In the first place, what is oat milk? It’s the creamy, delicious and nutritious liquid made by blending and extracting pure, whole oats with fresh water. It can be flavoured in a variety of ways and is commonly used by people who follow vegan diets or have food allergies or intolerance as a dairy replacement. Oat milk is very versatile and can be a simple and tasty milk in your morning tea or coffee, or it can be baked and cooked with, adding a rich, creamy and hearty flavour to food and drink alike. It’s now common to see oat milk as a standard dairy alternative at cafes and shops, and today we’re going to find out just how many of the benefits of oats are present in the milk.
Of course, it’s not really a ‘milk’, not in the sense that it was milked from an animal. Oat milk is made by processing – aka blending at very high speeds – rolled oats with water. That’s the very simplest recipe, but many people add different things, such as a hint of vanilla, a pinch of salt, a spoonful of syrup. Why rolled oats? Quick oats are the most processed form of oats and tend to yield a slimier milk, while steel cut oats are not processed enough, and are more difficult to get a rich milk from. Rolled oats are perfect – not so processed as to go slimy, but processed enough as to yield a rich, creamy milk.
The best oat milk is homemade. Fresh and delicious, you have the luxury of knowing that it’s completely free of additives. Many commercially grown oats, while being naturally gluten-free, are often processed on equipment that was similarly used for wheat, barley or rye. This means that it’s very difficult for coeliacs and people with gluten or wheat sensitives to tell if a store-bought oat milk will be safe for their consumption. Therefore, choosing an organic, certified gluten-free oat is essential.
So what health benefits does oat milk bring to the table? The nutritional stats of oat milk are as follows: 130 calories, 2.5g total fat, 0g saturated fats, 2 grams fibre, 4 grams protein, 25% DV for calcium, and 20% DV for vitamin D. Sounds pretty good, yeah? Let’s compare with the traditional choice of cow’s milk: 161 calories, 8g fat, 0g fibre, 7.7g protein, 25% DV for vitamin D, and 30% DV for calcium. Out of most vegan milk substitutes, oat milk contains one of the highest amounts of fibre, making it a nutritious diary alternative. It also contains a higher percentage of carbs, which is to be expected when dealing with a milk made from a grain.
In order to bring the best oat milk to your table, we recommend making it yourself – you know precisely what kind of oats you’re using, if you have sensitives to be aware of, and homemade oat milk is free of the preservatives store-bought oat milk manufacturers are obliged to use in order to keep their products shelf-stable. Amongst preservatives, manufacturers also alter in their production methods by superheating the oat milk, which can destroy the naturally occurring vitamins. These minerals are frequently added back in again, along with things such as xanthan gum to provide a good froth for baristas. If these are things you’d like to avoid, check out our easy step by step process to make your own delicious oat milk that will keep for a week here, using our oat milk kit which has everything you need to get you started.