I love yogurt, and I always have. Unfortunately, the soy yogurt available in Townsville is overpriced, full of sugar, and comes in really wasteful single-serve containers. As a result, we only ever buy it when it’s reduced to clear.
That’s why I was so excited to find this yogurt maker for only $8. I grabbed it straightaway and was afraid to set it down when I was searching through the clothing racks. It even had all of the instruction books with it—now that was luck.
But, my yogurt-experimenting had to wait until we could find yogurt cultures that aren’t dairy-derived. A few weeks went by with no yogurt until Andy suggested we use probiotic capsules. I wasn’t sure it would work, but thought it was worth a try. We found good-quality, dairy-free and refrigerated probiotic capsules and gave them a go.
Our first experiment was with one capsule and one litre of soy milk. We let it sit overnight in the space capsule and in the morning I found slightly thick, yogurt-flavoured soy milk. According to Andy, it tasted like “that fancy expensive fresh yogurt that mum bought for [his brother] when he had glandular fever”.
I’ve read that soymilk doesn’t thicken as much as cow milk, so I wasn’t surprised at its consistency. The most important part was that it tasted like yogurt. Anyways, its consistency was perfect for smoothies or to have with muesli.
The next few experiments were an illustration of bad science—we changed more than one variable each time.
Batch #2: Andy mixed a half cup of our first batch of yogurt with more soymilk and some golden syrup. This batch separated a lot—but was it because of the starter or the sweetener? (Even without isolating variables, the yogurt was still drinkable and delicious, and none of it went to waste.)
We made the same mistake with Batch #3. Instead of golden syrup, this time we used raw sugar, and used ¼ c. of Batch #2 as the starter. And we let it sit for about 13 hours. The result was almost unbearably tangy.
For Batch #4, I thought I would try to thicken the soy milk before adding the cultures. But we were out of the organic soymilk we had used for the first three tests, so I just used Cole’s brand, thickened with corn flour and then chilled before adding another probiotic capsule. This one we tasted after 7 hours, and we found it had no yogurt taste. So we left it, and tasted it every hour. It sat for a total of 12 hours, and never lost its chalky taste and gained that tangy yogurtiness. Was it the brand of milk or the corn flour?
Finally, with Batch #6, we were back on track. So Natural brand milk and one capsule yielded a similar result to Batch #1. I think the trick is that the soymilk needs to be made from whole soy beans.
Needless to say, we’re still working out the kinks. But even the not-so-great batches are better than no yogurt, so I’ve been enjoying yogurt in muesli, adding it to bread, and Andy loves chugging it straight from the jar. Nacho even likes it mixed with some cat food.
I’ll let you know if I get a great batch, and if anyone has any yogurt tips, please share them!