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Home brew orgeat
Scottes
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Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-10-08 3:36 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-08 14:51, KuKuAhu wrote:
While agree to some extent, and can certainly admire the effort, I am considering a level of diminishing returns here that out weighs the process involved. To make better orgeat for less money and without chemicals is one thing... but to swear all but the 19th century from scratch version to be a total waste is innacurate and ignores 70 years of bartending.


I agree, to a point. For me, I'm still in the process of learning what orgeat can taste like, and trying to taste it in its finest form. Once I know that taste I can then, and only then, assess what is acceptable.

To fellow and extend your comment about raising cattle to have a steak, why bother when you can go to McDonald's? Otherwise you're wasting 40 years of meat experience. There is something to be said for doing things right.

In the end, I still have to make a batch of "perfect" orgeat. And then compare it to 2 others. And then compare Mai Tais made with each. To do anything less would simply be accepting it without knowing it. Given how much I love almonds and Mai Tais and these experiments I feel that such simple acceptance would be wrong.
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KuKuAhu
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Joined: Dec 23, 2002
Posts: 567
From: Kahiki, Ohio
Posted: 2007-10-08 4:12 pm   Permalink

Quote:

To fellow and extend your comment about raising cattle to have a steak, why bother when you can go to McDonald's? Otherwise you're wasting 40 years of meat experience. There is something to be said for doing things right.




Quote:
Or I can just buy a great cut of beef and prepare it with practiced skill and care.




Forgive me for pulling my own quote off of one page back, but I felt I covered this analogy well enough.

I suppose I might have clarified that with "bartending history" so as not to have it assumed to mean "bartending experience" which probably has little bearing on the content of commercial brands of orgeat.

There's this one from a page ago too:

Quote:
It pays to make the pure form from the ground up (pun intended) with almonds.. this gives you the palate and perspective of extremes, but to me it pays to seek the useful balance in between.



So I agree with you. I just think it wrong to prescribe the purisms as 100% truth when we are discussing 1940s American bartending.

If you are all out of milk on your french farm because you had to make it all into cheese to avoid spoilage (due to your lack of refrigeration), then by all means make orgeat as a purist.


If you just want to make better orgeat for your bar to make excellent mai tais.. well, this is a different matter altogether.

You may wish to use barley though. I not sure I have seen a 1940s Trader Vic recipe book that specifically describes this historical French brand as an almond based orgeat.

-grin-

Shall we all milk barley then?




Ahu

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[ This Message was edited by: KuKuAhu 2007-10-08 16:12 ]


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Scottes
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Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-10-08 4:55 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-08 16:12, KuKuAhu wrote:
Shall we all milk barley then?


Ah, crap, now I have to go find some organic barley...
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Sgirl
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Joined: Sep 05, 2007
Posts: 37
From: Oakland
Posted: 2007-10-08 5:03 pm   Permalink

It's been interesting reading this thread. I actually make my own almond milk for use at home as I do not like the store bought versions and I prefer it to soy milk for many uses. I use a vitamix (which pulverizes the almonds) and gives the milk a strong almond flavor. The resulant milk could pass for cow's milk by look.

I decided to try home made orgeat yesterday when I was in the kitchen making up some Voodoo Priestess syrup.

The resultant orgeat is very opaque & white. The mai tais I made from it last night didn't look right , but I need to try again tonight as I made a mistake when making them. They were tasty but didn't have the characteristic look. I'll try again tonight, but fear that the orgeat may be too creamy/white and may continue to change the color of the maitais too much. If so, I'll have to use much less almond milk next time in the orgeat...



 
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Sgirl
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Joined: Sep 05, 2007
Posts: 37
From: Oakland
Posted: 2007-10-08 7:54 pm   Permalink

: (
No mistakes tonight. The drink is still to limey according to hubby (despite 1 oz instead of 11/2 oz) and I know it could be the limes

But it's still too milky looking, not amber like a good mai tai should look. But rather it looks like a milky lemonade Hmm...Maybe if I gently heat the orgeat (I didn't, I dissolved the sugar in the almond milk in my high speed blender, which does warm it, but prob didn't heat it enough). I'm bummed, the orgeat is tasty, but just too milky.


