Oat milk is one of the most popular plant-based milk alternatives – and with good reason. Here’s everything you want to know about this creamy, dreamy drink.
The History of Oat Milk
Oat milk is a relatively new product and hasn’t been around as long as other kinds of plant milk. The drink was invented in Sweden in the 1990s by Rickard Öste, a food science professor at Lund University. It was a result of his studies in lactose intolerance and sustainable food systems. He later went on to establish what is currently the biggest oat milk company.
The demand for plant-based milk alternatives in America, Europe, and Asia has been rising since the 20th century, creating the perfect consumer environment for oat milk to thrive. Today, oat milk is one of the most highly consumed plant milks, particularly in Europe and North America. Commercial oat milk, homemade oat milk, and oat milk-based products continue to grow in popularity throughout the world.
How Oat Milk Tastes
Oat milk is rich and creamy with a slightly nutty flavor and a hint of malty sweetness. Commercial varieties of oat milk can also be flavored, typically with vanilla, chocolate, or simply additional sugar.
How Oat Milk is Made
While homemade oat milk can be made by blending and straining a combination of oats and water, commercial oat milk is made by breaking down the oats’ starch with enzymes to create a smooth and creamy liquid. This gives it a consistency very close to cow’s milk. From there, additional sweeteners, flavorings, or vitamins may be added to the oat milk before it’s packaged and sold.
Uses for Oat Milk
Oat milk can be used in all the same applications as dairy milk in drinks, desserts, and even savory dishes. Its most popular use by far is for adding milky sweetness and a silky creaminess to coffee, tea, or shakes. It’s an excellent alternative for dairy milk in baked goods as well. Use it to create dense and perfectly moist muffins, banana bread, and chocolate cake. You can also use unsweetened oat milk for lush soups, pasta sauces, and risotto.