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I'm wondering if it's possible to make rice milk at home that's similar in texture/taste to Rice Dream rice milk. Most recipes online are really similar to each other, essentially being, blend some rice with some water, and (either after straining or not, and sweetening or not) enjoy. The two major differences seem to be with the rice being cooked before blending, or raw and soaked overnight before blending.

Having tried both now, here's what I feel:
- Cooked rice seems to leave the Rice Milk with a viscous/slimy texture
- Soaked raw rice seems to leave the Rice Milk with a chalky/powdery texture

Both of these, even after straining multiple times through a nut milk bag. The second option seems slightly better to me, just because the slimy texture makes me want to gag, but using cooked rice seems like the more popular option online, so maybe I'm missing something. I noticed none of the recipes call for salt or oil, both of which are listed ingredients in Rice Dream. I'm not sure if that would make a difference for the texture.

Does anyone out there have any experience making Rice Milk and know how to make a decent tasting (or at least, decent-textured) batch at home?

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What rice are you using? Raw starch is always chalky in texture. Cooked starch can be more or less slimy, depending on the long/short chain starch ratio. You want a non-glutinous rice to avoid slime. –  rumtscho May 31 at 23:25

2 Answers 2

Since I'm not sure how to re-post as my guest account, I just want to say that I tried a little variation after reading logophobe's answer stating that he thought an added oil would counteract the chalkiness. I toasted the rice grains (as the linked article stated) before soaking them, and then after blending, I strained the resulting milk once, and then threw the strained liquid back in the blender and added some canola oil, and the result was a MUCH better texture overall. I didn't have Xanthan or Guar gum on hand to try, so I'm still yet to see how the mixture will hold up in the fridge, and if stirring will be enough to keep it this texture. It definitely needed some sort of sweetener still though (in my opinion, but that's probably up to preference), but I feel like the oil, and possibly the toasting, really affected the texture in a positive way, to where it's a much more palatable base.

Thanks!

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Good to hear. The gum agents might be worth a try if you have problems with the oil and milk separating, but not necessary if you like the current texture. –  logophobe Jun 1 at 16:20

As you identify, the addition of oil will most certainly affect the final texture of the rice milk. Any fats have a "smoothing" effect on texture which would most likely counteract the chalky sensation you describe, and they add some extra viscosity as well. This is the reason that things like ice cream are so, well, creamy, why certain sauces can be finished (or "mounted") with butter to improve their texture, and so on.

I came across this article which experimented with a few different variables when making rice milk. (One interesting but semi-unrelated note is that toasting the rice before soaking may help add further flavor and reduce the "raw" character you describe.) However, this does note that rice milk made with oil has a tendency to separate, which could be a problem.

There might be additional ingredients you could add to further refine the texture and prevent the mixture from separating. Xanthan gum, for example, provides a slightly more viscous texture and is very effective at particle suspension, which would help keep the rice and fat emulsified. Guar gum may also have its advantages since you'll (presumably) be keeping your rice milk cold. These are the same sorts of stabilizers used in commercial ice creams to help keep a refined, smooth texture. I think adding a very small amount of these hypercolloids could be worth trying to further smooth out the texture of your rice milk while also preventing it from separating. Add carefully, though - too much and you'll wind up with rice gel. These ingredients are readily available here in the US at specialty-foods stores, co-ops, and health foods stores.

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