Sunday, March 23, 2014

Homemade Soy Yogurt in My Incubator

Soy yogurt was a success!

I tried making soy yogurt in my crock pot a while ago. It was a disaster! I forgot to check on it, and it boiled over and crusted everywhere. Not fun to clean up.

Making it with my incubator was much easier! I used Fat Free Vegan's soy yogurt recipe as my general guidelines. Instead of pouring boiling water over everything to sterilize, I just washed everything in my dishwasher and used it as soon as it was done.

It took way longer than 4 minutes to get my soymilk to boiling in my microwave. Next time I'm just going to heat it on the stove.

My ingredients:

I live in a not-too-small town, one hour away from a major city. But no stores near me even sell raw cashews, tempeh, or (until recently) vegan yogurt. I lucked out and found Almond Dream yogurt at my grocery store recently! I used that as my starter. Next time I order tempeh starter from Cultures For Health, I'm going to order their powered vegan yogurt starter. I don't want to rely on my (ever finicky with stocking vegan and organic items) grocery store to be in the mood to carry vegan yogurt when I need it.

I couldn't find plain yogurt, so I got vanilla flavored. It gave my yogurt a very slight, but nice, vanilla flavor.

Here's the yogurt culturing in my incubator! I used half-pint sized (8oz) canning jars.

I cultured it for about 12 hours. I didn't realize at first that my incubator wasn't actually hot enough. When I did my trials, I had the thermometer on a wire rack (about half way up). I don't need the rack for yogurt, so I took it out and put the yogurt at the bottom. It didn't occur to me that there might be a bit of temperature difference within the incubator (hot air rises). So the bottom was not at hot as it should be. I just closed the door and bit more.

I tasted it during the culturing process for that desired "tang", but it never quite tasted "tangy" enough for me. Tasting warm yogurt is a bit weird, so maybe I just couldn't tell. The final product wasn't as tangy as store bought though, but still decent. Next time I'll try to get this process started earlier in the day so I can let it culture for a longer time. I didn't want to leave it overnight, since I don't know what over-culturing will do.

I got 6 jars out of this batch. I didn't measure them, but I estimate it at being about 6oz of yogurt in each jar.

My favorite ways to eat yogurt: with granola

and with organic fruit. (I added frozen fruit to the yogurt and put it back in the fridge. The fruit was thawed in the yogurt within a day.)

I'm saving one jar to use as my starter for my next batch, which I expect to do sometime next week. I've read that it's possible to use yogurt from a previous batch up to 6 consecutive times before needing to start over with a fresh starter.