Thick creamy soy yogurt that sets like a charm without any yogurt maker and is delicious! With only two ingredients, the process is much simpler than you think; you may never buy vegan yogurt again. Serve with your favourite toppings or add to smoothies and why not to curry sauces for that extra depth of flavour.
One thing that I still haven’t found a brand that I love here in Canada is vegan yogurt. There is a particular brand of coconut yogurt that I sometimes buy but so far, none have quite ticked all the boxes for me in terms of taste, texture, flavours and not to mention price.
In the UK and Ireland, I used to love Alpro Soya yogurt. This is not a sponsored post by the way. I just loved Alpro, they definitely did the best yogurt I’ve ever tasted. I preferred it even to the dairy yogurt that I used to have before.
It was quite a shock for me the first time that I had store-bought vegan yogurt in Canada. It just was not yogurt. The texture is what I find to be plain weird. It’s ladened with thickeners that creates a somewhat gel-like gummy consistency that is just not what I know yogurt to be like.
Naturally, I had to get my hands on making my own yogurt. My mum used to make milk curd back in the day when I was a kid and I used to love her homemade yogurt so much.
The great thing about yogurt is that you only need a starter for the 1st batch. Then after that, you just use a little bit of the yogurt that you get as a starter for the next batch and so on. If you keep the cycle going and once you get the hang of it, you’ll have an endless supply of delicious homemade yogurt with no gums, thickeners, sweeteners, additives or weird flavours.
There are a few things to keep in mind when making vegan yogurt.
The Choice of Plant-based Milk
The plant-based milk that you use has to contain a high amount of protein. My preference is homemade soy milk. But you can also use homemade almond or cashew milk. Coconut milk will require some thickeners and I have my own recipe and method of making coconut yogurt that I’ll keep for another day.
I strongly recommend using homemade milk if you want to have good quality yogurt that sets properly. Store-bought plant-based milk don’t have enough protein, and the additives — thickeners, sugar or vanilla/flavourings — may prevent the yogurt from setting properly.
Store-bought Soy Milk
If you want to use store-bought milk, you need to find a good quality one that contains soy (or almond/cashew) and water only, like Edensoy (in Canada) or Westsoy (in the US). Otherwise, just go for homemade, it makes a big difference in taste and texture.
For successful yogurt to happen, the temperature of the milk is important. Around 42C /108F (but not less) is the optimum temperature for the starter without killing the friendly bacteria. If you don’t have a thermometer (I don’t either), just test the temperature by touch. Make sure your hand is very clean then bend your first finger and dip your knuckle into the soy milk. The temperature should be warmer than your body temperature. If you can’t hold your finger in there for more than 5 seconds then the milk is too hot. Leave it to cool a little longer.
For the second batch of soy yogurt, you will be using the yogurt that you made from the first batch. Since you would have kept the yogurt in the refrigerator, it will be cold. So, leave the starter yogurt on the counter for at least 2 hours or until it reaches room temperature (between 18-24C or warmer depending on region). Then mix the starter with the warm soy milk. If you were to use the cold yogurt right out of the fridge, it would cool down the soy milk too much and the lower temperature won’t activate the starter.
If you are thinking of heating up the soy milk to a higher temperature to make up for the temperature loss (of using the cold yogurt), then toss that idea out of your head. The higher temperature will most probably kill the starter in the yogurt, resulting in no curding at all. Or you might end up with watery yogurt.
You may get a vegan yogurt starter but I’ve been using probiotic capsules with excellent results. You can get any one out there. I use the Now Probiotic-10 25 Billion capsule. You may also use acidophilus formula with 2.4 billion CFUs per serving. Both comes in a vegan gel capsule that you can easily open and use the powder inside.
When I make the 1st batch of yogurt, I like to start with a slightly stronger concentration of probiotic – 1 capsule per cup [240 ml] of soy milk. This will yield a really tangy yogurt. Once you get the first yogurt, use 1/2 cup [120 ml] per litre of milk for subsequent batches. Your yogurt will get better with the 3rd batch onward. And by then, you’ll probably be making homemade yogurt all the time.
If your yogurt starter stops working or starts producing watery yogurt, then go back with the capsules again and make some fresh starter.
