Almond Milk & Loaf … waste not, want not

Almondfest 2012 is still going strong here in the Land of CCM 🙂

Remember I mentioned making my own almond milk?  Oh mamma, how good is homemade almond milk, chilled, on a hot summer’s day?  There are no words sufficient to describe its fabulousness.   Even better than having a fresh bottle of delicious almond milk is knowing you can bake something awesome with the leftover almond meal.  All of this and you have the added benefit of knowing precisely what’s in your almond milk, it is fresh, and you haven’t wasted food or precious dinero (aka money).

Waste not.  Want not.

Everybody wins.  Your body.  The planet.  Small furry creatures.  Somewhere.  I’m sure of it.

Now, there are lots of recipes around for almond milk (google it, seriously) so I’m not focussed on that here but I’ve provided a basic foolproof recipe at the bottom.  The focus here is what to do with all that almond meal after I’ve squeezed the bejeezus out of it when making the milk?

The short answer is:  ANYTHING YOU LIKE … just use it as you would almond meal.  The only difference is that the texture will be a little different because, squeeze as you might, some moisture will remain in the almond meal from all that soaking in water.  This is not a bad thing.

I like to keep it simple, especially as I’ve just made a mess from all the almond milk production, and I like to keep it healthy 🙂  My favourite thing to make is a quick and easy almond loaf.  It takes only a few minutes to put together, it’s very healthy, and importantly, it’s totally delicious.

The texture of the batter is mousse-like because of the moisture in the almonds.  This results in a loaf that is so soft it practically falls apart.  You need a fork to eat it.  It’s soft, light and has a slight caramel flavour as it’s sweetened with dates.  No flour, no added sugars, gluten and dairy free.  OK, it’s also kinda paleo 🙂

If you are following a low FODMAP diet and are very sensitive, you can substitute two to three tablespoons of maple syrup for the dates in this recipe.

Eat it on its own, topped with homemade nutella, more almond butter, your favourite jam, or ricotta and fresh fruit.  I love it with berries and yoghurt, especially raspberries, but it also matches beautifully with stone fruit, figs or citrus.  It would even be lovely with a sharp cheese as part of a cheese board … I mean, there are nuts, dates … just add cheese 😀

One serve provides good quality protein, is low in carbs and saturated fats, and provides a decent contribution to your daily fibre intact.

All this from leftover almond meal … that’s a pretty good deal.

Makes 1 standard sized loaf (23cm x 10cm loaf tin) that serves 12

Ingredients
450 grams almond meal, leftover from making almond milk*
5 medjool dates
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or extract
1 teaspoon natural almond extract (optional)
3 teaspoons baking powder
200 grams almond milk, preferably homemade
sweetener (optional)

*This quantity is based on starting with 375 grams of almonds.  If not making almond milk, soak 375 grams of unblanched almonds for 8 – 12 hours in fresh water, covered.  The almonds will swell.  Drain well, and process in a food processor until a semi-fine meal.

Note:  This loaf is lovely if you add the finely grated zest of a lemon, lime, or orange.  Alternatively, replace the almond extract with a few teaspoons orange flower water or rose-water, or cinnamon, or a mixture of all three.  They really go really well with the almonds for a middle-eastern flavour combo.

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Grease a loaf tin lightly with olive oil spray or line the tin with silicone paper.  I’d recommend lining the tin with baking paper that hangs over the sides a little as this will help you carefully remove the loaf from the tin.

Place the dates in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.  Add all the ingredients and process until you get a lovely mousse-like batter.  The sweetener is optional.  I don’t believe it’s required as the dates give the loaf a lovely natural sweetness already but it’s up to you.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 – 60 minutes until the loaf has risen, is golden and cooked through.  It will still be extremely soft but a skewer should come out clean when inserted into the centre (with only crumbs attached).  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin.

When cool, remove carefully from the tin and place on to a serving dish.

Store the loaf, covered, in the refrigerator.

My aunt popped around the other day with some amazing baby purple figs from her tree.  OH MY.  This was dessert tonight for me … a slice of the almond loaf, some fresh ricotta and sliced figs.  Sublime.

Almond Milk
To make one litre of fresh almond milk, you will need

250 grams raw almonds
1 litre filtered or spring water

Place the almonds in a container and cover with fresh water.  Make sure the almonds are totally covered by the water as they will swell as they soak.  Cover and allow to soak for 8 – 12 hours or overnight.  Drain the almonds and place in a blender with the filtered (or spring) water and blend until the almonds are finely ground.  Pulse a few more times, then allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Use a large piece of fine muslin or extra fine linen/cotton to line a fine sieve.  Place over a bowl and pour in the almond mixture.  Make sure to extract as much of the liquid as possible into the bowl.  When only the almond meal remains, wrap up the muslin and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible.

