I’ve been hunting around for some decent vegan yoghurt for months. Like cheese, I have tried them all and found them badly wanting. I knew I’d have to make my own.
My first stop was to make some soy yoghurt. After a lot of searching I found a source of non-dairy yoghurt culture (the SYAB1 strain) at Green Living Australia. It even comes with a statement from the manufacturer in Italy that the culture is vegan. So far so good.
I was wildly excited. Yoghurt is something I have missed so much. Prior to giving it up, it was something that I ate most days for breakfast with fruit and almonds.
My first attempt seemed to work. It set encouragingly, and though it did look an unappealing beige/grey colour I could live with that. Unfortunately it tasted horrible. I thought perhaps I should try some different soy milk (in the end I tried four, including home made soy milk) – all were a failure. I also tried a recipe that used silken tofu. Bzzz. If this was vegan yoghurt then it looked like I was going without.
Next stop was back to try another commercial variety – the Babushka Coconut and Almond yoghurt. Horrible and with a scarily long list of strange ingredients. Sorry to anyone who likes this.
Then at a recent vegan dinner with some friends someone mentioned COYO coconut yoghurt. I dashed out the next day and bought some. I’m in love. It goes well with fruit, it doesn’t contain a long list of questionable ingredients and it tastes good. But at $10 for a 400ml tub it is a luxury.
So armed with my non dairy culture, a couple of cans of Aldi coconut cream, some pectin and my EasiYo yoghurt maker that’s been gathering dust, I made a litre for less than $2. My first attempt was a bit thin, so I looked at the COYO ingredients list which includes some tapioca starch.
The recipe comes from the Green Living Australia website, tweaked with tapioca starch slightly to thicken it up.
- 2 cans coconut milk or cream
- ¾ tablespoons sugar (or other sweetener of your choice. This is food for the culture not a sweetener. It won't make the yoghurt sweet and you cannot leave it out or use artificial sweeteners.)
- 2 teaspoons pectin powder
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1 knife tip of culture (this is a very tiny amount)
- Mix the sugar with the pectin. This will help when mixing it into the coconut cream. It tends to clump easily. If you use a different sweetener for food for the culture you'll need to be extra careful when you whisk in the pectin.
- Put the contents of the cans of coconut cream into a large bowl. Beat with a whisk to remove the lumps.
- Sprinkle the pectin/sugar mix into the bowl a little bit at a time and whisk well after each addition.
- Rinse the cans out with about 100ml of warm water and mix this with the tapioca. Whisk this back into the mix.
- Whisk in the culture,
- Pour into a container (I have a 1 litre EasiYo jar from my yogurt making days) and put into a yoghurt maker/warm spot for at least 12 hours. Taste. If you'd like it more tart then just keep it warm for another few hours.
- Refrigerate. It will thicken up a bit more in the refrigerator.
I'm using an old EasiYo yoghurt maker to make this and it works well. It is really just a big thermos flask that will fit a jar inside. If using an EasiYo yoghurt maker only fill the boiling water to below the baffle, not as per the instructions which say to fill above. The yoghurt makers are cheap, around $20 and well worth the investment.
The yoghurt can vary in thickness depending on the brand of coconut milk you use. If it is too runny, just strain it through some cheesecloth or Chux in a strainer. You'll end up with nice thick yoghurt.