The Vegan Ilk of Milk

12 Nov

Vegans have the glorious choice of not one, but at least six milks most dairy-drinkers often don’t even know about.  Most people have heard of soy milk, and in fact many coffee shops including Starbucks now carry it as an alternative to dairy.  However, there are also additional delicious choices such as almond milk, rice milk, hemp milk, oat milk, and coconut milk.  Each has a distinct flavor and consistency.  Some are sweeter than others, and thus serve some purposes better than others.

Typically, coconut and rice are the sweetest choices, which are excellent for desserts, but not uncommon in entrees such as curries.  Neither one, in my opinion,  is particularly good to drink straight from a glass, if not mixed with coffee or in a smoothie.  Soy milk and almond milk are more flexible, and are good for use in baking recipes, or to simply drink plainly.  My only experience with oat milk so far is in baking and using for cereal.  As for hemp milk, it is more expensive than the others, so usually I just enjoy it by drinking it with cocoa powder.  Either way, they are all enjoyable and worth trying.

The question for today, however, is which one would be most delicious and effective in making  creamy mashed potatoes?  I decided to try all of them (except coconut — that one I know would be way too sweet).

To prepare the potatoes, start with scrubbing the skins with a vegetable brush. I never peel my potatoes — it’s a waste of time!  But if you want your mashed potatoes to be completely white, then go for it.  I prefer mine “dirty” and less time consuming.  While you’re at it, be sure to put water in a large pot to boil.

Cut the potatoes by first steadying it on its side and cutting it lengthwise in half.  Then take the two halves and set them flat side down. Depending on the size of the potato, cut it lengthwise into two, three, or four slices. Then cut perpendicular into 1.5″ chunks.

Once the water is at a rolling boil (not just sputtering bubbles), put the potatoes in.  The rolling boil will stop, but the potatoes will be cooking.   When they return to a rolling boil, check them after 15 minutes.  The timing may vary depending on the amount of water and potatoes, so keep checking.  If you can poke right through them easily with a toothpick and they break apart, then they are pretty much done. If you taste one, it should fall apart in your mouth.

Once the potatoes are finished, let them drain in a colander for a few minutes so that all the water is out. Then put them back in the pot and mash them.

Once they are broken up, you can use an immersion blender.  Mine is a Proctor Silex. I love using it for pureeing soups, without the bneed to transfer messy hot liquids to my blender.

Add Earth Balance (about 4 tablespoons) to the potatoes, as well as salt and pepper, to the taste.

Now it is time for the milk taste tests.  I put five dollops of potatoes each in its own bowl and added 1 tablespoon each of the test milks.  I used a small whisk to incorporate the milk into the potatoes.

After trying all the samples twice, I resorted to using process of elimination to narrow down my choices.  I quickly took out both hemp milk and soy milk out of the running, as their flavors were too strong and interfered with that of the mashed potatoes.  Next I eliminated the oat milk because it also had a noticeable taste.  Finally, I really couldn’t make up my mind between the almond milk and rice milk.  Rice milk seemed like the most neutral taste, but also appeared thin and runny.  Therefore, I decided to mix equal parts rice and almond milks in this particular batch of mashed potatoes.  Thus, I added 1/2 cup of each and used the immersion blender once again to mix everything.  The result was smooth and creamy!


One Response to “The Vegan Ilk of Milk”


  1. The Shepherd Has Freed The Flock « Jerseyveganchick's Blog - November 15, 2010

    […] My final layer was a thick layer of mashed potatoes (Click here for the recipe). […]

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