Reverse Engineering Oatly

April 25th 2020

I’ve really come to love the Oatly Barista Edition Oat Drink. Since I’m stuck at home and I’ve run out of Oatly, I’m working on replicating it. I started by doing a review of oat milk recipes online to figure out the oat to water ratio. The average is close to 1:4. Interestingly, the ingredients on the international Oatly website give the oat ratio at 1:10

Unfortunately the recipes procedures don’t match up as well. Some recipes suggested soaking the oats; others said that would make the oat milk slimy. Some said that rising the oats after soaking would make the oat milk not slimy. Other said that overblending would make the oat milk slimy. I guess the takeaway is that sometimes oat milk is slimy.

Armed with the ratio, I made a batch of oat milk for my morning coffee. It was underwhelming. It broke apart and looked a bit like miso soup, which Oatly never does.

I reviewed the Oatly recipe, and saw the second ingredient was rapeseed oil (aka canola). I used the same ratio of oats, but added some canola. The canola helped the mouthfeel, and tamped down the oaty flavor somewhat. Two pinches of sugar in my coffee mug with the coffee and the oat milk wasn’t bad. Though it wasn’t as good as Oatly.

I really needed to figure out what Oatly is doing. I turned to the ingredients list and nutrition facts. With some detective work I should be able to determine what the recipe ratios are. I think my ratios for oats, water and canola are pretty close. I’m pretty certain that Oatly needs Dipotassium Phosphate. I’ve made a guess on the amount based on the nutritional facts showing potassium and phosphorus.

I’m currently sourcing food grade Dipotassium Phosphate for my next experiments. I also wonder if there’s a secret processing step that Oatly has up their sleeve.

Ingredients by Weight for 100ml
Rapeseed Oil2.3gringredient
Dipotassium Phosphate0.5gringredient
Calcium Carbonate  vitamin
Calcium Phosphates  vitamin
Iodised Salt0.1gringredient
D2  vitamin
Riboflavin  vitamin
B12  vitamin

I’ve noted which ingredients I think make functional changes to the recipe and which I think are added just as vitamins.

Update: Don’t miss part two of the project!