We got out shredded coconut yesterday.
The box was much smaller than I expected. Not unreasonably small - the 8oz bags are about half of typical 16oz size, and they're compressible, so 12 can fit in a pretty small space. But I think there's an expectation, given the cost, that it's going to be a huge box. The shreds themselves were smaller, too - it is very finely shredded, not like the normal store shredded coconut. This is just fine for our purposes, really.
This time, I mixed 1 cup of coconut with 2 cups very hot water, left it to sit for several hours, and then blended it. It came out VERY thick, and not particularly smooth, but not as grainy as the previous batch, either. A lot of the liquid was absorbed, and pressing it through the strainer, I only got about a half cup of milk. That won't do!
I blended it some more, and added another cup or so of water. That produced about 2 cups of liquid of quite acceptable quality. I tried it in my coffee this morning, and it was fine.
I ate some of the leftover coconut pulp along with some pineapple for dessert. I'll have to figure out something fun to do with the rest of it. I want to experiment with coconut flour baking, and this may be a way to do it without using up our supply (because it won't get bought again if it isn't a savings over the canned milk!). Another option is to try making a second-press for just drinking straight.
There was a solid layer on top this morning (presumably the oil). Not a bad thing, since that means the oils are there and the emulsifiers aren't, but it makes it a touch hard to use. I can either make it in smaller quantities and store it in one of our lidded Magic Bullet knock-off cups for easy re-blending in the morning, or just get it out first thing and leave it on the counter until it comes up to temperature.
Last time I made coconut milk from shredded coconut, the resulting milk was very sweet and directly drinkable. This was more like standard coconut milk - not bad, but not quite so horchata-like. I kind of suspect the other coconut we used (a foreign brand) may have had added sweetener that wasn't listed on the label.
Next time (after we use the milk I already made, plus the 2 cans I already (accidentally) opened before the coconut arrived, so it could be a few days), I'm going to try adding just enough water to thoroughly wet the coconut, leave it soaking overnight, blend that, and then add more water to get to the desired consistency. I think this will allow more contact with the blender blades, and get it even smoother.
I'm sure this all sounds like a lot of work for coconut milk compared to just opening the can, but it really comes out to about 5 minutes of actual doing-stuff, so it's worth it, especially if done in large enough quantity - I'm likely to start doing a quart at a time once I get the process down.
And if this all works out, I think that next time we're going to go for the 22lb bag, which brings the cost down to $0.14/oz of shredded coconut, as opposed to about $0.22/oz now.