Vegan Yogurt Experiment: Take One

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From the Editor: Please welcome Jerri, Cultures for Health Customer Support Rep and Cultured Kitchen Keeper.

I dragged my feet in attempting the vegan yogurt for myself. It’s been safely sitting in my fridge since this summer, awaiting the moment I’d finally have time (and the nerve) to ferment a non-dairy milk. Too many “what-ifs” also kept me from doing it.

But then, a new recipe my kids would likely enjoy came out:  Non-Dairy Orange Cream Gummies. It was time to try culturing with the vegan starter, putting my expertise and that of my colleagues to work. I can do this!

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I gathered the notes and directions on how to best be successful at culturing and thickening coconut milk. Testing the temperature of my dehydrator was next.

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I then found the stash of boxed coconut milk in my pantry. Upon opening the milk, it was separated and clumpy – so after a quick warm up on the stove, it was nice and liquid-y again. I prepared the pectin and made the calcium water so I could add both to the coconut milk. After heating/cooling the milk mixture to prepare it for the culture I carefully opened the vegan packet. Don’t spill! Don’t mess up! I mixed it in and crossed my mental fingers as I put it in the dehydrator.

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Wait. Wait. Wait. Checked at hour 5. Liquid. Checked at hour 6. Liquid. Checked at hour 7. UGH! Still liquid. 8 hours later, I declared my experiment a dismal failure.

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However, I tasted it. Hmmm, it was tangy. So, it worked, it just didn’t thicken! Well, so much for using it in the gummy recipe. I poured the yogurt into half pint jars and put them in the fridge for the night. It will not be wasted! Smoothies for breakfast! I also had this tiny voice in the back of my head saying, “It might thicken more in the fridge, Jerri….”

This morning, it had thickened! I did it!

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I see I have some experimenting to do, as it was really sour and it’s not what I would eat plain. But understanding that cultures are living organisms, dependent on the environment and conditions we provide for it, reminds me that I will figure it out and I will succeed. After all, I have the best support system at Cultures for Health!

Jerri

Jerri

Jerri is a wife and mama. Her culturing adventures began several years ago with other moms who were seeking a healthy way of feeding our families. Together they dabbled in milk kefir, yogurt, sourdough, kombucha and sauerkraut. In the past year she's expanded from sauerkraut to other vegetables, and has grown a passion for water kefir!

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Comments

  1. narf7 says

    I am vegan and I live in Tasmania Australia which means that the only non-dairy yoghurt that I can access tastes like sweet pudding and nothing like yoghurt. I have learned to make most of my vegan staples myself and had been given some milk kefir grains a few years ago that I cultured homemade soy milk with and then refreshed in cows milk once every few cultures. I decided that I didn’t want to refresh them in cows milk any more so I stopped refreshing the grains and now, after 6 months, have kefir grains that have adapted to living on homemade sesame milk sweetened with date paste. My finished kefir cultures just about anything and the results will raise bread for me as well without additional yeast. I decided to try culturing some coconut cream (canned) to see if I could get a yoghurt like product as I missed the tang. I took 2 cans of coconut cream, I pureed up 2 large fresh mangoes and 2 large very ripe pears and added the puree to the cans of coconut cream and then added about 3/4 of a cup of my finished kefir. I left it out at room temperature to see what would happen and the next morning it had thickened and was deliciously tangy and yoghurt like. Success! Cheers for the orange gummy recipe. I am going to make my new non-dairy yoghurt using orange juice and some grated zest and will see if it works in that recipe and will sub in agar for the gelatine.

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