Veganmofo v.2: Culture Clubbing

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.

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11 Comments

Filed under Soy Dairy, Veganmofo

11 responses to “Veganmofo v.2: Culture Clubbing

  1. I have no idea where I will keep a yogurt maker, but I must have one! I love me some soygurt, but the sugar content is just insane.

    When I was a lunch lady, I noticed that regular dairy stuff that was served to the kids had about 20g of sugar for a tiny 3oz. So sad! I miss plain yogurt with orange juice concentrate poured on it, like my mom used to make me.

  2. I’m also a picky yogurt person. Mostly, because I prefer an unsweetened soy yogurt to cook savories with, but can’t get the Wildwood brand down here. I don’t make yogurt often, but I started making my own way back in the early 90s. I’ve found many yogurt makers at thrifts, but have now unloaded them all since we’re moving soon. My most successful yogurt follows Bryanna’s instructions, but yours sounds easy since you don’t add any pectin.

    Thanks for a great post, I just discovered your blog when you commented on Cake Maker.

    xo
    kittee

  3. I am also extremely picky about yogurt. I have been keeping an eye out for an inexpensive yogurt maker (broke writer, here), but haven’t found one yet that doesn’t need a “mix.” Blech.

    And my oven gets too hot, I think, to try incubating yoga in there for an extended time. Have you tried using a thermos or any of those other, low-tech methods? I am curious.

    Thank Vegod for Wildwood …

  4. terryromero

    Hi Karyn!

    I haven’t checked out the old fashioned methods…I guess I was just excited about crowding the kitchen with more gadgets galore. I even have a perfectly good thermos that could use some face time.

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean by needing a “mix”…do you mean starter? I just use soymilk and soy yogurt with my yogurt maker. So far my favorite combo is plain Silk yogurt with plain, sweetened organic Vitasoy. Apparently some sweetener is necessary for the bacteria to grow and do their thing, but the final ‘gurt is far less sweet than purchased plain soy yo.

  5. No – the cheap yogurt maker currently on amazon is designed to work with this “dairy mix” stuff … I think it’s basically a starter, but I’d rather get a machine that is designed to work with soy yogurt + soy milk. I just haven’t found a one-quart in my price range, yet (and yup, I’ve thrifted).

    My favorite yogurt ever was this cream-top maple-flavored stuff, so rich and creamy, I liked it better than ice cream! I do like plain Wildwood – I like thick yogurts – but I’d like to make my own. Eventually. 🙂

  6. Why does the UK have better soya products?! I fell in love with the Alpro Peach & Pear yoghurt, SO good!

  7. sojade? really? it is okay, but it is no provamel or alpro. those two are definitely the best soy yoghurts i’ve ever had – i find sojade to be way too dessert-y. i eat the occasional banana- or blueberry sojade, don’t get me wrong, but it is just not all that yoghurt-y to me. more like pudding?

    anyway, like your blog!

  8. sojade is definitely not the best soy yoghurt. i am so much more into provamel or alpro! so good. try it is you get the chance.
    i like your blog!

  9. sojade: yes.
    sojasun: yes.
    alpro. yes.
    but above all, sojade: yes.

  10. This is great! I’m terrified of making my own soy yogurt, but now I’m very intrigued.

    And hey! I have that Culture Club album, but it’s hanging on my wall.

  11. I can totally relate to this. Although I live in a country that has an abundance of alpro yoghurts, I make my own. I got to try sojade once or twice, and then my health food store stopped carrying it. What bugs me most is the artificial flavour in all of the commercial yoghurts. And the plain stuff has too much of a beany taste, which is totally not the case with my homemade yoghurt. If I can do it, why can’t they, too?

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