Yogurt is considered one of the healthiest foods, because it contains active cultures of beneficial bacteria as well as vitamins and minerals. Fortunately, as vegans we can find vegan soy or coconut yogurt in some organic shops and we can enjoy it plain or in several sweet and savory creations, although most of the times its price is pinched. Since I love yogurt I started making my own soy yogurt, which is much cheaper and so I can afford consume it regularly and take advantage of its wonderful taste and its amazing benefits. The recipe is simple and is based on the traditional Greek yogurt manufacturing process, using soy yogurt as a starter, without the use of any animal-derived ingredients. In fact, the preparation requires no special technique and it can be made by anyone, providing that attention is paid in some parameters during the process.
Soy yogurt is prepared from soy milk that has been fermented. The fermentation is performed by some strains of good bacteria, mainly Lactobacilli, the main yogurt -making bacteria, that feed on the sugars that are dissolved in the milk and produce lactic acid, which gives the sour taste in the yogurt. Lactobacilli and some other strains of bacteria involved in the process, are living organisms and so, in order to survive and multiply (and of course make our yogurt) they require certain conditions. Actually the only one of these conditions that will concern us is the temperature. If we expose the microorganisms in high temperatures, above 45 ° C, most likely they will die, while low temperatures, even room temperature, do not favor Lactobacilli and as a result they multiply very slowly. In both cases our little helpers will fail to do their job we will fail making yogurt. The ideal temperature for real, thick, delicious yogurt is between 40-43 ° C.
Another thing to beware of is the equipment used. Choose to make yogurt in glass or earthenware containers, suitable for foods. All the containers or pots we are going to use should be sterile, ie free of microorganisms. To achieve this boil them or put them in the oven at 100 ° C for a few minutes. This step is essential to prevent the development of undesired microorganisms during fermentation.
Therefore, following the simple instructions below, we can prepare our own healthy soy yogurt without additives, sugar or thickeners with flavor and texture similar to the commercial soy yogurt. One thing we should keep in mind is that, generally, soy yogurt is slightly less thick than the animal-derived yogurt as it contains much less fat.
- 100 gr store-bought soy yogurt, plain, at room temperature (with live cultures)
- 1 liter of soy milk at room temperature
one large or two medium earthenware or glass containers or
yogurt maker (optional)
1. Mix well the soy yogurt (it serves as yogurt starter) with the soy milk.
In the yogurt maker: Transfer the mixture in the containers of the yogurt maker and incubate for 6 hours according to the instructions. Turn off and let the yogurt cool for 3-6 hours.
If you don’t have a yogurt maker: Preheat your oven at 40-43 ° C. Transfer the mixture into 1-2 containers and place them in the oven (over the oven rack). Incubate for 6 hours and then turn off the oven and let cool for 3-6 hours.
Whether you use a yogurt maker or not, it is important to let the yogurt undisturbed during fermentation.
3. Keep in the refrigerator for one week.
Few more things:
1. I know how impatient you may be the first time you make you own yogurt but despite that please let it ferment undisturbed at least for the first six hours. If you move or stir the yogurt it may not coagulate properly.
2. All the equipment you use must be sterilized.
3. I have noticed that the higher the percentage of fat and protein in the soy milk the thicker the yogurt will be. So choose your soy milk wisely and opt for organic brands without sugar and additives. Additionally, make sure that your yogurt starter contains live cultures. Practically most plain soy yogurts contain live cultures!
4. Remember to save a few tablespoons of yogurt into a sterilized jar in the freezer (or refrigerator if you plan to make a second batch soon), in order to have a yogurt starter for the next time. When you want to make yogurt again, allow to thaw and follow the process described above.
5. At the end of the process, to achieve perfect creamy texture, stir gently with a spoon.
6. If you want to make strained yogurt, line a strainer with a cotton cloth, pour in the yogurt, cover with the cloth and let in drain in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.