 
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-09 09:28 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-08 19:54, Sgirl wrote:
I'm bummed, the orgeat is tasty, but just too milky.



How do you filter the almonds out of the milk? If you do that efficiently then your layers will be easier to deal with.

I wonder if you are allowing the batch to sit long enough to stratify into its layers. There should be a frothy layer that forms on top and a sedimentary layer on the bottom. You want the biggest layer that is in the middle, so you need to remove the frothy layer; or siphon the good layer out, leaving the top and bottom layers behind.

The frothy layer seems to contribute most to making drinks cloudy. The orgeat should still be opaque and milky, but in the quantities used in drinks it should not cloud it up to any significant degree.

That VitaMix of yours sounds interesting. Are your almonds moist when you grind them? Grinding them dry will make a lot more fine dust a lot of which will find its way into the frothy layer.

I've been thinking about picking up one of these things...


...from BB&B for $49.99 less 20%.

The coarsest disc (shown on the box) seems like it would be good for grinding almonds into the right size of nuggetrine without producing much that was excessively small. That combines with the filter bags that Scottes located seems like it might be a winning combination.



 
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Sgirl
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Joined: Sep 05, 2007
Posts: 37
From: Oakland
Posted: 2007-10-09 09:44 am   Permalink

Hmm, maybe the problem is the vitamix is too efficient at emulsifying. It is an expensive highspeed blender, more info here http://www.vitamix.com

After I make & strain the almond milk I only get two layers. Foam and milk. I did remove the foamy layer, but the rest is very rich and milky. There are still some tiny solids in the milk but they don't separate even after 3-4 days (which is how long the plain almond milk lasts in my fridge w/o fermenting). I only know there are solids cuz if I freeze some they separate or if I use it in a hot beverage a tiny film of particles forms on top.

I'm going to try using 1/8 oz next time in my mai tai rather than 1/4 and see if that works better. Next time I make it I may try the Ahu recipe and use much less of the rich milk so the oregeat is cloudy but not milky.


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Sgirl
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Joined: Sep 05, 2007
Posts: 37
From: Oakland
Posted: 2007-10-09 10:47 am   Permalink

Okay, so I just reread the thread (not for the first time) and am guessing that it is the suspended particles that is the problem
Quote:

On 2007-06-25 09:10, The Gnomon wrote:
Important – Make sure the store-bought almond milk has had a chance for its almond residue to settle back down to the bottom of the carton before using.

If you do disturb it, and if you don't then remove it from the milk, it will remain suspended in your orgeat for a long time before it finally settles to the bottom. That will cause all of your drinks to become very cloudy. They'll taste fine, but they'll be cloudy and will stratify in the drink if it's allowed to sit for any length of time.



Clearly my home made almond milk does have more particles in it than store bought. I just checked my orgeat and it does have some particles settling to the bottom. I'm going to leave it undisturbed for aother day or two and see if more particles will settle out. So far the liquid above still looks like cow's milk, but I will keep my fingers crossed, that eventually they will all be at the bottom and I can salvage it and make a proper mai tai.

Oh and to answer your question, I've found the best way to filter the almond milk in one step is to use a thin lint free linen cloth (the kind you use to dry wine glasses). It works like a cheese cloth but is much sturdier and stands up to strong squuezing/milking. I rinse the towel after the milking and then throw it it the wash. Maybe I'll try one of those nylon bags Scottes found and see if it's any easier.

My almonds are wet when I start since I actually blanche them myself and then throw them in whole to the VitaMix with water. Still get lots of foam, which is easy to remove. If my orgeat separates I'll have to experiment with how long it takes to separate in the future.

[ This Message was edited by: Sgirl 2007-10-09 11:13 ]


 
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-09 11:59 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-09 10:47, Sgirl wrote:
Clearly my home made almond milk does have more particles in it than store bought. I just checked my orgeat and it does have some particles settling to the bottom. I'm going to leave it undisturbed for aother day or two and see if more particles will settle out. So far the liquid above still looks like cow's milk, but I will keep my fingers crossed, that eventually they will all be at the bottom and I can salvage it and make a proper mai tai.



