Y’all know how much I love my gadgets. I really, really do. And one I’ve had for a really long time is my Cuisinart yogurt maker. It makes yogurt really simple. Just add milk, starter, stir, and let it go for 8 hours (see that recipe here).
How about non-dairy yogurt though?
Making vegan yogurt poses special problems. You see, milk or cream is made up of three components: water, fat and proteins. When milk is homogenized, they all hang together. But add heat or bacteria (or both) and the mixture breaks, creating solids, which is how yogurt and cheese are made.
Vegan milk is different in its chemical makeup. The biggest challenge with making a dairy-free yogurt is that it won’t thicken in the same way. You often have to add something to thicken it, like agar or some kind of starch.
A few months back, before the world shut down, I was attending a trade show and was excited to discover a vegan yogurt starter from Yogourmet. This is a product I’ve been using for years to make dairy yogurt, so I was super stoked that they had created a non-dairy version.
It’s supposed to be as simple to make as the regular stuff; you heat your soy milk to just over 100 degrees, then add the starter, and then put it into the yogourt maker for 6-8 hours.
Soy and coconut (find my coconut yogurt recipe here) are most often used in non-dairy yogurts. Soy is most like dairy in terms of its chemical makeup, and coconut has lots of fat, giving it that creamy mouth feel.
You can watch the entire process (this was the first time I tried this ever) here:
The final result was… okay. It was kind of lumpy and not as thick as I ideally would have liked for it to be. I think maybe no matter which milk you are using for a vegan yogurt, you need to use some kind of thickener. I’ll experiment next with oat milk and thickeners… stay tuned!
Download the directions on how to make Vegan Soy Yogurt here.