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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dairy-Free Yogurt Recipe

We were not big yogurt eaters until I tried my hand at making our own dairy-free yogurt. Dairy-free yogurt can get quite pricey, especially when you want soy-free yogurt too. It is possible to find some at the nearby health food stores, but again, you are paying highly for it. And, it comes with added sugar...

I searched and found a recipe that I like, but am still in the process of experimenting with other ingredients. The recipe I have used and like consists of: 1 can of coconut milk, almond milk (the amount of the coconut milk), gelatin and SoDelicious Coconut Milk Yogurt (as my starter).

The original recipe had 2 cans of coconut milk and that totaled to 28 grams of fat. I am not sure about how great the coconut fat is, but did not like the fact that we ate all of the yogurt in one day. Of course when the new wears off the homemade yogurt we will not eat it as often, I just didn't feel good feeding it to my family.

This time I substituted 1 can of coconut milk for almond milk. I have seen recipes that call for low fat coconut milk, but have not come across any in my grocery store.

Before beginning I plugged in my yogurt maker so it would be warming.

I poured my can of coconut milk into a bowl and sprinkled the gelatin all over the surface.

While that is setting I filled the empty coconut can with the Almond Milk and poured that into a microwavable bowl and heated for 45 seconds at a time until the temperature reached 108-112 degrees. If it gets too hot, just wait and let it cool. Once this temperature was reached I added my yogurt starter and stirred well.

At the same time I had my little helper (age 5) stirring my coconut and gelatin until it was dissolved.

I added my Almond Milk/starter into the coconut/gelatin mixture and stirred well. Then I immediately poured this mixture into my already warmed yogurt maker.

Directions for the automatic yogurt maker say 9-12 hours. I checked it after 12 hours and the taste was okay, but did not have much of that tart yogurty taste. So, I took most of the cups of yogurt out to refrigerate them and left one cup in to see what it would taste like in the morning.

I went to bed and slept late until it had nearly been in the warmer for 24 hours.

After 24 hours this last cup tasted more like yogurt and was liked best by the adults in the household and less by the little squirmies (which like the fruit and maple syrup more than the plain yogurt). So, next time I will try to time it for 18 hours of warming and see how that tastes. (Without having to set my alarm to get up in the middle of the night.)

I have read that in order for the bacteria to grow it must have something sweet to eat on. So, using unsweetened coconut milk and unsweetened almond milk might have been the reason it took so long to 'make'. I thought of adding some turbinado or honey or even maple syrup to the mixture at the beginning and see if that would shorten the incubation time.

By adding the gelatin the cold yogurt takes on a more yogurty look. I have also read, but have not tried yet, you can add tapioca also for this same effect.

We have mixed our yogurt with different frozen fruits and added granola, added it to (green) smoothies and have made a frozen yogurt (this was done by accident and was a great hit - even though it's so cold outside - but I can't seem to do it again!).

We really love and are looking forward to trying different kinds such as: 100% almond yogurt, 100% rice yogurt among a few.

My next batch will be using a free-dried yogurt starter I found at the health food store. The thing I don't like about his starter is that it does contain milk. I have found a site that sells a dairy-free yogurt starter and will most likely purchase this if the yogurt thing works out. But for now, I am going to perfect my yogurt using Yo'Gourmet starter.

I know I can use some of my yogurt as starter for my next batch...but it's usually already smoothied up before I think of taking some out! :)

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