Monday, September 5, 2011

Taste Test: Silk vs. Almond Breeze



Lori and I had been wrestling with the idea of cutting out cow’s milk from our diet so we finally decided to take a leap and purchase Silk (a soy based milk) and Almond Breeze (as you may have guessed, it’s an almond based milk). We opted to try a blind taste-test between Silk’s Unsweetened Organic variety and Blue Diamond’s Unsweetened Almond Breeze. A prior experience with sweetened Silk made our tomato soup a bit too sweet, and we just couldn't talk ourselves into drinking it straight.






There were two main reasons for this test:


1.    To find a tolerable, plant-based substitute for cow’s milk
2.    To give others some idea as to what these products taste like (we have yet to find a local store offering samples)

We don’t profess to be culinary experts, but we hope we can at least give you an idea as to what to expect from dairy alternatives.

LORI: The last time we tried a Silk product, I was unfortunately a bit underwhelmed. Not because the product itself was bad, but rather because I was naively hoping that it would taste exactly like the cow's milk I have been accustomed to drinking for decades (ugh, did I just say that out loud?). Soy milk was not like anything I had ever tasted before and my palate didn't know what to make of it. I just couldn't get past the sweetness.

During the time since that first tasting however, my priorities shifted a bit and my desire to wean myself off dairy products has outweighed my finicky taste buds. So I took a deep breath, and did my best to go into this taste test with an open mind.

To keep any preconceived notions to a minimum we decided to do the test blindly. I left the room while John poured one serving of Organic Unsweetened Silk and one of Unsweetened Original Almond Breeze into identical unmarked glasses. Immediately I noticed a color difference between the two, but I had no idea which was which.

One was a creamy off-white color with a nondescript flavor, while the other had more of a light tawny hue and a nuttier taste (I'll give you three guesses which one that turned out to be). I can't say I liked one more than the other, but I did get the impression that each would be better in different applications:



Silk: Probably best for recipes where you don't want to impart any extra flavor, or wherever you would normally use cow's milk.

Almond Breeze: Good for *coffee, sipping, and "grown-up" cereals that would hold up well to the nuttiness (a.k.a. any cereal that touts its fiber content and doesn’t have a cartoon character on the box).

*UPDATE: Since the taste test we have made the unsavory discovery that Almond Breeze does not work well with iced coffee. It tastes fine in hot coffee, even gives it a flavor reminiscent of those fancy creamers women seem to love so much in those commercials, but for some reason when you add ice it begins to taste less like almonds and reminds you more of the scent of cat urine (sorry for the distasteful imagery).


JOHN: I don’t drink as much milk as Lori, so my opinions varied slightly. For me, both products were head-to-head with dairy milk in terms of being creamy, and both were creamier than skim milk. You can actually smell and taste the nuts in Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze. While it’s not overpowering, if you’re not much of an almond fan it would definitely take some getting used to. I used it with my shredded wheat cereal this morning and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Silk, coming in second place for me, had a unique smell. It reminded me of a cross between a soybean and some Elmer’s school glue. Silk is definitely earthier and has a plant-like taste right off the bat. I don’t dislike Silk, and if it was the only choice I would definitely drink it. Lori made a great point about using Silk to cook with and Almond Breeze for other things, I guess that’s going to take some experimenting. We may even have to make another blog post about when to use Silk and when to use Almond Breeze.

Update: Now that we’ve gone through a half gallon of Almond Breeze and a whole gallon of Silk, I have to change my bid. I always find myself grabbing the Silk for cooking, iced coffee and cereal.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed your double blind "milk" test. I don't know what that means but I heard it in commercials. It was "utterly" fascinating! (No, UNutterly fascinating.LOL!) I tried one of those almond milk brands and it had no sweetness at all. What did I do wrong? Also, it did not mix well with HOT coffee. I think it was the Silk brand. Anyway, I hope you keep this info going. Are you doing this simply for your health or you love animals and don't want to see them killed for food.I've always been curious about how to stay healthy without eating meat. I know the Paul McCartney story so if you have the same basic feelings as him I get it. Stay cool and keep with the school!

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