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This week's Blogger Secret Ingredient event, hosted by Mo's Kitchen, is focused around rice. I've been sitting on half-completed version of this rice-centric post for a couple of months now, and thought it was the perfect time to pull it out of the wings and finish it up.
First of all, I just have to get this out there: in my heart of hearts, I have nothing against dairy. Unfortunately, my digestive system disagrees with my heart, and my digestive system wins the argument. But I love the stuff. I grew up in Wisconsin eating cheese (and coincidently, dealing with lots of stomach cramps). If I had my druthers, I'd be out buying raw milk for homemade kefir, baking with buttermilk, eating Greek yogurt, scarfing down cave-aged chevre, and drinking coffee laced with half & half. Plus, I have a romance with those charming little milk bottles, and have daydreams of owning a herd of dairy goats (if only goats came in lactose-free breeds...).
In my opinion, all those store-bought milk substitutes will never be as good and wholesome as real, pure milk products from responsibly raised dairy animals. I know that many people will disagree with me on that, but I hold firm. Really, look at the ingredients next time you pick up that carton of fake milk - you'll see added oils, thickeners, stabilizers, and sweeteners, even in the organic ones. Many of them are nothing but refined carbohydrates and simple sugars. I want the purity of real milk, something simple, without carageenan or xanthan gum or safflower oil or guar gum or sweeteners or whatever other stuff they throw in there.
Then one day it dawned on me - why not try making my own rice milk? I make almost everything else from scratch - broth, bouillon, carob chips, flour, baking powder, just to name a few. I really hate paying so much money for something that offers little to no nutritional value, is massively processed, uses non-recyclable landfill-clogging packaging, and sometimes doesn't even taste that good. I figured it couldn't be much more complicated than rice and water, right? Why not give it a go?