No, this isn’t a bad Chinese fortune joke. I don’t own a yogurt maker.
Aside from being vegan, due to Celiac disease, I can’t digest dairy. Not that I’d want to. Most dairy contains puss and filth, causes eczema, asthma, migraines and obesity, and is a known carcinogen. So upon discovering that my children could not have dairy without having an allergic reaction, I was even more convinced that dairy was not meant for my family.
The problem with going dairy free is that the alternatives are just as fattening, made of refined oils, and are very expensive. Of course, compared to organic dairy products they’re not as steep, but my goal is always to find ways for us to eat healthy and not spend too much. After seeing several posts by other bloggers on yogurt making, I decided to give it a go- vegan style.
Apparently making yogurt with rice milk doesn’t work. I tried. Not sure why I sucked at it. Maybe I’ll try again some day.
Yogurt making is EASY. Normally a quart of yogurt costs $4 or more, and if you buy organic dairy free milk, you can make a quart for about $1.50. So naturally, go out and buy some dairy free milk- almond, coconut, soy, hemp, etc. Just not rice.
You also have two choices for culturing your yogurt. You can get some unflavored plain yogurt of your choice or you can buy a yogurt culture. I bought Yogo brand. You don’t want to get regular cow’s or goats yogurts, or Stonyfield farm yogurts because they contain casein, milk protein.
I also got a cooking thermometer, which is helpful to know what temps you’re dealing with. As with any culture, you want to make sure that your food is hot enough to grow the live cultures, but not so hot that you kill them.
I began by putting my yogurt stovetop. I put four cups of milk on medium and brought it to 180, stirring every so often in the beginning, and increasingly stirring to prevent scorching. Do not get impatient and turn up the heat- you’ll burn your milk.
Once you have reached 180, take it off the burner and set it aside to cool. Some people plunge their pot into icewater, but I can’t be bothered to get out a bunch of ice and fill the sink. I just set the milk out on the counter. It takes about a half hour to cool.
When the milk’s temp has reached 108, I stir in either a package of the Yogo starter, or 2-3 tablespoons of my previous batch of yogurt. If you don’t have a previous batch, you can use the plain yogurt that I mentioned in the beginning.
I put the milk mix in a quart jar, seal it tight, and wrap my hot pack around it. Since my hot pack is not electric and is a rice pack that you heat in the microwave, I simply heat it 1-2 times during the incubation process.
Wrapped in my hot pack, I put the bundle of milk in my bed under the electric blanket (set the blanket to high), wrap my quilts around it, and cover it with a couple of pillows. Apart from getting the hot pack to reheat halfway through, I leave it for around 6-8 hours. There have been times where I didn’t plan well, and let the yogurt incubate overnight, and it’s just as fine, if not thicker and better. The rule of thumb with dairy free yogurts is that if you let them sit a little longer, they get thicker. Yeah, I’m guilty of sleeping with the yogurt.
You actually don’t have to incubate your yogurt in bed. You can get a yogurt maker- they keep the yogurt at a steady temperature. Someone also told me that they use a preheated oven, which seams risky to me due to the high temps.
When it’s done, I drain off the water so that my yogurt stays thick, but you don’t have to. The yogurt gets stored in the fridge.
And that is how I make yogurt in bed. HA.