The 80’s are really making a big comeback, right? Leggings, neon purple jeans, big hair, homemade vegan yogurt…okay not so much the yogurt part. I’m just struggling to tie in the title of this blog post with my recent passion for making my own homemade soy yogurt.
At the risk of sounding like a total soy dairy curmudgeon (from my previous gripping about soy cheese), I’ve had some bad times with commercially made soy yogurt*. Flavored, unflavored, sweetened and not, soy or rice or coconut, big nationwide brands or up and coming manufacturers, I just can’t. Without going into agonizing detail about all my dislikes, the thing I can’t deal with the most is the abundance of thickeners and gums most brands have. Pasty is the word I’m looking for, which is fine for brushing teeth but not for my breakfast and smoothie making needs. And I hate sending all those little yogurt cups to the landfill.
The soy yogurt I make is as simple as it gets. I don’t add additional sweeteners, flavors, agar or starches. The resulting stuff may not be like the thick goo that most Americans are used to, but that’s how I like it. This soygurt has a light, delicate texture. The flavor is clean and sharp, with just a hint of creamy sweetness. One of my goals with homemade soy yogurt was to also steer clear of the tremendous amount of sugar that’s dumped into most brands (as much as 22g per 6 ounces…give me a real dessert instead!). I’ve successfully strained it to make it thick ala Greek-style yogurt, and even made some tasty cherry vanilla frozen yogurt.
Homemade yogurt is an insanely simple affair, as an freshly Googled blog or website should tell you. No need for special equipment, just any old glass jar or thermos, some old towels, a patient oven that lingers for hours at 100 degrees or so. Well, for a modern girl like me that would rather use time spent digging through the closet for old towels or stressing over the oven temperature, I’d much rather be browsing the web for new pleather ankle boots. So it’s all about an actual yogurt maker appliance for me.
There’s something both space age and retro-70’s (in a Logan’s Run kind of way) about my EuroCuisine yogurt maker. It sits like a spooky little spacecraft on my kitchen countertop, literally incubating seven jars of yogurt like space marines in cryogenic stasis, awaiting their time to be roused and intercept some granola. It only requires I boil up some soymilk, forget about for a while as it cools, stir in some purchased soygurt (I know, but it’s the lesser of many evils) and forget about it again. You too can feel the thrill of opening up your fridge and seeing pale white mini-jars of soygurt quietly waiting in anticipation, like in that scene where they discover the clutch of glowing eggs in Alien.
So if you’re as picky about your soygurt as I am, or am apparently as obsessed with creepy 70’s sci-fi, do find yourself a yogurt maker. The thrifty among you may very likely be able to find a vintage model at yard sales or thrift stores. Or just be impatient and order one online.
Last but not least a few tip I’ve discovered along the way:
-Get yourself a 2 quart glass pitcher for yogurt-making. It’s far easier to strain, mix, and pour milk from a pitcher than mess around with a mixing bowl.
-Kitchen sackcloth towels are great for straining cooked soymilk. Much more sturdy that cheesecloth.
-The same thing that enables soymilk to readily curdles and makes yummy tofu also help soy yogurt happen. I attempted a batch with hemp milk (which I adore for it’s creamy taste) with utter failure. I still have my sights set on almond-soy yogurt, someday.
Get culture clubbed already! No neon green spandex necessary!
*My recent UK trip lead me to Sojade , much loved by visiting US vegbloggers. Yes it deserves to be the holy grail of soy yogurts and really is all that.