Yogurt is a very good thing if you have decreased amounts of microbes in your gut but not so good if you’re sensitive to dairy products. I found a local source for non-dairy yogurt using coconut milk or almond milk; however, the sugar content is much higher than I like. After much research and experimenting, I came up with this fairly easy recipe. It relies on commercial yogurt for the necessary bacteria since I couldn’t find an inexpensive source for non-dairy yogurt starter. Once you make one batch, save a half cup of yogurt to use as a starter for your next batch. Depending on ones sensitivity to dairy products and availability, the commercial yogurt can be made of cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk. Someone I know has even used yogurt with fruit in it with success.
My first attempt at yogurt making I used arrowroot powder and agar agar to thicken it but it didn’t turn out well. I switched to products I’m more familiar with: corn starch and gelatin. It means the recipe isn’t vegan but then neither am I. I used three packets of Knox Gelatin which equals 7 1/2 teaspoons of gelatin or 0.75 ounces. It’s very gelatin-like in texture and my next batch I may decrease the gelatin by one packet and increase the corn starch but for now, this recipe works.
I didn’t sweeten or flavor my yogurt since I like the neutral almond quality. I’ve eaten it with stevia and fruit, with honey, in borscht, in crepes, and as tzatziki.
Update: I made the changes I discussed above (decreased gelatin to 2 packets, increased corn starch to 1/2 cup) and it turned out beautifully, more creamy and less like Jello. I made the changes to the recipe below. I also tried an almond coconut milk blend and I think I like it better than the almond milk alone. In the future I’ll make a straight coconut milk yogurt.
8 cups unsweetened almond milk, divided
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup corn starch
0.50 oz powdered gelatin
Sterilize the bowls, pots and utensils you’ll use by pouring boiling water in them or soaking them in boiling water for several minutes. Add 4 cups almond milk to the crock pot and turn it on high. Bring two cups of almond milk to a boil in a medium saucepot. In a small bowl, pour one cup of almond milk. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the top of it to bloom. In another small bowl, add one cup almond milk and corn starch. Whisk together. Add the corn starch slurry to the boiling almond milk and whisk until the almond milk has thickened. Add the gelatin and stir until the gelatin has melted. Pour the thickened almond milk into the crock pot with the rest of the almond milk. Whisk well. Heat the almond mixture in the crock pot up to 140*F. Turn off the heat and let the almond mixture cool down to 105*F. This may take several hours. Once cool, remove approximately two cups of the almond mixture and whisk the yogurt into it. Return the almond yogurt to the crock pot. Stir well. Cover the crock pot with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place the lid on top of the towel and let sit for 8-12 hours. The longer it sits, the more bacteria is formed. After it rests, stir well and pour up into airtight containers. Store in the refrigerator. The gelatin will set up in 2-4 hours and it will be ready to eat.