(Due to a comment below, I edited my headline)
Various cow milk options are taking over the dairy case in our supermarkets. There is soy milk, almond milk, flax seed milk, cashew milk and oat milk. None of these seed, nut or bean options are cheap. The price of a half gallon is in the $4.00 range. All of these milks are about 90% water. That water weight accounts for most of the cost to transport, package and refrigerate. These non-mammary milks may be PETA-approved, but they are not especially eco-friendly when you consider all the fossil fuels involved.
For me, besides the cost and environmental impact, I like reducing my cholesterol intake when I can. Another consideration for me is convenience. I don't like filling my fridge with gallons of anything or having to make avoidable shopping trips.
So I decided to see if I could make my own oat milk. I found several recipes for oat milk online. All of the oat milk recipes I found are basically the same. They all ask you to soak one part dry old-fashioned oatmeal cereal in four parts water and squeeze the results (usually through cheese cloth) into a container. I tried and was not satisfied with the creaminess. It was too watery for my tastes. It took a lot to lighten my coffee. Moreover, these recipes leave over a large amount of pulp which strikes me as wasteful.
The other day at Costco, I read the label of their Kirkland brand oat milk and I noticed that oat flour was an ingredient, not oatmeal.
Armed with that information, I pulverized a cup of dry oatmeal in our Krups coffee grinder, sifting and re-grinding until it was a fine powder. I went ahead and ground enough oat powder to last me for a while. Of course, a person could probably simply buy the oat flour and dispense with the grinding process.
I blended the oat powder with two tablespoons of almond butter and two tablespoons of maple syrup and four cups of water. If you use your oat milk as a coffee creamer, you may want to reduce the amount of water.
I have read, but cannot confirm, the almond butter and maple syrup act as emulsifiers. They do seem to. My casual observation is that there is less separation of the oat milk when I added the almond butter and syrup especially when poured into a cup of coffee. I may in the future experiment with various combinations of sunflower oil, canola oil, peanut butter, cashew butter, molasses and/or honey. I have not tried lecithin, but lecithin is sold at health food stores. Lecithins are known for emulsification properties. Emulsifiers or not, even commercially-made oat milk labels instruct to "shake before using".
I can confirm that almond butter and maple syrup improve the taste.
After blending, I initially sifted the liquid concoction through sieve which resulted in about a quarter cup of pulp (which I added to my pancake batter). However, I decided that step was unnecessary when it's added to breakfast cereal. As for coffee, the minimal amount of solids that fall to the bottom of the cup don't bother me.
I've shared my recipe with friends. I am not the only person to say my oat milk is delicious. It's been described as "nutty". My recipe is probably more accurately called oat-almond milk. With the addition of a banana and other fruit it also makes a tasty smoothie.
The cost works out to be a dollar per quart. My wife calculated the calories to be about the same as whole dairy milk, or about 100 calories per cup.
If you try making your own oat milk please report your results here.