Substitutes Made From Sprouted Oats and other nuts and grains
Copyright (c) 1995 by Thomas E. Billings. This document may
be distributed freely for non-commercial purposes provided 1) this copyright notice is
included, 2) the document is distributed free of charge, with the sole exception that a
photocopy charge, not to exceed ten cents (U.S.) per printed page may be charged by those
distributing this paper. All commercial rights reserved; contact author for details
(contact address given at end).
Oat sprouts are not commonly consumed, or appreciated by, the
sprouting community. This is unfortunate, as the oat sprout has a flavor that is similar
to dairy (cow's) milk, and it can be used to make a number of good milk substitutes.
The problem with oats is that to sprout them you must use
unhulled oats. So- called "whole oats" or "oat groats" won't sprout.
The only (known) general source for unhulled oats is Jaffe Bros., a mail-order firm
specializing in organic foods, address: P.O. Box 636, Valley Center, Calif. 92082-0636;
Using oat sprouts as a base, one can prepare many types of
sprout milk. There are two basic recipes (really two versions of the same recipe) that can
be used. The basic methods are described below, and produce a large glass of sprout milk
(approx 1.75-2.0 cups of liquid). To produce larger quantities of sprout milk, simply
multiply quantities below by the appropriate scale factor.
Take 1/4 cup dry sprouting oats and 1/8 cup of other grain/seed. Soak overnight (12 hours)
then put in sprouting environment for 1.5 days - i.e., allow to sprout for 1.5 days. At
that point the sprouts can be processed into milk, or refrigerated and processed later. To
make milk, rinse sprouts, put in blender. Add one cup water, blend on high for 30 seconds.
Stop blender, add 2/3 cup water and blend for 30 more seconds. Then strain using steel
mesh sieve. Use spoon to squeeze ground pulp to get maximum extraction of sprout liquids.
Discard pulp; the liquid left is, of course, the sprout milk. Add extra water to milk, if
necessary, to adjust to your taste preference. Drink immediately if possible; can be
refrigerated but length of storage life is unknown. Also the milk will oxidize quickly in
the refrigerator -- best if taken *fresh*, with enzymes and nutrients at their maximum.
Take 1/4 cup dry sprouting oats, soak overnight, sprout for 1.5 days as above. Take 1/8
cup other grain/seed, and soak/sprout accordingly (will vary by seed type). In this
method, the oats are usually sprouted separately from the other grain/seed. When ready,
put rinsed oat sprouts in blender, grind and strain as above to give milk made only of oat
sprouts. Discard oat hull pulp as above. Rinse out blender, put oat milk and other
(rinsed) sprouted grain/seed in, blend on high for 30-45 seconds. Straining optional here;
generally not recommended. Use immediately or refrigerate, as above.
Note that the oat sprout should be very short, i.e., the root
tip should be just emerging from the seed, for use in milk. Long sprouts are not desirable
here. Using the cloth method, this occurs at *approximately* 1.5 days; sprouts can take
more or less time depending on seed viability and other factors. If you use the jar method
or other method (i.e., commercial sprouter) of sprouting, it may take slightly more or
less time (probably longer time in jar), for the sprouts to reach the optimal growth
Once the milk has been made, using either method, one can add
options: sweetener of choice (*raw* honey, date sugar, raisins, etc), flavorings such as
carob, vanilla bean, and so on.
Below is a summary of oat milk recipes tested, listed by
(subjective) flavor quality. Grain/seed blends listed are approximately 50-50%, by volume.
Additional comments follow at the end. Reminder: the recipe is 1/4 cup oats (sprouted ~1.5
days) plus 1/8 cup grain/seed given below (produced as indicated; times are for cloth
method of sprouting), made using milk method suggested below. Note that the 1/8 cup is
approximate; for (shelled) nuts below, use more to compensate for spacing of nuts in
Rated Excellent in Flavor
Grain/Seed Production Method Comments
Almonds spr, 1.0 day 2 remove skins from almonds before
blending; don't sprout more than 1
day, don't refrigerate almond sprouts
more than 1 day; used 20 almonds in
recipe. Wonderful flavor!
Sesame spr, 1.0 days 2 can use soaked 12 hrs instead; sprout
and refrig time should not exceed 1.5
days else sprouts can turn bitter
Wheat spr, 1.5 days 1 very much like dairy milk; easy to
make and economical!
Buckwheat spr, 1.5 days 1 use raw hulled buckwheat groats; soak
only 15-45 minutes (add buckwheat at
end of oat soak); very smooth and
excellent milk; recommend immediate
use as flavor can get strong in
Blend: Wheat/ spr, 1.5 days 1 comments on buckwheat apply; very
Buckwheat smooth, excellent milk.
Filberts soak 12 hrs 1 very rich flavor! Also easier to
make than other nut milks.
Brazil nuts soak 12 hrs 1 superb flavor! Pre-shelled nuts were
boiled before shelling, so are not
raw; recommend using in-shell nuts
that you shell by hand. Flavor gets
stronger when refrigerated.
