Almond milk has become a popular alternative to dairy milk for those who are lactose intolerant or simply prefer a plant-based diet. But have you ever wondered how almond milk is made on a larger scale?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the production process of almond milk in a factory setting. From blanching and peeling the almonds to refining and homogenizing the final product, we’ll explore the steps involved in creating this creamy, nutritious beverage.
So grab a glass of almond milk and let’s dive in!
How Do They Make Almond Milk In A Factory?
The production process of almond milk in a factory involves several steps to ensure the final product is of high quality and has a longer shelf life.
First, dried and dehusked almonds are used as raw materials and blanched in 90-95°C water for 3-5 minutes to soften the almond skins. The softened almonds are then lifted to a roller peeling machine to remove the skin, and then transported to a drum washing machine for cleaning and disinfection.
After cleaning, the almonds are transported to a colloid mill or ultra-micro mill for refining. The obtained almond paste is filtered through a 200-mesh filter and then transported to a blending tank through a pump to mix with water, sugar, and other ingredients.
Finally, the evenly mixed almond milk is degassed, homogenized, and sterilized before being filled in small packaging containers. This process ensures that the almond milk has a longer shelf life and maintains its quality.
Blanching And Peeling The Almonds
One of the crucial steps in the production process of almond milk is blanching and peeling the almonds. The process involves soaking the almonds in hot water for a few minutes to soften the skin. The softened almonds are then fed into a roller peeling machine that removes the skin easily, leaving the kernel intact.
The blanched almonds are then transported to a drum washing machine for cleaning and disinfection. This step ensures that the almonds are free from any impurities or contaminants that may affect the quality of the final product.
Blanching and peeling the almonds also helps to partly sterilize them, which is important for maintaining the quality and shelf life of the almond milk. This is because raw almonds may contain harmful bacteria or microorganisms that can spoil the milk if not properly treated.
Grinding And Soaking The Almonds
The first step in making almond milk in a factory is to grind and soak the almonds. The almonds are soaked in clean water for at least 12 hours to make them easier to break and to awaken the enzymes on the surface of the almonds, which helps with digestion.
After soaking, the almonds are poured into a colloid mill or ultra-micro mill for grinding. Water is added to the grinder in a ratio of approximately 10:1 (water to almonds). This dilutes the fat content of the almonds, making the almond milk less thick and creamy.
The ground almond paste is then filtered through a 200-mesh sieve to remove any remaining solids. This process ensures that the almond milk is smooth and free from lumps.
It’s important to note that in some cases, almonds can be ground without peeling them first. This method saves time and money, but it can result in a slightly bitter taste due to the presence of tannins in the skin.
Straining The Almond Mixture
Once the almond paste is blended with water and other ingredients, it’s time to strain the mixture to remove any remaining solids. In a factory setting, a large filtration system is used to separate the almond milk from the almond pulp.
The filtration system typically consists of a series of screens and filters that gradually become finer, allowing only the liquid to pass through. The almond pulp is collected and processed further to create almond flour or other products.
In a home setting, a nut milk bag or cheesecloth can be used to strain the mixture. The mixture is poured into the bag or cheesecloth and squeezed until all the liquid has been extracted. This process can be repeated multiple times to ensure that all the liquid has been extracted from the almond pulp.
Once the almond milk has been strained, it can be used immediately or stored in a refrigerator for up to five days. It’s important to note that homemade almond milk may separate over time, so it’s best to give it a good shake before using.
In a factory setting, the almond milk is packaged and labeled before being shipped out for distribution. The final product is a smooth and creamy alternative to dairy milk that is enjoyed by many people around the world.
Refining And Homogenizing The Almond Milk
The refining and homogenization process is a crucial step in the production of almond milk in a factory. The almond paste obtained from the colloid mill or ultra-micro mill is mixed with water, sugar, and other ingredients in a blending tank.
The mixture is then passed through a homogenizer, which breaks down the almond particles into smaller sizes to create a smooth and creamy texture. This process also ensures that the fat content in the almond milk is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
After homogenization, the almond milk is sterilized using ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment to eliminate any bacteria or microorganisms that may cause spoilage. The UHT treatment involves heating the mixture to 90°C for a specific period, followed by rapid cooling to maintain the quality of the final product.
Once sterilized, the almond milk is filled into small packaging containers using an aseptic packaging process. This process ensures that the product remains fresh and free from contamination during transportation and storage.
Packaging And Distribution Of Almond Milk
Packaging and distribution of almond milk is an important aspect of the production process. The packaging options available for almond milk include bottles, cartons, pouches, aseptic pouches, and cans. The type of packaging chosen depends on the desired storage and distribution method.
For chilled storage and distribution, bottles or cartons are commonly used. These containers are filled with almond milk and sealed to prevent contamination. Pouches are also used for chilled storage and distribution, and they are often preferred due to their light weight and ease of transportation.
For ambient storage and distribution, aseptic pouches or cartons are commonly used. These containers are sterilized before filling with almond milk, ensuring that the product remains fresh without the need for refrigeration. Retorted pouches, bottles, or cans are also used for ambient storage and distribution.
The choice of packaging also affects the shelf life of the almond milk. Aseptic packaging provides a longer shelf life compared to other packaging options. This is because aseptic packaging prevents exposure to air and light, which can cause the quality of the almond milk to degrade over time.
Once packaged, the almond milk is ready for distribution to retail stores or directly to consumers. The distribution process involves transportation in temperature-controlled trucks to ensure that the product remains fresh during transit.