Did you know that plant milk is not actual milk? In fact, it’s just a beverage made from certain plant-based extracts. An even more surprising thing to know is that plant milk is considered to be a non-dairy product.
So why do they call it milk, if it’s not milk?
Regardless of what plant milk is, the good news is that you can microwave it. Of course, it all depends on whom it is intended for; you should never microwave anything that is intended for consumption by a baby.
This is because microwave ovens heat food unevenly, causing hot spots and curdling. If microwaved milk is consumed by a baby then there is a high chance that the baby’s mouth and throat may burn.
Otherwise, if you want to microwave plant milk for adults and children that are old enough to consume it, then you have the green light to do so.
Plant milk comes from about 17 different sources. These are:
Any of these plant milk alternatives may be heated in a microwave. In this article, I will provide you with all the information that you will need to get the best results from microwaving your favorite plant milk.
Is It Safe to Microwave Plant Milk?
It is generally safe to heat plant milk in a microwave, however, if someone doesn’t take the necessary precautions things can go wrong. Before you put your container of plant milk into your microwave, ask yourself these questions:
- Am I using a microwave-safe container?
- Is my container sealed?
- What am I sealing my container of plant milk with?
- Is my container filled to the very top with plant milk?
Firstly, you must always use a microwave-safe container when heating anything in a microwave. There are many containers marketed as such but if you don’t have any, ensure that you avoid using metallic containers, styrofoam, plastic bags, insulated travel mugs, and bottles to keep on the safe side.
Secondly, if you seal the container of plant milk with a seal-tight cover, you run the risk of it exploding in the microwave. It is best to cover your microwave-safe container with a paper towel or plastic wrap to avoid any unnecessary mess.
Thirdly, it is best to heat your plant milk in small portions, ensuring that the container is not filled to the top. The reason for this is that as the milk heats, it may boil over and create a mess. Speaking from experience, it’s always best to fill ¾ of the container with your plant milk.
Lastly, even though it is safe to microwave plant milk, doing so at a very high temperature may result in nutritional loss. Each type of plant milk has an optimal temperature at which it can be heated to prevent any loss of nutritional value.
How Long Can You Microwave Plant Milk?
Most plant milk can be heated in the microwave for about 15 – 30 seconds, depending on the temperature. I find that heating some at 72 degrees Celsius (162 degrees Fahrenheit) gets the job done really well, and very quickly. Some plant milk (such as the ones made of roasted nuts) can, however, handle higher temperatures.
Also, be sure not to overheat your plant milk for the reasons mentioned before. If plant milk is overheated, it may lose its protein, fat and antioxidant properties which are all the good reasons for drinking plant milk, aside from the tastiness.
Here is a list of the best temperatures to be used for microwaving some plant milk:
- Oat milk: 145 °F (62.78 °C)
- Almond milk: 149°F (65°C)
- Soy milk: 140°F (60°C)
- Coconut Milk: 140°F (60°C)
If the temperature is too high for some plant milk, you may observe curdling.
How To Microwave Plant Milk Without Curdling
Plant milk will curdle if its pH balance is distorted, and can also curdle if the temperature is too high. What happens is that the heat will create a reaction that separates the proteins of the milk, causing these emulsified contents to coagulate. The end result is an unpleasant texture and taste which is what we should try to avoid when microwaving our plant milk.
If curdling occurs during microwaving, it is still safe for consumption regardless of its unpleasant texture. If, however, the plant milk has curdled before heating then that would suggest it has gone bad and should not be consumed.
Based on research, oat milk has the least tendency to coagulate of all the plant milk available on the market. So if you want to know which plant milk is best to go for when avoiding curdling, oat milk is the way to go.
You can still prevent curdling of your plant milk regardless of the type, by microwaving for 15 seconds and stirring. If after the first 15 seconds your plant milk is not heated to your liking, repeat the process until you are satisfied.
Best way to microwave plant milk
To get the best results when microwaving plant milk, follow the steps outlined below:
- Get a suitably-sized microwave-safe container to pour your plant milk into.
- Fill ¾ of the container with plant milk. It is always best to heat in small portions.
- Use a paper towel, parchment paper, or plastic wrap to cover the container of plant milk and place it into the microwave.
- Set the appropriate temperature (generally, 72 degrees Celsius or 162 degrees Fahrenheit will get the job done in no time).
- Place the covered container into the microwave and heat for about 15 seconds (no more than 30 seconds).
- After 15 seconds, stir the plant milk and check for curdling. If it has been heated enough for you then you’re all set. If not, repeat steps 5 and 6 until you are satisfied.
Other ways to heat plant milk
We can all agree that using a microwave is a very convenient method of heating, but what if I told you that there is another way of heating plant milk. This method doesn’t come with the risk of curdling. If you’re interested in learning more about this method then continue reading.
- Double Boiler Method: This can be done using a double boiler pot. Pour some water into the bottom pot of the double boiler, then pour your plant milk into the top section. Next, place the entire double boiler pot onto the stove and allow it to heat on medium to low heat.
If you don’t have a double boiler pot there is no need to worry. You can make a DIY double boiler using a glass container and a saucepan. The plant milk goes into the glass container and some water should be poured into the saucepan.
It is important for you to avoid directly heating plant milk on a stovetop. This is why using the double boiler method is a very good heating method since it doesn’t cause the milk to boil over and lose essential protein components. While it heats, you may stir occasionally until the plant milk has acquired the desired temperature.
There are many varieties of plant milk, each with its own optimal heating temperature. The most convenient method of heating them is by using a microwave oven. To avoid curdling in the microwave, be sure to stick with the general temperature of 72 degrees Celcius, or check out the listed temperatures above.
Once the temperature is perfect then the chances of curdling are greatly reduced and you can enjoy a serving of your favorite plant milk. If you are not sure about the temperature, you can stick with heating in a microwave at 50 percent power for 15 to 30 seconds.
That’s it from me. Enjoy your not-so-much-of-a-milk beverage whether it may be almond, soy, or oat “milk”.