Last summer a couple of buddies visited from out of state to do some hiking. I noticed that Karen, who’s lactose intolerant, packed powdered almond milk as an essential part of her kit.
Since then I’ve seen a bunch of questions on the forums about powdered almond milk for backpacking and camping but I can’t find a lot of information about it. So I thought I’d do some research and write about it myself.
Where to buy it?
The number of producers that manufacture powdered almond milk are on the rise. Until recently the only companies I could find were a New Zealand company called Natural Sugars (they only supply Australasia) and the Spanish company, Ecomil (which you can buy here on Amazon).
But I recently discovered a new US-based company called JOI. The founders were fed up of what they say was "water with some almonds sprinkled on top" as well as additives like gums and binders found in mainstream products. So they set out to fix it and have a product called Almondbase made from Californian almonds, that seems to be getting rave reviews! Check them out here...
How to avoid the bad stuff…
Beware “almond powder mixes”! These guys are definitely not the same as powdered almond milk; they are typically used to flavour Taiwanese ‘bubble tea’ and are often entirely synthetic. That’s not a problem if you’re looking to make a bubble tea, but if you are making some oatmeal one day into a 6-day thru-hike, it could make for a nasty surprise.
Also if you are lactose intolerant or vegan, you’re going to want to double check to make the ingredients don’t include milk powder (which is also quite common with the bubble tea mixes).
Alternatives to Powdered Almond Milk
If you're vegan or lactose intolerant and for whatever reason, almond milk powder ain't quite cutting it, there are other powdered milk alternatives. Here are three more:
Coconut Milk Powder
Earth Circle Organics offer a great option for adding to coffees, teas, chais and hot chocolates. Whether you enjoy the flavor or are lactose intolerant (or both!) it's definitely worth checking out. Not at all clumpy and absolutely delicious!
You could also check out this option from Healthworks which is an excellent choice for baking (they describe it as a flour, as much as it is a powder) and the company has incredible customer service.
Soy Milk Powder
If you aren't convinced by the 'nutiness' of almond or coconut then you can always revert to good old soy milk powder. Druid's Grove offer a great organic version. Perfect for emergency storage or travel.
Rice Milk Powder
There aren't many rice milk powders in the market. Two you could look out for are Better Than Milk (although you may want to check the ingredients as it has a good number of additives) and Essona Organics which has a much purer product.
How to prepare pre-powdered almond milk
So I’m used to normal milk powder which hydrates really easily. This is because it started off as a liquid. It’s not quite as straightforward with almond milk because it is comprised of ground vegetable matter and water. This can easily result in a ‘gritty’ texture or ‘floaters’ which tend not to be qualities people seek in their first cup of joe in the morning.
The simplest way to avoid these issues is to follow these simple steps:
- add a little bit of water to the powder
- make a paste
- beat it until it’s smooth
- then add a bit more liquid to thin it out
How to make almond milk powder
To get started you'll need a good food dehydrator (check out these well-reviewed options). You'll also want a dedicated coffee grinder, because if you use the same grinder as you do for coffee, you’re milk powder is going to taste like coffee and your coffee is going to taste like almond milk! (No need for an electric one, here's a good selection of affordable manual coffee grinders).
- 1Line a dehydrator tray with a non-stick sheet
- 2Heat your dehydrator to 135°F (57°C)
- 3Pour in 2 cups of almond milk
- 4Dehydrate for up to 18 hours or until completely brittle
- 5Grind the pieces into a fine powder with a coffee grinder
To make a cup of almond milk:
Step 1 - Combine 2tbsp of almond milk powder with 2tbsp of water
Step 2 - Mix into a paste
Step 3 - Add remaining water while whisking
So there you go! If you think I’ve missed anything or have anything to add, please drop a note in the comments!