At this point you can sweeten the almond milk or add a dash of vanilla or cacao or cinnamon to flavour it.  I prefer to keep it plain so I can flavour it, as needed, if required.  Pour the almond milk into a glass bottle, seal, and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.

NB:  Buy good quality fresh raw almonds to make sure your almond milk has a fresh, clean almond flavour, with no bitterness.

Macronutrient Profile (Almond Loaf)
Macros are provided for the loaf only (sans toppings etc).  For the almond milk, I have used average values for unsweetened almond milk.  The macros depend on the ratio of almonds to water but the variations won’t be too significant.

If you add any sweeteners to the loaf or vary it, this will impact the macros, of course.

Per serve macros are based on 12 serves per loaf.

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37 Comments

Filed under All Recipe Posts, Breads & Quickbreads, Breakfast, Cakes, Nuts, Protein, Special Diet

37 responses to “Almond Milk & Loaf … waste not, want not

  1. That look REALLY yummy. What delicious ingredients.

  2. Lil Rinaldi

    Can’t wait to make this recipe! love almond milk(homemade). Just had a question on the measurement of the almond milk(in the bread recipe). Is it 200 grams or ml? I googled it and came up with answers like: it depends on what you are measuring, etc. and if it’s a liquid it would depend on the ” specific gravity” of that liquid. Am I getting too picky here, should I just measure a cup and not worry about it? Sorry, but I am a perfectionist(most of the time). Well, especially when it comes to baking! Thank-you! Love reading your posts!

    • Thank you, that’s so kind of you. I’m glad you like reading them too!
      For the almond milk in the recipe, it’s 200g (I mostly weigh everything for baking). But you can take that as roughly 200ml. I’m a physicist so take my word for it that the specific gravity of almond milk won’t be too far off that of water, being mostly water anyway!!
      It’s a little less than a cup so measure out 200ml. It will be fine … but hey, I’m a perfectionist too 🙂

  3. I have yet to make my own almond milk, but will be trying it out soon! I love that there is no wastage with your loaf recipe…so clever 🙂

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  5. it really sounds healthy, the only bad thing is that my mom is allergic to almods, that’s why I haven’t tried this milk but it still looks delicious

    • If you mom is not allergic to other tree nuts, it would be fantastic with cashew or hazelnuts as well. Cashew and hazelnut milks are beautiful and the loaf would be lovely too.
      I have often considered making sunflower seed milk … it might work quite well and I think the loaf might be interesting too.

  6. Oooh, I love date bread, and what a wonderful idea to make almond bread 🙂 Great recipe, and wonderful way to use up leftovers.

  7. Hey there saw this on the Top 9, Congrats to you. This is a really cool way to use the pulp, looks delicious. Thanks for the almond milk recipe too, I am going to try making it, I love almonds and almond milk.

  8. The almond bread with the figs looks so delicious. Yummy recipe:) Congratulations on Foodbuzz Top 9.

  9. Wow you made your own almond milk that’s fantastic 😀 I never thought it was possible ~ and you get left over almond meal that’s even better! Thanks for sharing and being top 9 of Foodbuzz!

  10. Thanks everyone! Don’t you love it when healthy recipes make on to the Top 9? It’s so cool 🙂

  11. Wow! It sounds incredibly delicious.

  12. I looooove posts like this that use ALL of the food. No tossing out the random scraps, that makes me happy! Mmmmm, looks delicious!

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  14. Jane

    Hi there,

    Thank you so much for this recipe – it is just what I was looking for. I’ve been making my own almond milk for the past month, and there is no turning back to the store-bought variety! It is so delicious and decadent….and healthy (the last part seems almost too good to be true). Anyway, I have been making raw brownies with the leftover almond meal, but a girl can only eat so much chocolate.

    I just wanted to know; how ‘dry’ would you say your almond meal is, when used in this bread? There is certainly a bit of variation in how much liquid is left in the meal after I strain it; should I be aiming for less liquid?

    Thanks for your help 🙂

    • Hi Jane,

      that’s fantastic…yeah, I bought some this week as I didn’t have time to make it and store bought is just not as good!!!
      ok here goes!

      1. “a girl can only eat so much chocolate .. ” WHATCHOO TALKIN’ ‘BOUT???!!!! You’re just not trying hard enough! LOL

      2. the moisture content of the almond meal varies depending on how much and hard you squeeze the moisture out of it, although there is probably some variation between batches of nuts too I’m guessing, at least from the soaking and how much they’ve absorbed. I make sure I really squeeze the bejeezus out of my almonds to get all the almondy goodness into the milk. Despite that, it seems dry but in actual fact, if you weigh the almond meal, it’s carrying a lot of moisture. An example: I start with 250g dry almonds before soaking. After making the almond milk and squeezing the almond meal dry, it typically weighs around 350 – 375g or so. So it may seem dry but still another 100g or so of water content in there. This can vary. It pays to weigh the almond meal afterwards. Let that be your guide. The almond loaf is very moist. Remember that the moisture also comes from the natural oils in the almonds. The fat content doesn’t really transfer to the milk, it stays in the meal. If your batch of almond meal isn’t enough for the recipe, just add extra fresh almond meal.

