Plant-based milks are non-dairy alternatives to traditional animal milk, and they are made from various plant sources. The production process for plant-based milks can vary depending on the type of plant used. Here’s a general overview of how plant-based milks are produced and some common types:

  1. Almond Milk:
    • Soaking: Almonds are soaked in water for several hours or overnight.
    • Blending: The soaked almonds are blended with water to create a smooth mixture.
    • Straining: The mixture is strained to separate the liquid (almond milk) from the solid almond pulp.
  2. Soy Milk:
    • Soaking and Cooking: Soybeans are soaked, boiled, and then cooked.
    • Blending: The cooked soybeans are blended with water.
    • Straining: The mixture is strained to extract the soy milk, leaving behind the soybean pulp.
  3. Oat Milk:
    • Milling: Oats are milled into a fine powder.
    • Mixing and Straining: The oat powder is mixed with water and then strained to separate the liquid from the oat pulp.
  4. Rice Milk:
    • Cooking: Rice is cooked, and enzymes are added to break down the starches.
    • Blending: The cooked rice is blended with water.
    • Straining: The mixture is strained to remove solid particles, yielding rice milk.
  5. Coconut Milk:
    • Extracting Coconut Flesh: The white flesh of the coconut is grated or shredded.
    • Pressing: The coconut flesh is pressed to extract coconut cream.
    • Diluting: The coconut cream is diluted with water to achieve the desired consistency.
  6. Cashew Milk:
    • Soaking: Cashews are soaked in water.
    • Blending: The soaked cashews are blended with water.
    • Straining: The mixture is strained to remove any remaining solid particles.
  7. Hemp Milk:
    • Mixing: Hemp seeds are mixed with water.
    • Straining: The mixture is strained to separate the liquid from the hemp seed residue.
  8. Pea Milk:
    • Processing Pea Protein: Yellow peas are processed to extract pea protein.
    • Mixing: The pea protein is mixed with water and other ingredients.
    • Straining: The mixture may be strained to achieve a smoother texture.

These plant-based milks can be fortified with vitamins and minerals to enhance their nutritional content, making them viable alternatives to dairy milk for individuals who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, or following a vegan diet. The choice of plant-based milk often depends on personal taste preferences, nutritional considerations, and dietary restrictions.

When Is Oil Added?

The addition of oil in the production of plant-based milks depends on the type of milk being made. Not all plant-based milks require the addition of oil. Here are some examples:

  1. Almond Milk: Oil is generally not added during the basic homemade almond milk production process. Some commercial almond milks, however, may include added oil for texture and mouthfeel.
  2. Soy Milk: In the traditional process of making soy milk, oil is not a standard ingredient. The focus is on soaking, cooking, blending, and straining the soybeans. However, some commercial soy milks may include added oil for creaminess.
  3. Oat Milk: Oat milk is often made without the need for added oil. The creamy texture is achieved through the natural starches in oats. Some commercial varieties may include a small amount of oil for a smoother texture.
  4. Rice Milk: In the basic homemade rice milk recipe, oil is typically not added. The focus is on cooking, blending, and straining the rice. Commercial versions might include oil for added richness.
  5. Coconut Milk: The production of coconut milk involves extracting the fat-rich coconut cream from the grated coconut flesh. In this case, oil is naturally present in the form of coconut oil.
  6. Cashew Milk: Similar to almond milk, oil is generally not a standard ingredient in basic homemade cashew milk. Commercial versions may include added oil for a creamier texture.
  7. Hemp Milk: Hemp milk is often made without added oil. The creamy texture comes from the natural oils present in hemp seeds.
  8. Pea Milk: In the production of pea milk, oil may be added to enhance the mouthfeel and creaminess. The primary ingredient is pea protein, and additional ingredients, including oil, are used to achieve a desirable texture.

In summary, while some plant-based milks naturally contain oils (such as coconut milk), the addition of oil in other varieties depends on the desired texture and mouthfeel, and this practice is more common in commercially produced plant-based milks. Homemade versions may or may not include oil, depending on personal preferences and dietary choices.

the processing equipment used in plant based milk production

The Equipment Used In Producing Plant Based Milks

The processing equipment used in plant-based milk production can vary depending on the scale of production and the specific type of plant-based milk being produced. Here are some common processing steps and the associated equipment:

  1. Soaking/Pre-treatment:
    • Equipment: Soaking tanks or bins.
    • Use: Used for soaking raw ingredients like almonds, cashews, or soybeans to soften them before further processing.
  2. Milling/Grinding:
    • Equipment: Mills or grinders.
    • Use: Used to grind soaked or raw ingredients into a fine paste or powder. This step is common for almonds, oats, rice, and other grains or seeds.
  3. Mixing/Blending:
    • Equipment: Blenders or mixers.
    • Use: Blends the milled or ground ingredients with water to create a smooth mixture. This step is crucial for achieving a homogeneous liquid consistency.
  4. Straining/Filtering:
    • Equipment: Strainers, filters, or cheesecloths.
    • Use: Separates the liquid from solid particles, such as nut or seed pulp, resulting in a smoother milk texture.
  5. Cooking/Heating (if required):
    • Equipment: Heating tanks or pasteurization equipment.
    • Use: Some plant-based milks, like rice milk, may undergo a cooking or heating process to break down starches or enhance flavor. Pasteurization equipment may be used for heat treatment to extend shelf life.
  6. Homogenization (optional):
    • Equipment: Homogenizers.
    • Use: Homogenization breaks down fat globules to achieve a more uniform and stable product. This step is common in some commercial plant-based milk production.
  7. Fortification (optional):
    • Equipment: Mixing tanks.
    • Use: Adding vitamins, minerals, or other fortifying ingredients to enhance the nutritional content of the plant-based milk.
  8. Packaging:
    • Equipment: Filling machines, packaging lines.
    • Use: Fills and packages the plant-based milk into containers, such as cartons or bottles.
  9. Cooling (if required):
    • Equipment: Cooling tanks or systems.
    • Use: Cools the plant-based milk before packaging, especially if heat treatment processes like pasteurization are involved.

It’s important to note that the equipment used can vary based on factors like the production scale, the specific plant-based milk recipe, and the desired final product characteristics. Larger-scale commercial operations may use specialized industrial equipment, while smaller-scale or homemade production might involve simpler kitchen appliances. Additionally, the equipment used for fortification, homogenization, and pasteurization may not be required for all plant-based milk varieties, especially in smaller-scale or artisanal production.

PerMix Universal All-In-One Vacuum Emulsifying Mixer is perfect for the production of plant based milks.