Vegan yogurt, just like cheese is something you might often need for your favorite recipes, as I did, so I made a decision to learn how to prepare them on my own. Some time ago, when I embarked on the mission to learn how to prepare plant-based yogurt at home, I explored quite a few methods, recipes, and tips, which I plan to share with you here.
Unlike the common belief that homemade vegan yogurt is hard to put together, it is in fact remarkably uncomplicated, once you break the mind barrier that is stopping you from giving it a try. Plus, you have control over ingredients, flavors, thickness and ‘tartness’, and you can absolutely go wild on those, depending on what you feel like having right now.
Vegan yogurt making surely is a creative activity that gives one a satisfaction not unlike that of baking, bread making, or planting a seed and watching it sprout and flourish!
Only two main ingredients are needed to make yogurt, and this goes for vegan yogurt too: milk and a starter. Here is where the great exploration of new tastes kicks in, because as a vegan, you have so many options of plant based milks, including almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, soy milk, oat milk, you name it!
In case you don’t know, all you need in order to prepare homemade nut milk is soak 1 cup of nuts of your choice overnight, rinse well, add to a blender with 3 cups of fresh filtered water, and blend on high speed until you get a smooth texture, just like ‘regular’ milk. Filter through a nut milk bag and here you go! (I have to admit sometimes I skip the filtering part, I like to have the pulp in the milk, it doesn’t bother me at all – makes it feel like a pulpy smoothie).
Vegan yogurt starter
One thing that used to intimidate me most about vegan yogurt making was the starter. I was so scared it will not turn out right, because I wouldn’t get this right. The starter for any yogurt you make can either be a non-dairy yogurt starter like this one, or a store-bought ready-made soy yogurt. Once you make your first batch of vegan yogurt, you can use that as the starter for your next batch. Isn’t this awesome!
When it comes to non-dairy culture (or starter), you can find this on Amazon, or explore your local health stores. The taste of your yogurt does depend on your choice of starter, so I recommend that you try a few options and see which one best fits your taste. Some of them will produce a more acidic yogurt (especially if you add lemon as well), and others will lead to a wilder outcome.
Once you have selected the type of milk and starter, you are ready to proceed with the actual preparation of yogurt.
Here’s the first recipe to try out that I believe will fit almost any taste, this
Irresistibly Fluffy Oat Vegan Yogurt
1 cup oatmeal
3 glasses fresh water (in the original recipe, it is 4 glasses, but since we are aiming for a creamier outcome, I use just 3)
1 tablespoon lemon (optional)
2-3 tablespoons store-bought soy milk or non-dairy starter
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Soak the oatmeal in water for at least 20 mins. Rinse well, and throw into the blender with 3 cups of warm water. Blend on high speed, then filter through a nut milk bag. The final outcome should be at about 100 degrees F (you better use a thermometer). Here you can add the lemon juice, if you like your yogurt to have a slightly more acidic taste. In a separate bowl, put 2-3 tablespoons of your soy yogurt/vegan yogurt starter, mix with 1-2 tablespoons of your freshly made oat milk and stir. Pour the rest of the warm oat milk into separate jars, then add some of the starter into each of them, then stir again. Make sure that throughout the whole process, the milk stays warm. Finally, you need to wrap the jars into a blanket or something that will preserve the heat for a long time. You can also try placing them into the oven on very low heat for 8-9 hours. And voila! You have your own yogurt!
If you want your yogurt thicker, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of tapioca or agar-agar to achieve the desired texture
Once you have your yogurt, putting it in the fridge will also add some thickness, so be patient with that – it’s a part of the process
Don’t expect that vegan yogurt tastes like dairy – it doesn’t, but you can fall in love with it even more!
Once you try a few recipes and experience the convenience of having ready-made vegan yogurt for smoothies, breakfast, and cakes you will be hooked! Consider buying a yogurt maker like this one – it eases the process even more, and you will never look back to living yogurt-free on a plant-based diet!
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