Rated Very Good in Flavor
Grain/Seed Production Method Comments
Pine Nuts soak 8-12 hrs 2 don't soak pine nuts more than 12 hrs;
can get mushy. Also might want to
strain milk twice. Milk is flavorful;
tastes just like pine nuts.
Macadamias soak 12 hrs 2 smooth, distinctive flavor. Might
want to strain out macadamia pulp -
can be gritty. Soaking has little
effect on macadamias.
Walnuts soak 12 hrs 2 very good but might want to add
sweetener. Recommend using organic
in-shell nuts that you shell by hand,
then soak shelled nut meats.
Pecans soak 8-12 hrs 2 sweeter than walnut milk; pecans can
mushy if soaked more than 12 hours;
use in-shell nuts that you shell by
hand (pre-shelled pecans are heat
treated and are technically not raw!)
Pumpkin Seeds soak 12 hrs 1 sprouting pumpkin seeds can be hard -
high spoilage rate. Soaking safer,
Raw Sesame out of jar, 2 smooth, creamy; not as good as milk
Tahini 1-2 tablespoons made with sesame sprouts!
Blend: Wheat/ spr, 1.5 days 1 not as good as pure wheat; barley
Barley content reduces shelf life
Blend: Barley/ spr, 1.5 days 1 comments on buckwheat and shelf life
Buckwheat of barley apply
Peanuts spr, 1.0 day 1 method 2 can be used if desired. Remove
peanut skins before using in milk.
Discard peanut sprouts if yellow mold
develops; because of mold, best to
sprout peanuts and oats separately.
Milk tastes like sprouted peanuts.
Rated Good/Fair in Flavor
Grain/Seed Production Method Comments
Coconut, fresh crack, remove 1 can use method 2 - straining advised
coconut meat as otherwise milk is gritty. Can save
coconut water and use in milk; gives
very (too) sweet milk. Milk is a bit
oily. Coconut is hard to blend - blend
for at least 90 seconds.
Barley spr, 1.5 days 1 easy to make; has short shelf life
as barley ferments (fermented barley
sprouts are a major ingredient of
Sunflower Seeds spr, 0.75 day 1/2 stronger flavor than other milks;
milk has "protein" or "earthy" flavor
Oats spr, 1.5 days 1 pure oat sprout milk - a bit bland,
but certainly drinkable!
Corn spr, 1.5 days 1 smooth, bland, with slightly sweet
aftertaste. Suggest using 2.5 day old
(field) corn sprouts for sweeter
flavor. Need to use jar for 2.5 day
sprouts; mold likely in cloth method.
Rice spr, 1.0 day 1 bland, but has nice texture. To
sprout short grain brown rice: soak
12 hrs, change water, soak 12 more
hours. Then allow to sprout 1 day, no
longer (rice sprouts can get bitter
after 1 day).
Millet spr, 1.5 days 1 smooth but bland flavor. Millet
sprouts are tiny and crunchy; may
need to strain twice
Rye spr, 1.5 days 1 has a grainy aftertaste; might be
better if use 1.0 day old rye sprouts
Kala Channa spr, 1.5 days 1 kala channa is a miniature garbanzo
bean, available from (East) Indian
food stores. Flavor same as garbanzo,
but easier/more reliable to sprout.
Milk has strong protein taste; can
disguise flavor by adding ginger.
Not recommended due to strong flavor.
OAT SPROUT MILK SUBSTITUTE: DETAILED DIRECTIONS
First, I will present a detailed description of the method I
use to make milk substitutes, then will describe some simplifications/options in making
it. Equipment needed: stainless steel sieve with handle (2-3 cup capacity), bowl of a size
such that the sieve can rest on its rim, cotton handkerchief (clean), tablespoon or
similar large spoon, blender.
Time 0: Take 1/3 cup unhulled sprouting oats, and: 1/4 cup
sprouting wheat -or- other grains/seeds, and soak in water. Take 15 (large) - 20 (small)
almonds and soak in water. After 30-90 minutes, change almond soak water (note first water
is brownish with tannic acid). You may lose some water soluble nutrients, but you also
lose much of the tannic acid; changing the water once gives a sweeter, final product.
Note: the almonds are soaked separately from the grains. The oats and other grains/seeds
are generally soaked and sprouted together, but they can be done separately if desired.
Time: 0.5 days Take oat/wheat or oat/rice out of soak and put
in sprouting environment. Similar for almonds, but sprout separately from grains.
Optional: in a very small container, put 1 teaspoon of flax seed, and a small amount of
cardamom seed, in water to soak: refrigerate. Place 10-12 lotus seeds in a small amount of
water, and refrigerate.
Time: 1.0 day Rinse oats and almonds in sprouting environment
Time: 1.5 days Rinse oats again in sprouting environment.
Rinse almonds and remove from sprouting environment - refrigerate.
