Alternative Milks for Making Yogurt

Technically, milk refers to a white secretion used by mammals to feed their young. The milk from cows or goats (and, less frequently, sheep, yak, or water buffalo) is generally referred to as “dairy milk.” However, the term “milk” is also used to describe any creamy white product extracted from plants and used as a substitute for or alternative to dairy milks.

Most alternative milks can, with some care, be cultured into a yogurt-like substance. These are suitable for people who can’t tolerate dairy milks, or who choose not to use animal products in their diet.

The nutritional composition of alternative milks is considerably different from that of dairy milk. While yogurt cultures can usually manage to produce coagulation of the proteins in the alternative milks, they won’t survive in the alternative milks and can’t be recultured. To make yogurt with alternative milks, you have to use a new starter each time.

1 cup

milk

Cow

0% fat

Cow

1% fat

Cow

2% fat

Cow

whole

Rice

Soy

Almond

Coconut

Calories

90

120

130

150

110

90

70

552

Fat

0g

2.5g

5g

8g

2.5g

3.5g

3g

57g

Carbs

13g

14g

13g

11g

20g

10g

9g

13g

Protein

10g

11g

10g

8g

1g

6g

1g

5g

Calcium

35%

40%

35%

30%

25%

30%

30%

4%

Sugars

13g

14g

13g

11g

13g

6g

8g

8g

Type of

Sugar

lactose

lactose

lactose

lactose

glucose

sucrose

glucose

fructose

Note: the nutrient composition of alternative milks can vary according to how much water is used to produce the milk. If you make your own milk, and use half as much water as in the recipe, you will increase the proportion of fat, protein, and sugar in the milk.

Most alternative milks can be purchased commercially, but usually have additives that can interfere with fermentation. Whenever possible, you should use milks without additives or preservatives.

Making Your Own

It is fairly easy to make your own alternative milk.

Rice milk can be made with brown or white rice. Milk made from brown rice will be a little thicker. Put 1/2 cup of rice in a pot with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low heat and simmer for about an hour. The rice will be quite soft at this point. Cool the rice a little, then put it in a food processor and puree. Strain the puree through a cloth bag to get the rice milk. The remaining pulp can be discarded, or added to recipes for thickening.

Soy milk is made from white soy beans (not green ones). Soak 1/2 cup of soybeans for 8 to 24 hours in water with a little sea salt added, changing out the water a few times during the soaking. Drain off the soaking water, and put the soaked beans in a food processor with water just barely covering them, then process for 2 or 3 minutes until the beans are very finely ground. Heat a quart of water in a large pot. (The water should fill the pot about halfway.) Add the ground beans to the pot of water, and cook over medium heat, for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture will foam up as it heats. If it gets close to the top of the pot, sprinkle a little cold water over it to make it subside. At the end of the cooking, you’ll have a mixture that looks like watery oatmeal, as the fibrous part of the soybean separates from the milk. Cool the mixture, then strain it through a cloth bag. (The leftover fiber is called okara, or u no hara, and can be dried or frozen for use in cooking, or as fertilizer.) Soy yogurt made at home has a slightly grassy flavor compared to soy yogurt bought commercially.

Nut milk can be made by first soaking a cup of nuts overnight in water with a little sea salt added. Drain off the soaking water, then put the nuts in a blender with a quart of clean water. Puree this mixture thoroughly, then strain through cheesecloth to get the nut milk. (The ground nuts can be used as a flour substitute in baking, or in a large variety of recipes. They freeze well for longer life.)

Using Alternative Milks for Yogurt

Most yogurt starters are grown in dairy milk, so for individuals with extreme sensitivity to dairy, the small amount of exposure could be problematic. For those people, or for people who want to avoid dairy for other reasons, we offer Vegan Yogurt Starter, which is entirely plant-based.

If you do choose to use a reculturing type of yogurt, you will need to maintain a separate quantity of dairy-based yogurt that can be used as a starter culture.

Because most alternative milks have less sugar than dairy milk, it can help to add some sugar to the culture to promote fermentation. (It provides more food for the bacteria.) For soy, nut, or coconut milk, approximately 6 to 8 grams (1.5 to 2 teaspoons) per cup would give the milk the same sugar profile as dairy milk. Rice milk is already fairly high in sugar, so it wouldn’t necessarily help to add more.

The yogurt from alternative milks can be made thicker with the addition of thickeners such as cornstarch, arrowroot, gelatin, or agar before or after culturing.

 

 

 

                                                
   
Homemade Yogurt


Related Articles & Recipes:

 

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Dairy Free Yogurt Starter Dairy-free Yogurt Starter
Yogurt Maker Yogurt Makers
Cotton Bag for Making Yogurt Cheese Lebneh
Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese

 

