For vegetarians, vegans, and even omnivores who are intolerant to animal milks such as goat and cow, plant-based milks (also refered to as "mylks") are a daily food-staple. Unfortunately, these products are often more expensive than conventional cow's milk.These pre-made products (such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc.) are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, which is why we choose to purchase them over making our own.
Here's my secret if you haven't guessed it by now; you can easily and cheap fortify your own plant-milks at home with a few simple ingredients. As a dietetics (nutrition) student in college, I would first like to explain which plant-milk I recommend and how to make a gallon of mylk in one batch. Here's a short and simple guide for consumers looking for help!
Which plant-milk do I recommend?
If I had to choose one of the plant-milks to recommend over animal milks, it would definitely and undoubtedly be soy milk. Soy milk you say?! But I've read all these scary things about soy on the internet! To be honest, I'm sick and tired of internet quacks fear mongering to increase reputation and even product sales. Many of these quacks claim soy milk contains plant-estrogens that cause cancer, thyroid disease, and the feminization of men.
And yet many of these quacks promote the consumption of animal milks, particularly raw milk, which is a great way of getting a potentially deadly food-borne illness. It seems these charlatans forget the simple fact that animal milks contain actual estrogen, which is many times more potent than phytoestrogens found in plant-products such as soy. Animal milk products contain more harmful fats (saturated) than healthful fats (PUFAs). (And yes, most saturated fat is bad for you. MCTs might have some health benefits but aren't well studied)
Soy milk is the only plant-milk that has a protein content comparable to animal milks. Both contain complete proteins at around 8 grams in a single-cup serving. Soy milk and cow milk are quite similar in most nutrients, except soy milk contains significantly more omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) and antioxidants. In fact, those phytoestrogens quacks like to demonize so much have been found useful in the prevention of some cancers and heart disease.
Unfortunately, soy milk is lacking a significant amount of calcium in comparison to cow milk, which is the nutrient most people seem to associate with milk. Soy milk is also lacking Vitamin D3 and Vitamin B12, which are naturally found in cow milk, but are also often fortified in dairy products to boost nutritional values and increase sales. Fortunately for you, I will teach you how to make and fortify soy milk at home for a better and cheaper product than what you can find pre-made in most supermarkets.
Making Soy Milk (1 Gallon) Recipe
Finding good-quality beans makes a good-quality product. Many soy beans have a strong, beany-taste that's hard to cook out. The best tasting variety of soy bean I've come across is the Laura bean variety. You can purchase them at laurasoybeans.com.
- Spread out 4 customary cups of DRY (starting with dry beans will drastically reduce beany-taste) soy beans into a large steamer that's already reached a rolling-boil and maximum steam production. Be careful not burn yourself. Keep children clear of steam.
- Steam the soy beans for 10 minutes (on high) and then blend 2 cups of beans with 8 cups of water and strain through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth until all beans are blended and strained. If you don't strain before cooking the soy milk, the milk will burn and ruin the entire batch.
- Pour your raw soy milk into a large pot (the larger the better because soy milk tends to foam up and overflow). Bring the soy milk to a simmer and cook for an additional 20 minutes without a lid. You may want to add an additional 4 cups of water at the beginning to compensate for water loss through evaporation.
- Once the soy milk has finished cooking, add 1 teaspoon of iodized salt, 1 tablespoon of genuine vanilla extract (you can easily make your own for much cheaper than store-bought varieties), and sweetener of choice to taste. I recommend 1 cup of erythritol and 1/2 cup of sucanat sugar or coconut sugar. You may also blend in 1 teapsoon of xanthan gum to help thicken and keep the soy milk from separating.
How to Fortify Soy Milk Or Other Milks
To fortify your milk, add the following (of the products featured) amounts:
- 27 grams of Calci-K® powder added to a gallon will yield around 300mg of calcium per 8 oz (1 cup) serving. A 12oz bag of Calci-K® powder will last for around 12.5 gallons of milk at 27 grams of powder per gallon of milk. If you would like to reduce the calcium content of the milk, I would recommend simply adding 13.5 grams instead, which will yield 150mg of calcium per cup. A bag of 12oz will then last for around 25 gallons of milk.
- Adding 4ml of liquid vitamin D3 to 1 gallon of milk will yield 500IU per 8oz serving (1 cup). If you would like to reduce the amount of vitamin D3, I would recommend simply only adding 2ml, which will yield around 250IU of vitamin D3 per cup. At 4ml per gallon, a bottle of vitamin D3 will last around 7.5 gallons of milk. WARNING: Adding too much Vitamin D3 or any fat-soluble vitamin can be toxic, especially to children.
- Adding 60 drops of liquid vitamin B12 will yield around 375mcg per 8oz (1 cup) serving. If you would like to reduce the amount of vitamin B12, I would suggest simply only adding 30 drops, which will yield 187.5mcg of vitamin B12. At 60 drops per gallon of milk, a 1oz bottle will last for 30 gallons. At 30 drops it will last for 60 gallons. Vitamin B12 is water-soluble.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Carlyjj on January 12, 2020:
@meganrh That is false. Vegan d3 exists and is derived from lichen. You can look up vegan d3 supplements. Now whether they come in a liquid d3 form at this time I'm not certain, but vegan d3 exists.
Jafar Sadeq on April 25, 2019:
Very useful information for dairy intolerant people. Thanks!
MeganRH on March 05, 2018:
Hey I just want to let you know that Vitamin D3 is not vegan. It's made from fish oil or lanolin, which comes from wool. If it's from lanolin vegetarians can use it, but vegans should use D2 supplements.
Otherwise I really like your article and I'm gonna use it to make my own fortified soymilk!
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 19, 2016:
Excellent information that anyone can use practically and especially beneficial for those who are intolerant of dairy milk.