If you have ever thought about boiling oat milk just like cow milk, then there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.
Can you boil oat milk? Boiling oat milk can thicken the mixture and cause it to become slimy. This property can be suitable for cooking and making sauces, but may not be desirable when you want to just drink it. This is why oat milk should only be warmed up under 160°F for typical usage.
Read below to learn more about oat milk, how it’s made, how to keep it from thickening, and some great tips on how to heat it.
What Is Oat Milk?
Oat milk is a type of plant-based milk that is derived from oat grains.
The seeds or grains are ground with water and other flavorings and then strained to create a slightly creamy and delicious mixture called oat milk.
Similar to nut milk, oat milk is made the same way but with a few small differences.
Instead of the oats being soaked, they are usually ground directly in cold water. The reason why they aren’t soaked is that oats tend to soak up a lot of water and when you grind soaked oats, you will end up with a slimy and thick mixture.
This property makes it a bit difficult to process oat milk at home and commercial oat milk products use additives, preservatives, and stabilizers to fix the consistency of the milk.
Even if you process the oats the right way, there is another huge factor that can affect the quality and consistency of your oat milk: heat.
Boiling Oat Milk
Oat milk is a natural dairy-free and vegan alternative to regular cow milk – and it remarkably shares a lot of the same visual and textural characteristics.
But unlike regular milk, oat milk cannot withstand boiling temperatures because it can either thicken or curdle around boiling temperatures.
The reason why it thickens is due to the chemical changes that the oats go through when they are exposed to high temperatures.
Think of when you cook regular oats: notice how they can thicken and become slimy when they are overheated? Well, you can expect the same effect when heating oat milk too.
Oat milk is available in many varieties and since it is nutritionally weaker than regular milk, it is usually fortified with added minerals and vitamins.
Another common additive is oil and stabilizers that make the milk creamier while also giving it the ability to hold its viscosity at higher temperatures.
The downside to this is that these commercial oat milk products are ironically less healthy than what you can make at home. Adding simple ingredients like vanilla extract and honey can go a long way in the context of creating healthier, tastier grain milk.
Before we describe the best method for heating oat milk, let’s first take a look at how you can make it at home.
Knowing the techniques that go into making oat milk will explain a lot about the properties of the mixture and how it can be affected by heat.
How To Make Oat Milk At Home
Making oat milk is extremely easy and only requires 4 ingredients:
- Rolled Oats
- Vanilla Extract
- Start by measuring 1 cup of rolled oats. Quick-cooking oats and steel-cut oats have different textures which will eventually affect the consistency of the milk once it is heated.
- You also want to get gluten-free, organic oats that are free of wheat contamination and dangerous pesticides. The lack of gluten in the oat milk will lead to better-tasting, smoother oat milk.
- In a blender, add 4 cups of cold water and the rolled oats. The oats will not be soaked beforehand as is usually indicated in a lot of recipes.
- Pre-soaking the oats will make the mixture slimier and may also lead to curdling when heat is applied to the oat milk.
- Add a dash of vanilla extract and sweetener to taste and start blending! A great tip to avoid curdling or thickening the oat milk is to not blend the mixture for more than 20-30 seconds.
- The friction created by the blades is enough to heat the shredded pieces of oats, which will drastically affect the overall texture of the milk when it is even slightly heated later.
- Once the mixture has been homogenized you will need to strain it in a high-quality and tightly woven nut milk bag. You can try out this one for the best results.
- Gently strain the mixture through the bag while collecting the filtered milk in a jar below. You can double-filter the mixture using a new bag if you don’t want the added pulp.
- Store the filtered milk in an airtight jar and keep it in the back of the fridge. The oat milk will remain fresh for up to 1 week.
The extra steps taken in this recipe to reduce residual heat are extremely important because they will lead to a better-heated product in the end.
For a visual tutorial, take a look at this video from Downshiftology on YouTube.
How To Heat Oat Milk
So, now that you know how to make oat milk, let’s talk about some techniques to heat it.
If you are using oat milk as a replacement for regular milk in beverages, then there are 3 main methods that you can use to warm up oat milk.
Remember, the keyword here is “warm up” and not “boil.”
Here is how you can heat oat milk without changing its consistency:
- Microwave Method
- Stove Method
- Oven Method
We will use the start-stop technique to heat oat milk so that it doesn’t curdle or get slimy.
- Preheat your appliance by placing a glass of water and heating it at the max setting for 30-45 seconds. Carefully remove the glass and close the microwave door.
- Pour out a serving of oat milk in a microwave-safe glass. You can additionally wait for the mixture to get up to room temperature before microwaving it for better results.
- Set the microwave to medium-setting and warm up the milk using 15-second intervals. Check the milk after each start-stop cycle and adjust the heating time accordingly. Please refrain from overheating the milk, which is very easy to do in a microwave.
Just warm it up enough to make your favorite beverages. You can additionally use a cooking thermometer (we love this one) to check the temperature of the milk, which should not exceed 160°F.
This method is great when you want to quickly warm up the milk. The stove method will give you far more control over how much the milk heats than any other heating technique.
- Pour out the desired serving size in a pot and set it to heat on medium-low.
- Wait for the mixture to steam or bubble on the sides. The goal here is to not agitate the milk or cause it to violently bubble. You just want to heat it enough to your liking.
- If you have a heat diffuser then you can get great results by indirectly heating the oat milk through the diffuser.
Use a cooking thermometer to accurately measure the temperature of the mixture as it heats and take it off the stove as soon as it reaches 150°F for the best texture.
The oven method is tedious and time-consuming, but it can produce consistent results since it uses ambient heat to warm up the mixture instead of direct heat.
We recommend this method for anyone who wants to safely warm up large batches of milk without changing the texture.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F.
- Use an appropriately-sized oven-safe container and place it on the middle rack.
- Turn down the heat to 150°F and let the mixture heat for about 5-8 minutes. Check if it’s adequately heated after the 5-minute mark and adjust the remaining heating time accordingly.
Oat milk is a delicious and fantastic vegan alternative to dairy. Heating it may be challenging, but you can use some precise techniques to warm up oat milk just like regular milk.
Here are some related questions about heating oat milk:
Can you add oil to homemade oat milk?
Adding a bit of oil to homemade oat milk can improve its consistency and keep it from thickening when heating it – but it may also slightly change its flavor and even make it less healthy.
A better alternative would be to use digestive enzyme capsules that contain amylase, which can help break down the carbohydrate in the mixture. This resultant mixture will be runnier but will be able to withstand heat just like regular milk.
Can you freeze oat milk?
Yes. Oat milk can be frozen which will significantly increase its shelf life by several months. The best way to store it would be in an airtight container.
Always thaw the milk in the fridge overnight before using it. Avoid heating frozen oat milk as it may lead to a mushy and slimy mess.