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<td><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span> <br />
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Originally a simple fermented dairy product, yogurt now has many variations and personalities. It can be thin and runny, or thick and firm. It can be made from cow milk, goat milk, sheep milk, nut milk, soy milk, rice milk, and from numerous other creamy substances. In some countries the milk of buffalo, horses, yaks, or camels is used.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">For most of this discussion, we&rsquo;ll refer to yogurt in its original form: a fermented dairy milk. This was how yogurt was first developed, and most of the yogurt in the world is made this way.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Essentially yogurt is the product of beneficial bacteria fermenting milk and turning it into a thickened, acidic food that will stay fresh longer than milk itself, and that contains millions of bacteria that are welcomed by the human gut.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The History of Yogurt</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The word yogurt comes from a Turkish word meaning to curdle or to thicken. Today it is spelled yogurt, yoghurt, or yogourt, with yogurt being the most common American spelling.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">It&rsquo;s probable that the earliest yogurt was made by accident in Mesopotamia around 5,000 BC, when milk-producing animals were first domesticated. The milk was likely stored and transported in bags made from the stomachs of these animals, and the digestive juices and bacteria in the stomach linings made the milk coagulate and become acidic. Not only was it a new and interesting food, but the acidity and helped to keep it edible for longer</span> <span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">than if it had just sat out in a bowl or jar.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">There is also some evidence of yogurt being used as a cleaning product and a beauty lotion as early as 2000 BC. The acidity of the yogurt helps clean away dirt and rust, and also helps clear away dead skin and nourish healthy skin cells.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt was a popular food in the Middle East for thousands of years, and has been a staple of the Eastern European diet. It&rsquo;s now eaten throughout the world, as a main course, a snack, an ingredient in many recipes, and a condiment. It has gained considerable popularity in America in the last forty or fifty years, in keeping with general trends toward organic, cultured, and nutrient-dense foods.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt can be mildly tart or quite sour, and can be thick enough to stand up on a plate, or thin enough to pour, or anywhere in between. It contains protein and calcium as well as a variety of vitamins. Additionally, the process of yogurt fermentation is very similar to the process of digestion, so it can be easily consumed.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Many people eat yogurt plain, while others prefer to mix it with fruits or vegetables, or to add flavors or sweeteners. It is used in a variety of recipes as a flavor enhancer or leavening, and frequently enjoyed as a refreshing drink.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Nutritional Content</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Not only does yogurt contain the same amount of protein and fat as the milk from which it is made, it also contains calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. While numerous claims have been made regarding the health benefits and digestibility of yogurt, we don&rsquo;t comment on medical, health, or nutritional qualities of our products. However, a great deal of research on the subject is readily available on the Internet and in dozens of books.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">How is Yogurt Made?</span></strong></h1>
<p><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">True yogurt is made from animal milk. Theoretically, the milk of any mammal could be used to make yogurt.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">With care, yogurt cultures can also be used to ferment and coagulate non-dairy &ldquo;milks&rdquo; such as the creamy liquid obtained from nuts, rice, soy, or coconut. While these products are technically not really yogurt, they can be used and enjoyed just like dairy yogurt, alone or in recipes.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Put very simply, the process of turning milk into yogurt involves fermentation. Certain types of bacteria act on the lactose (milk sugar) that is in milk, and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid lowers the pH of the milk, and causes the milk protein to coagulate and make a firm mass. The acidified milk is an inhospitable environment for destructive bacteria, so the yogurt stays fresh longer than untreated milk.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The bacteria that does this is called beneficial bacteria, because it supports digestion and is nourishing, as opposed to pathogenic (harmful) bacteria that causes disease. The beneficial bacteria is called probiotic. It&nbsp; is similar or identical to the type of bacteria that lives in the human gut and which is responsible for the process of food absorption. When you use live cultures, the probiotics stay in the yogurt, and the yogurt can then be used as a starter to make more yogurt.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt and Other Fermented Dairy Products</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">There are many different ways that beneficial bacteria can be introduced to milk and make an entirely new food. The main difference between the different fermented dairy products is the bacteria used to make them, resulting in different flavors and consistencies.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Yogurt</em> can be cultured with a variety of different bacteria combinations, each of which gives the yogurt a characteristic taste and consistency. There are typically somewhere between the range of two to six different bacteria strains in yogurt, and they are similar to the bacteria found in the intestines.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Kefir</em> is a thickened milk made from little clumps of yeast, bacteria, and milk proteins that ferment the milk. There are about thirty different bacteria strains present in kefir grains. It has a slightly sour flavor and sometimes a faint effervescence. Koumiss is a similar product, made from mare&rsquo;s milk.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Buttermilk</em> is the name given to the whey that&rsquo;s left over when butter is made, but it more commonly refers to a milk drink made by adding bacteria to low-fat milk, producing a thickened product with a tangy flavor.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Sour cream</em> is cream or high-fat milk that&rsquo;s been cultured and thickened. It&rsquo;s very slightly sour, and usually quite thick. It was originally made by letting fresh cream thicken naturally as a result of fermentation from the bacteria present in the cream. When cream is pasteurized and has no natural bacteria present, it must be fermented with added bacteria.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Cr&egrave;me fraiche</em> is a European-style sour cream, slightly sweeter than what we are used to in America. It&rsquo;s also made by letting raw cream thicken naturally, or by adding buttermilk cultures to cream. Cr&egrave;me fraiche can be heated without curdling, unlike sour cream.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">In recipes, you can often substitute one cultured milk product for another and get similar results. In fact, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a thin, tart yogurt and a thick, sour kefir or a creamy buttermilk!</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Soft and hard cheeses</em> are also made by culturing milk over a longer period of time. Some cheeses can be easily made by straining the moisture out of yogurt or sour cream, while others require additional fermentation and culturing steps.</span></p>
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