April 4, 2018

Using a nondairy milk in your culinary creations can make your products available to a wider audience while introducing unique flavor combinations to your recipes. Culinary students can experiment with different alternative milk varieties to find the best combinations for their menus.

The nondairy milk trend has brought soy, almond, coconut and hemp milks to the table. One of the coolest creations in the food industry now is oat milk. Its creamy texture and unique flavor make it a great addition to baked goods, hot beverages and more.

How to make oat milk

The process to make oat milk is pretty straight-forward: combine oats and water, blend, then strain.

The type of oats you choose affects the consistency. Minimalist Baker recommends using one part rolled oats and four parts water with a dash of salt. Bon Appetit suggests using one part steel cut oats or whole groats and two parts water, then soaking them overnight before blending. Steel cut oats will provide a thicker texture than rolled oats.

A woman pours oat milk over a bowl of strawberries.Oat milk can be used in the same ways regular milk is used.

Oat milk has a sweet, grassy flavor, akin to your morning bowl of porridge. It tastes delicious as is, but there’s nothing wrong with livening up your oat milk with some sweeteners or flavor enhancers. Try maple syrup or pitted dates to add sweetness. Or, blend in some cocoa powder, vanilla extract or berries to change the flavor of your oat milk.

If you want to use all parts of the oats, take the matter you strained from your final product and mix it into cake batters or add it to your bowl of oatmeal in the morning.

Using oat milk in lattes and other beverages

Steamed oat milk seasoned with a dash of cinnamon tastes delicious on its own, but this alt milk can add new depth to your lattes and other hot drinks. In fact, its fat content, which isn’t as high as a whole milk but is greater than that of an almond or soy milk, gives it a smooth texture that holds up when mixed with your customers’ favorite beverages, Imbibe Magazine explained.

“What we’re looking for in an alternative milk is something that will still carry a creaminess, richness and depth of flavor without adding new undesirable flavors,” Intelligentsia CEO James McLaughlin told Imbibe. “[Oat milk] is like a blank canvas. It lets the coffee or tea shine through, carries it with a creamy body, but isn’t overly oaty.”

McLaughlin said he and his team taste-tested oat milk with a wide range of beverages, including coffee, lattes, mochas, chai and matcha. Each time, they found oat milk worked well for texture, look and flavor.

Many latte lovers aren’t just looking for a delicious drink but also an Instagram-worthy creation in a cup. On this front, oat milk delivers; baristas find they can sculpt latte art with oat milk just as they would with almond or cow’s milk.

In addition to warm beverages, oat milk can be blended into smoothies or shakes. Oat milk can also be incorporated into yogurts, ice creams and spreads, Imbibe pointed out.

Using oat milk in baked goods

You can use oat milk in just about any recipe that calls for regular milk. One home chef writing for Bite, a New Zealand food magazine, noted that replacing oat milk for regular milk resulted in light pancakes with slightly crispy edges. The writer’s daughter couldn’t tell the difference between the oat milk variety and the regular milk recipe.

To make the pancakes, sift together flour and sugar. Add a whole egg and one egg yolk. Mix in oat milk and melted butter. Add salt, then let sit for a half hour. Fry on a greased frying pan and serve with berries, marmalade and syrup.