Time: approx. 2.0 days Now it is time to make the sprout
milk. Begin by peeling the sprouted almonds. This is made much easier if you blanch the
almond sprouts by putting them in a sieve and running hot water (from the faucet, 140 deg
F, not boiling water!) over them for about 20-30 seconds. Peel almonds and set aside
(blanch can be done earlier, at 1.5 days, if that is easier for you). Note: if doing more
than 20 almonds, blanch only 20 at a time. If you do too many at once, they cool off and
peeling becomes difficult.
Take grain out of sprouting environment, and (optional)
soaked flaxseed from refrigerator - rinse in sieve, put in blender. Take 1.75 cups water,
put half in blender with grain. Run blender at medium for about 60 seconds. Then add the
rest of water, run on high another 60 seconds. Then turn down to low, let run for 1 minute
Place the sieve on the rim of a bowl. Turn off blender, pour
contents into sieve. Use large spoon to stir mixture, with liquid draining into bowl. Use
1/3 cup water to rinse blender, put rinse water into sieve. Using spoon to apply pressure
to sprout pulp in sieve, press as much liquid out of material as possible. Discard pulp,
clean sieve. Rinse blender again, discarding rinse water. Now put peeled almonds in clean
blender, also drain soaked lotus seeds and place in blender. Can add optional ingredients
in blender here: sweetener - 1+ tbsp raw honey, or freeze dried sugarcane juice.
Flavorings: 1/2 level tsp of cinnamon, or 1/2 inch of vanilla bean. Other options: small
amount of acidophilus powder.
Now line the sieve with clean handkerchief, and strain the
milk mixture through it into the blender. Use handkerchief to make a small bag in the
sieve; lift bag up and down to speed filtration. When most of the liquid has drained
through the sieve, use large spoon to press remaining pulp in the wet handkerchief. Later,
wash handkerchief (can use cheesecloth here instead). This step is not absolutely
necessary, but it makes a smoother product and removes tiny oat hull pieces not filtered
out in the first filtration.
Now turn blender on medium for a few seconds to grind up
almonds. Then turn to low and let run for 2 minutes. Finally, you're done. Pour sprout
milk into glasses (will yield 2 good sized glasses, about 3 cups), refrigerate. Will keep
for a few days in the refrigerator.
* Use whole oats (won't sprout) instead of sprouting oats -
soak 12 hrs instead of soak + sprout cycle above. Sprouting oats can be obtained from
Jaffe Bros. in Valley Center, California; phone 619-749-1133.
* Soak/sprout additional grains/seeds (hulled only), separate
from oats, and grind them up intact with almonds into final milk. Will give much thicker
sprout milk, at cost of extra handling in sprouting and soaking stage.
* One can add the optional, soaked flaxseed with the almonds
for final blend. Caution: you may experience a laxative effect from the flax seeds.
* If you want to use cardamom as flavoring, use whole
decorticated seeds that are soaked overnight to soften. Can use powder instead, but watch
out: it has hulls ground with it and can be quite bitter.
* Sweetener is not required but can be quite good. Some
people who try this milk substitute report that it can be bitter if unsweetened. If that
happens to you, suggest you add something to sweeten, and omit/do not use, the optional
* Vanilla is the best flavoring, in my opinion. It is also
expensive. Cinnamon is very nice, and the plain/unflavored milk can be good also.
* Can use soaked dried fruit (dates, raisins, figs) as
sweetener but they overwhelm the mild flavor of the sprout milk. Not worth the trouble, in
* Surprise: bananas + sprout milk tastes *bitter*! Not
recommended. Also, fennel seed powder + sprout milk is bitter.
* Some raw food recipe books have recipes for milks made
exclusively from almonds (good, but quite expensive), and milks made exclusively from
sprouted wheat (can be very strong tasting if wheat sprouts are at the super-sweet stage).
So there are alternatives to oats. The primary advantage of oats is that the flavor is
closer to the flavor of regular (dairy) milk.
* Oats - are regarded by Western herbalists as a tonic for
the nervous system.
* A homeopathic preparation of oats (Avena Sativa) was in the
news in 1996; supposedly it enhanced people's sexual stamina. I make no claims regarding
such an effect from oat sprout milk!
Thomas E. Billings
2125 Delaware St; #F
Berkeley, CA 94709
May 1998: Supplement to Oat-Milk Articles
It is appropriate to clarify a few important details
regarding the topic of milk substitutes made from sprouted oats.
1. As I have stated previously on veg-raw/raw-food e-mail
lists, detailed nutritional compositional data on milk substitutes made from sprouted oats
(or almonds or other sprouted grains), are not available.
2. I have also pointed out (in the past) that the nutritional
composition of such milk substitutes may, in some cases, be low-fat (as oats are low-fat).
Further, the nutritional composition of such milk substitutes clearly does differ, in a
significant way, from real milk (whether animal or human). Real milk has vitamins B-12 and
D in it; most vegans are aware that oats (and other sprouts) do not contain those
3. Accordingly, milk substitutes from sprouts should not be
used in the feeding of infants, except on the advice of a qualified nutritionist or health
professional. In particular, sprout milk, depending on the formulation, may be low or
deficient in EFAs: essential fatty acids.