      I hope that helps???
      PS Keep perservering with the chocolate 😀

      • Jane

        Thank you so much for all of this information! This definitely helps; I think the varying moisture content in my almond meal might be proportional to my novice almond milk making skills 🙂 With that said, I’m pretty sure your instructions will make things more consistent.

        I’m making another batch tonight, so will let you know how the bread goes. I’m going to try the rose water/cardamom combination – sounds so delicious.

        As for the chocolate….I’m one of those rare people that can only have ‘so’ much chocolate. My mother claims I might be suffering from a rare genetic disorder! I will keep up the effort, though 🙂

        Thank you again!

      • Haha, well, while I’m devoted to chocolate in a way that tends to freak people out “It’s UN-NATURAL!!”, I probably eat less of it than most people LOL If you have good chocolate, a little goes a long way.

        For the almond milk, I usually really squeeze the muslin to extract as much liquid as possible. I find that weighing the almonds afterwards gives me a good indication of consistency.
        Rose and cardamom…hmmmm. Go easy on the flavourings though as rosewater and spices can be quite overpowering in almond milk as it’s quite a delicately flavoured milk. Use 1/4 teaspoon at a time and check it.
        Good luck!!! Good for you, with all the homemade stuff… I’ve been too busy to do anything this week but getting back to it this weekend 🙂

  15. oh wow! This sounds amazingly good! I think the mr would love this! and how good are figs? hehe (: Love how you made your own almond milk as well! Thanks for sharing the recipe babe!

  16. Pam

    I tried this and after an hour and 10 mins in the oven it was still too moist. Just barely holds together when sliced and has a very wet sponge like texture. Tastes nice though, lol. Should I try just adding less almond milk next time or add some other flour?

    • I’m not sure what happened there but did you weigh the almond meal that you used before mixing? You may have needed more almond meal to make up the 375g in the recipe? It does sound as though you had way too much liquid in the batter. Remember that you should squeeze the maximum out of the almond meal when making the milk.
      Ultimately, you should be able to tell by the batter. If it’s too liquid, you’ve added too much milk or not enough almond meal.
      Not sure if that helps …

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  18. Vicki

    HI, will this work replacing the eggs with cornflour and water mixture?

  19. Bert

    Wow thx for wonderful recipe. I am a caregiver for my wife who is bed ridden and for the most part inmobile. She has allergies to all kinds of things, especially processed foods After years of non dairy, pkg’d rice milk, almond milk, etc. mainly due to the carragneenan as a thickener in these products, we have given up on these products. I use a bullet proccesor for grinding and cheese cloth to strain to make my almond milk fresh to pour over buckwheat cereal breakfast. Your recipe caught my eye, because I was searching for ways to use all the meal I was accumulating in my freezer. One can only make so many cookies. I will give this a shot.
    Again thank U so much..
    P.S. Living in Canada we do not access to fresh dates. They sure look good.

    • Hey Bert
      I’m so glad this recipe caught your eye!
      Make sure you squeeze out the moisture from the leftover meal
      It can help to dry it out a bit in a very low oven but keep an eye on it.
      Wishing you and your wife all the best
      Allergies can be so limiting but it’s good that there are options and solutions! Makes us creative 🙂

      • Bert

        Thx for replying and well wishes.
        Creativety for sure is the key. And this of course means being creative with questioning. Soooo, I do have a follow up question… Why is it that important to squeeze out the moisture? I do squeeze out some of the moisture by twisting the cheese cloth. I have a dehydrator that could serve the purpose instead of the oven. Should the meal be dry like flour? i.e.,What is your description of the meal when ready to be used in say your above great looking recipe.
        Bert

      • Hi, I’ll be honest with you. I personally don’t dehydrate the almond meal after squeezing out the moisture. However, I’ve had a few comments back from people who have perhaps not squeezed out the moisture properly and ended up with too much in the loaf so it didn’t bake properly. I suspect you are like me and really squeeze out every bit of almond milk goodness. If so, there is no need to dehydrate it afterwards.
        I only suggested it as a precaution.
        If the almond meal is too watery, you will have to reduce some of the liquid in the recipe, or the batter will be runny and the loaf may not bake properly.
        If drying it out, you don’t need to dessicate it. Almond flour is relatively moist in texture due to the oils it contains. You want it soft, just not gluggy, if that makes sense.

        I hope that helps! I suspect you are already doing it right, Bert. Those of us making almond milk at home generally don’t waste a drop and squeeze out every bit of goodness, right?

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