Cooking is all about experimentation. When I cook, the kitchen becomes a laboratory where I can use all my senses: I look at colors, I touch textures, I feel temperatures with my skin, I smell everything, I hear the sizzling, the sounds of pouring, throwing, mixing, and of course: I taste. Make it even better with music, or just hum your own tunes that all the magic inspires!
Well, this is all true when I’m on fairly solid ground, creating something new with familiar components and processes. But what if you go on new terrains, with completely new methods, tools or ingredients?
That is called a challenge, my friends, and challenges are what make us grow! So this post is about something that I’m very excited about: Vegan Yoghurt. There are bacteria involved, to add to the science lab picture.
I love yoghurt, and I really enjoy the soy yoghurt that I can buy in the supermarket, but – although the price of vegan products are slowly going down thanks to the growing interest – it’s still for special occasions. I fell in love with all the amazing coconut yoghurt products we had on our one-month California trip back in October, and after a little bit of research I decided to give it a go: I want to make my own yoghurt!
I went to a health store and asked if they had any yoghurt bacteria I could use for vegan yoghurt and I found a supplement called ‘Symbioflor+’, it has the Vegan Society’s trademark on it. It was a 100 DKK for 60 pills. 2 pills contain: Lactobacillus acidophilus La-14 (7.5 mia), Bifidobacterium lactis Bi-07 (2.0 mia), Lactobacillus rhamnosus Lr-32 (0.5 mia), Fructo-oligosakkarider (26.0 mia)
I experimented with oat yoghurt, soy yoghurt and coconut yoghurt. Here’s what I did:
- Oat yoghurt
The cheapest, all local, most environmental friendly solution would be making oat-yoghurt once a week, so I was crossing a lot of fingers for this one!
I made oat milk with 200 ml organic oats and 8 dl warm (ca. 45 degree) water. I blended it and strained it through a nut bag (which, in my case, is a piece of cloth). Then I mixed in 2 pills of bacteria and 2 tbsp of sugar.
- Coconut yoghurt
My favorite yoghurt as far as taste goes is coconut yoghurt, so nailing my own recipe would be great.
I heated 1 can (400 ml) of coconutmilk to around 90°C then let it cool to about 45-50°C, mixed in 2 tbsp of sugar and poured the content of 2 bacteria pills.
- Soy yoghurt
Soy yoghurt is delicious, but its main ingredient, soy milk is fairly pricy. Still much cheaper than buying soy yoghurt in the store, so if it tastes good and it’s easy, I’ll go for this one.
I heated 1 l unsweetened soy milk to ca. 50°C degrees, divided it into two. In one part I mixed in 3 tbsp Alpro yoghurt and 2 tbsp sugar. In the other part I mixed in 2 bacteria pills.
- Let the culture grow!
After all the heating, supplement capsule-opening and mixing, I put all the 4 jars next to our radiator on a shelf, and covered them with a clean kitchen towel. I left them for a day mostly undisturbed, except 1 thorough but short stirring episode, where I used a clean spoon for each of the 4 jars. No cross-contamination in the lab!
After about 24 hours, the coconut yoghurt was still too runny, something has definitely started, it has the right flavours but I’m hoping that it can get better. It was done on the second evening, but bit too runny. Gotta work on the texture, but the taste is good. Bit too sweet too, next time I’ll test with 1 tbsp of sugar. Works fine as a drinking yogurt. Best if you find coconut milk without additives
The oatmilk has the flavours, but it is also too runny. I gave it a couple of more hours but not much more has happened. The watery and thicker parts separated almost completely, I could pour off almost all the see through water part from the top. I decided to try to drain the bottom part through some coffee filter, but it didn’t really worth the efforts, maybe oatmilk is just too slimy for filtering. Conclusion: I’ll try to use less water and a tiny bit more sugar next time. Also works ok as a drinking yoghurt.
The second day the soy yogurts (both kinds) were ready! I tasted them, the Alpro culture one tastes exactly like its store brought ‘mother’ yoghurt, the one I used the pill for is slightly less sweet, but really really close in flavour. They can go in the fridge, that’s gonna make those bacteria chill and slow down on their biological functions! SUCCESS!
My plan is to use a little bit of the yoghurts as a starting kit for the next batch, in this way I can make that box of bacteria pills go a long way.
So for now what I can present is a delicious soy yoghurt recipe! Here it comes:
1 l unsweetened soy yoghurt without emulsifiers
2 capsules of vegan milk acid bacteria (I used the products: Symbioflor+)
1 heap tbsp of sugar (or a syrup of your choice)
Heat the soy milk in a pot to about 75°C (this is to kill any unwelcome bacteria) than let it cool ca. 50°C. If you don’t have a thermometer, this should feel fairly hot to your skin but still bearable, not burning.
Pour in a clean jar and stir in the sugar and the content of the two bacteria pills.
Close the jar and keep in a warm undisturbed place for about a day. If you can somehow keep the temperature on a steady 45°C, your yoghurt should be ready in about 5-10 hours. This you can do next to a warm radiator, in an oven on really low temperature or with a yoghurt maker that keeps the temperate on steady 45°C.
After your yoghurt tastes ready and is thick enough, place the jar in the fridge so the bacteria stop to multiply.