Credit: Screenshot of Rice University/ Youtube

University Chemistry Students Help Entrepreneur Discover Shelf-stable Mylk

by | April 26, 2019

A Rice University Alumna, as well as a proprietor of Awesome Bites. Co, an allergy-friendly shop for snacks in Houston, turned to chemistry students of the same university to help her craft a vegan coconut-flaxseed “mylk” (spelled as such because of the vegan tag) of her liking that won’t separate too early and fit for commercial scaling. But did they succeed? Read on to know more.

Shelf-stable Mylk
Image Provided by Rice University

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Freshman Rice University Chemistry Students Help Entrepreneur Discover Shelf-stable Mylk

Jennifer Thai is the proprietor of an allergy-friendly snack company, Awesome Bites, from Houston. In an experiment back in her test kitchen, she was trying to prepare a concoction of a vegan coconut and flaxseed milk, but a “separation” continued to bother her. Both the coconut and flaxseed milk were separating too quickly for her liking. After she visited the University as a guest speaker, her connection with the department was sparked and they started to co-operate.

Image Provided by Rice University
Shelf-stable Mylk

Revealing more about the separation that kept her away from achieving the “mylk” Jennifer wanted, she said in a press release that her first batch of the concoction separated in an acceptable seven days. “The second time, it separated in one day,” said Jennifer, adding that the next time her preparation separated in three days. “I couldn’t figure it out,” she said.

According to her, the shelf-stable “mylk” has a mouth-feel just like dairy milk, but her version is cruelty-free. And it was only the unwanted separation before her expected timing that kept the product away from commercial scaling. According to Jennifer, the ideal product should stay homogenous for a month at max.

Chemistry Came in Aid

Rice University lecturer Michelle Gilbertson took to helping Jennifer in preparing the corrected concoction that would stay as it is for more time. She reportedly took on the burden because, alongside helping Jennifer, the whole Freshman Chemistry Honors class would learn a new process that will stay with them for the lifetime.

Image Provided by Rice University
Shelf-stable Mylk

The class worked in groups for days in strict scientific methods, noting every detail they encountered during the trial, and after their final test cooking in the University test kitchen, they were able to suggest the solution to prolonged shelf life. According to the press release, Gilbertson explained that certain changes in the ratio (of the flaxseed to coconut) and using a metal strainer instead of cheesecloth can accomplish the goal.

Vegan Milk?

Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Dairy Milk replacements have drastically grown in the US in the last few years. The rise of what can be safely dubbed as “white gold,” or vegan milk, has been unstoppable. To specify, in the last five years, the U.S. plant-based milk market reportedly grew by 61 percent. The global market for non-dairy milk is supposed to reach a whopping $38 billion plus by 2024. Now that’s a figure worth wondering.

Plant-based milk is not only cruelty-free, but it’s also similarly healthy (in some cases more) to dairy milk, and the options are improving every passing day. There is quite a large number of vegan milk in simple and flavored alternatives available. Which vegan milk do you prefer? What do think about the achievement by the University students? Let me know in the comments.


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Debayan Paul

Digital Writer | West Bengal, India | [email protected]

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