You don’t need a yogurt maker, crock pot or pressure cooker with yogurt setting to make yogurt. You can use your oven with the lights turned on for the whole fermentation time, or (if there are no lights in your oven) preheat it on the lowest temperature for about 10 minutes. Then turn off the oven before placing the yogurt pots in. If the climate where you live is very warm (above 30C / 86F indoor), you may just leave the yogurt pots in an undisturbed warm place on the counter.
How to Make Soy Milk + Soy Yogurt
The video below guides you through the process of making the homemade soy milk and then the soy yogurt.
Homemade Soy Yogurt
Ingredients (for 1 litre of yogurt)
1st batch only: 4 probiotic capsules (with 25 billion CFUs each or 5 capsules with 2.4 billion CFUs each)
All subsequent batches: ½ cup [120 ml] of plain yogurt from your last batch as a starter
If using the oven for incubation, preheat it at the lowest temperature for 5 – 10 minutes.
Place the milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Turn off and let it cool down to about 42C / 108F.
Open the probiotic capsules and sprinkle the powder onto the milk.
Whisk and stir until all powder is dissolved.
Pour the milk into clean pots and screw the lids on.
Tun off the oven and turn the light on (if it has a light bulb).
Place the yogurt pots in the oven or leave them in a warm (above 30C / 86F) undisturbed place.
Leave to ferment for about 8 hours.
The yogurt will be set by this time.
Transfer to the refrigerator.
Save 1/2 cup [120ml] of yogurt from this batch for the next one as starter, i.e. you don’t need the capsules again for the next batch. You can use the yogurt from the last batch for each subsequent batches.
To serve, you may whisk the yogurt a little for a creamier texture and add sugar, maple syrup or other sweeteners of choice. You may add fruits as natural sweeteners.
Notes: If your yogurt starter stops working or makes watery yogurt, go back with the capsules and make some fresh starter yogurt again.
If you like your soy yogurt sweet, sweeten it after it has set into yogurt. Do not sweeten the milk before. You won’t get the best results with sweetened milk.
Pin this easy process of making soy yogurt for later
- 1 litre of homemade soy milk (watch the video [see notes] or use unsweetened PLAIN soy milk with water and soybeans as the only ingredients like Edensoy [in Canada] or Westsoy [in the US])
- 1st batch only: 4 probiotic capsules (with 25 billion CFU each or at least 5 capsules with 2.4 billion CFU each)
- All subsequent batches: ½ cup [120 ml] of plain yogurt from your last batch as a starter
- If using the oven for incubation, preheat it at the lowest temperature for 5 - 10 minutes.
- Place the milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Turn off and let it cool down to about 42C / 108F.
- Open the probiotic capsules and sprinkle the powder onto the milk.
- Whisk and stir until all powder is dissolved.
- Pour the milk into clean pots and screw the lids on.
- Tun off the oven and turn the light on (if it has a light bulb).
- Place the yogurt pots in the oven or leave them in a warm (above 30C / 86F) undisturbed place.
- Leave to ferment for about 8 hours.
- The yogurt will be set by this time.
- Transfer to the refrigerator.
- Save ½ cup [120ml] of yogurt from this batch for the next one as starter, i.e. you don't need the capsules again for the next batch. You can use the yogurt from the last batch for each subsequent batches.
- To serve, you may whisk the yogurt a little for a creamier texture and add sugar, maple syrup or other sweeteners of choice. You may add fruits as natural sweeteners.
If your yogurt starter stops working or makes watery yogurt, go back with the capsules and make some fresh starter yogurt again.
If you like your yogurt sweet, sweeten it after it has set into yogurt. Do not sweeten the milk before. You won't get the best results with sweetened milk.
Where to buy -
Plain Soy Milk (with no additives):
In Canada - Edensoy - https://amzn.to/2O02pZI
In the US - Westsoy - https://amzn.to/2uDxY3v
Now Probiotic-10 25 Billions CPU - https://amzn.to/2uxrzqw
Acidophilus formula 2.4 Billions CPUs - https://amzn.to/2zP85CO
Enjoy your freshly made soy yogurt any way you like. You may also substitute the coconut milk in curries with yogurt for a lighter curry like in this Jackfruit Curry.