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I am a vegan and I make my own raw almond milk (blend soaked almonds, strain through a nut milk bag).

The trouble comes when I want to warm the milk for a warm drink or to put in my coffee - if it gets too hot the fat separates from the liquid part and it's really gross. It loses its flavour too.

Is there a natural, vegan emulsifier I can use that will stop this from happening?

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Your best bet for this is xanthan gum, which is an excellent stabiliser. Whilst the distinction between 'natural' and 'unnatural' is fraught with difficulties, insofar as xanthan gum is a product of microbial fermentation then it is no more 'unnatural' than alcohol or vinegar.

Be careful not to use too much though (unless, of course, you want your drink to have the texture of mucus), you really only want to use about 0.4% of the volume of the liquid you're trying to stabilise: so if you have 500ml of milk then you would use 2g of gum. Add it to your liquid and use a blender or an immersion stick to incorporate, a few pulses should do, any more than that and you'll just incorporate air and you could just end up with an annoyingly stable foam!

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    If you start with some of it frozen, and then whip it up, the foam ends up taking on a milkshake like quality, which you can then put in the freezer to make ice-cream without needing a special ice cream churner. – Joe Jul 8 '15 at 12:03
  • Nice. Great tip! – Stefano Jul 8 '15 at 12:04
  • @Stefano this solution worked perfectly! I could even use it in the milk frother and it came out beautifully. – walbuc Jul 17 '15 at 13:04
  • Great stuff, glad to be of help! – Stefano Jul 17 '15 at 14:02
  • @Stefano Hi, I followed your instructions (which were great as far as preventing separation from occurring) but with oat milk; however, after refrigerating overnight the oat milk had taken on an almost congee-like consistency. I also had added some rapeseed oil (I'm trying to replicate the Oatly Barista milk and they use rapeseed oil). Do you think the latter could've contributed to this, or could it be too much xanthan gum? – Evan R Sep 10 at 12:57
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You can add things like lecithin or flax seeds to help keep your milk emulsified, but it will still probably separate in hot liquid. To prevent that, you might try to add something fattier to your milk, like coconut.

  • You would need to grind the flax seeds to get any reasonable release of lecithin, the taste in a hot drink :-/ – TFD Jul 7 '15 at 8:20
  • The flax seeds would be emulsifying via their mucilage, a hydrocolloid. Thorough blending is inherent in making nut milk, so it wouldn't be any extra work, they'd just get blended with the almonds. – SourDoh Jul 7 '15 at 22:48
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You can purchase soy lecithin from good cooking suppliers or online, about 0.5% lecithin by volume of fat will emulsify it well. Many soy lecithins are not GMO free

I have not tried soy lecithin with almond milk, but it works for soy milk

For an alternative, try sunflower lecithin, usually available in health food/supplement shops. It is more likely to be GMO free, works as well, and tastes more interesting

As SourDoh, there may not actually be enough fat in almond milk for the emulsifier to hold

  • How is the breeding technique (genetic engineering) relevant? – Wavy Crab May 14 '16 at 2:01

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