That could be the answer. You have so many fine particles suspended in the milk that it takes a lot longer to layer out than you can wait for before the milk goes bad. I rarely wait more than a day for it to layer before getting on with adding the sugar, rose and orange flower waters, and rum. At that point, it keeps pretty well. I keep mine at room temperature and use it up before it goes bad (so I don't know it's actual shelf life at room temp). Any layering after that I just remove as needed.

Quote:
My almonds are wet when I start since I actually blanche them myself and then throw them in whole to the VitaMix with water. Still get lots of foam, which is easy to remove. If my orgeat separates I'll have to experiment with how long it takes to separate in the future.



If I get one of thoise grinders, I think I will start blanching my own almonds again instead of being lazy and using pre-blanched slivered almonds. As for your thick milk. Braggart! I'm envious.


 
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-09 12:03 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-08 14:51, KuKuAhu wrote:
And actually, horchata and orgeat have little to do with one another outside of being similar grain emulsions.



I think I mentioned something to that effect a couple of months ago or so.

Quote:
Orge is French for barley. Orgeat was barely water before it became almond water (presumably sometime after the crusades... around the time marzipan was invented). For instance, "barley water" in Italian is "orzata". Italian for almond is "mandorla", and Spanish for almond is "almendra".



Yep. Orgeat and horchata don't have to do with the almond, but rather the milk product.

Quote:
Also, for your enjoyment...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almond#Sweet_and_bitter_almonds

...

On 2007-10-08 15:13, KuKuAhu wrote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horchata

Similar roots, but orgeat is not "french horchata" anymore than black bean dip is "mexican hummus".

Both started as barley waters, and actually came from the Spanish "orxata".



There is a strong etymological belief that orxata came from ordiata, but apparently it's not conclusive. I don't know why it's not known for sure.

I've seen both of these Wikipedia entries many times in the past. Thanks for reminding me. That's it. "Hordeata" is the Latin I was thinking of "made with barley".

The drink has its origin (if I recall correctly—I was there ) in ancient Egypt where it was made with chufa (tiger nut) and brought to Spain by the Arabs. I'll have to go back and dig up my research one of these days (in some box in a 10 x 15 self-storage bin). I always thought it was amusing that "barley milk" was made out of almonds, or rice, or a host of other things including chufa, which I believe may have been the ancient original.




Spelling! Sheesh!

[ This Message was edited by: The Gnomon 2007-10-10 06:25 ]


 
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Sgirl
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Joined: Sep 05, 2007
Posts: 37
From: Oakland
Posted: 2007-10-09 11:34 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-09 11:59, The Gnomon wrote:
If I get one of thoise grinders, I think I will start blanching my own almonds again instead of being lazy and using pre-blanched slivered almonds. As for your thick milk. Braggart! I'm envious.



Really? It does make great almond milk, but seems a pain for orgeat. Hopefully I figure out how to get separation. Anyhoo, it's not me, it's the blender! I invested in it as a bday present to myself last Spring when I changed my diet dramatically. I make "ice cream" with frozen fruit & soy or almond milk, smoothies (sometimes with green veggies in them) and almond or cashew milk. I use it alot so it was worth it. I don't think I'd buy it just to make almond milk. But Jack Lalane makes a cheaper version of a high speed blender I've heard works well and goes on sale on JC Penney's periodically.

I think it's worth it to blanch your own almonds. I tried not doing it once and the almond milk was much less flavorful. It only takes me about 10 min to skin a cup of almonds. It's actually pretty relaxing/meditative, esp with good music on. Oh, the other good thing about the high speed blender is you can use less almonds and more water (3 cups water to 1 cup almonds) so over the long term it could actually save money if you make gallons and gallons of almond milk. And there is no soaking time needed. Whir it up, strain/milk it and you're done, at least with the almond milk portion. We'll see how much time it adds to wait for separation...




 
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-10 06:57 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-09 23:34, Sgirl wrote:
I think it's worth it to blanch your own almonds. I tried not doing it once and the almond milk was much less flavorful. It only takes me about 10 min to skin a cup of almonds. It's actually pretty relaxing/meditative, esp with good music on. Oh, the other good thing about the high speed blender is you can use less almonds and more water (3 cups water to 1 cup almonds) so over the long term it could actually save money if you make gallons and gallons of almond milk. And there is no soaking time needed. Whir it up, strain/milk it and you're done, at least with the almond milk portion. We'll see how much time it adds to wait for separation...



