cheesecloth too much when you drain the mixture.
Choose the type of oats you want
To make oat milk, steel-cut oats are often recommended. They have more fiber than rolled oats and a lower glycemic index, so they are good for blood sugar. That said, rolled oats are an option to consider if you want a thicker, creamier milk.
Add flavor if you want
If you’re not a fan of the mild taste of oat milk, you can add flavor to it, such as in the form of a quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract, a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, or two teaspoons of honey.
How To Use Oat Milk
Once you’ve made oat milk at home, you can use it in a variety of ways.
You can pour it in coffee or tea for a nice change, use it in baking recipes instead of regular milk, blend it in a smoothie, or add it to a bowl of cereal.
When using oat milk, you should avoid heating it, so add it cold to your cereal and tea, otherwise you will end up with a congealed mess.
What Should You Do With Oat Pulp?
When making oat milk at home, you’ll end up with oat pulp leftover. Don’t throw it away!
You can blend this pulp and add it to sauces or soups when you need to thicken them up. This is a great way to make them creamier.
If you love eating porridge, you can also use the oat pulp to make porridge. Just add a few tablespoons of fresh oats, some milk, and toppings of your choice.
Is Store-Bought Oat Milk Healthier Than Cow’s Milk?
If you’d rather buy oat milk from the grocery store instead of making it at home, you might wonder how it compares to cow’s milk.
Experts have said that cow’s milk still contains more nutritional benefits than oat milk. This is because it’s an excellent source of calcium, Vitamin D, and protein.
Animal-based proteins, which include dairy, are complete proteins which means that they give you all the essential amino acids your body needs to be healthy.
That said, the health benefits in oat milk will vary according to different brands. Some oat milk on the shelves will contain fortified nutrients, but others will contain a large amount of sugars.
Tips For Buying Healthy Oat Milk
- Look for low amounts of sugar. It’s best to avoid sweetened oat milk products. This is healthier, it cuts down your calories, and it means that you can add the oat milk to your low-carb keto diet without a problem.
- Check its fortified ingredients. It’s a good idea to look for fortification, such as in the form of Vitamin D and calcium. This gives the oat milk an extra burst of nutrients.
- Avoid coffeehouse varieties. These oat milk products are marketed to be added to coffeehouse beverages like lattes, but they usually contain a range of other ingredients that make them unhealthy, such as safflower or sunflower oil. The problem with such oils is that they’re high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can increase inflammation in the body because you’re having too much of these fatty acids and not enough omega-3 acids to balance them out.
Why does your homemade oat milk separate?
This is a normal and common occurrence with dairy-free milk. You don’t have to worry – just make sure you shake your homemade oat milk well before drinking it.
Is homemade oat milk low in calories?
Half a cup of homemade oat milk contains about 47 calories. By comparison, half a cup of 2% fat cow’s milk contains 62 calories.
If you want to stop drinking animal-based dairy milk and are looking for a good alternative, you should try oat milk.
This is a tasty beverage that you’ll love and you can easily make your own oat milk at home if you’re worried about the added sugars you’ll find in commercial oat milks.
In this article, we’ve looked at what oat milk is, what it tastes like, and how to add it to your diet to reap its health benefits.