Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Adventures in Yogurt Making


When I decided to go vegan, I gave up most dairy. I will cheat on little things here and there (a slice of pizza with a bit of cheese now and again) but for the most part I try to avoid the milk products. So I haven't had yogurt in over a year. I liked yogurt--my parents had a yogurt maker when I was growing up, and I have wanted one of my own for awhile. I put yogurt-making out of my head until recently, when I saw this blog entry on how to make yogurt without a yogurt maker, in your crock pot.

Which got me to thinking . . .

If people are clever enough to make regular yogurt in their slow cookers, what if I could do the same with soy? So I went investigating. And I found this recipe, which uses commercial soy milk ( I haven't come to the point where I want to make my own yet--I like that the stuff I buy is organic and already vitamin fortified . . . I'll have to re-evaluate later on . . . )

So after much searching (my regular grocery store didn't have either the Agar or the tapioca starch) I acquired the necessary ingredients, and one night I gave it a go. With mixed results. I think that I need to break down and just buy a candy thermometer so that I can follow the directions precisely, because my yogurt came out the proper consistency, but without the tartness. So I don't know if my yogurt was too hot and it killed the cultures, or what. But it was pretty simple other than that--and I was able to use my slow cooker to let my yogurt warm overnight--so I think that after a few times through I should have the hang of it. Even though it was milder than I would have liked, it still tasted yummy, and should make some wonderful frozen yogurt! The recipe can be found on the same site as the soy yogurt recipe, but I will reprint it here for anyone interested. You can probably just use regular yogurt if you aren't vegan . . .

To Make Fruit-Flavored Frozen Soy Yogurt: in a blender mix 2 1/2 cups soy yogurt with 3/4 cup organic sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, lemon, almond or orange extract. Optional is 2 TB vodka or appropriately fruit flavored liqueur (alcohol keeps frozen desserts from freezing rock-solid). Blend well. Add 1/2 cups berries or chopped fruit (fresh or frozen). Blend until mixed. Freeze according to directions for your ice cream making machine.

As I didn't have any vodka on hand :o) I simply increased the vanilla extract from the half teaspoon to two TB since I wanted vanilla yogurt anyway and there is a little alcohol in the extract--it helped it not freeze so solid. I used the commercial soy yogurt the first time I tried this recipe, and it was DELICIOUS! So simple, fun and good for you. Well, as desserts go anyway!
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