So you grind your almonds up in the water, not before adding the water.

Clearly fresh almonds that you blanch yourself are going to have better flavor than anything that has had a chance to dry out at all. The protective husks hold all of that in. Next best are whole blanched almonds. Next after that are blanched slivered almonds, because they have more exposed surfaces to dry out before you can use them. Pre-ground blanched almonds are probably worthless for making orgeat.

Because store-bought almond milk contains enough preservatives for it to be kept unrefrigerated until opened, it can sit for a l-o-n-g time on the shelf. When that happens there is a sedimentary residue that builds up on the bottom of the carton. It's kind of a slimy looking muck. But its just ultra fine almond particles that were left suspended in the milk when it was packaged. I think you're experiencing a similar thing. That's your trade-off for making almost instant milk—the long wait for the ultra fine particles to settle.

Maybe you can eliminate a lot of those by pouring the otherwise finished batch through an extra large coffee filter. The filter paper might be able to capture the remaining micro nuggetrines. With the equipment I'm using now, my finest particles to make it through my cheesecloth stage just clog up the filter paper. Maybe yours is pre-filtered enough so that it won't. Anyway, that stuff is the main culprit in clouding up a drink. The manufacturers of store-bought almond milk evidently don't take it to that level. Otherwise, theirs wouldn't accumulate so much almond sludge at the bottom.



 
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Scottes
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Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-10-10 10:14 am   Permalink

Ya know, Gnomon, when doing your method, why not pre-filter the sediment out?

Crush/chop/grind the almonds, then filter this by placing it in cheesecloth/nylon-mesh-bag and rinsing some water over it. Then cover with water and let sit overnight and proceed as normal.

This should rinse out out the ultra-fine particles that you have to let settle. This should speed things up considerably.
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The Gnomon
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Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-10 12:43 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-10 10:14, Scottes wrote:
Ya know, Gnomon, when doing your method, why not pre-filter the sediment out?

Crush/chop/grind the almonds, then filter this by placing it in cheesecloth/nylon-mesh-bag and rinsing some water over it. Then cover with water and let sit overnight and proceed as normal.

This should rinse out out the ultra-fine particles that you have to let settle. This should speed things up considerably.




Hmmm. That's an interesting idea. Get rid of the extra fine and ultra fine particles before the nuggetrines get milked. It's so crazy it just might work!

Unfortunately for Sgirl, the way she makes hers the ultra fine particles are created simultaneously with the milk, so they will have to be filtered out after the fact.

As for your suggestion, though, typically the cleansing bath is done with tap water and the milk is extracted into purified water. But if it means getting rid of those pesky microparticles, another post-grinding rinse through a filter bag could be done using a gallon of bottled spring water (for about a buck) and then the remaining wet nuggetrines could be put into containers for overnight soaking in purified water.

Sounds good. This process should be done as quickly as possible so as to have the nuggetrines safely in their milking stations before the flow of milk has had a chance to get much of a start. You gave me another thought. Since I have not yet sent away for my filter bags, I don't know how well this would work, but it seems like it should.

After putting the nuggetrines into the filter bags and giving them their microparticle rinse, put the nuggetrines still in their nylon filter bag into the milking container (kinda like a trash can liner) so that when you take them out the next day, you don't have to dump, pour, or scoop anything. You just lift the bag up out of the milk, let it drain, and then wring the filter bag until the mash is as dry as it's gonna get. This is sounding more appealing by the minute. Thanks for the idea.



 
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Scottes
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Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-10-10 1:48 pm   Permalink

Just to be clear...

So far I have purchased almonds as blanched and slivered. First I rinse them, then grind, then soak, then squeeze, wait for the settling to occur, and separate.

I'm suggesting to grind first, rinse them to get rid of dirt and tiny particles that would cause sediment, grind, soak, squeeze, skip the settling because there's nothing to settle, and now the separation process is 2 layers (foam & orgeat), not 3 (foam, orgeat, sediment).


Your idea of keeping it all in the bag might make it difficult, since I've found it very inefficient to hand-squeeze more than a fistful at a time.
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