Is something organic if it is shipped across the country? What about the fuel that is used and how that affects our environment, not to mention the freshness of the food and a myriad of other factors. Over the last few years i have been reading everything i can get my hands on to help me answer these and other questions so sit back, relax and explore where my quest has taken me thus far.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The great yogurt experiment

My mother bought me a yogurt maker as a birthday gift (don't worry, I actually asked for one).

About a year ago I discovered almond milk and no longer use cow or goat milk for anything really, except for my morning coffee if I am running around the city and don't have almond milk handy.

I digress, i got the yogurt maker in the hopes of being able to make a delicious almond milk based yogurt. I am on my second trial, the first one failed so i did some additional research and a little more web surfing to see what other experimentalists have been doing.

In my first attempt i used a commercial brand of almond milk and treated it as i would regular cow milk which was a mistake. In this experiment a few missteps i discovered were: 1. i over heated it. 2. i added corn starch. 3. i added maple syrup, the bacteria or culture need something sweet to eat while fermenting while cow milk has tasty things for the bacteria to munch on, non-dairy drinks do not 4. i put the little lids on making it so that condensation was formed.

The outcome? By heating the commercial brand of almond milk to the same temp i would have heated cow milk i changed the chemical composition and it separated, by adding corn starch (i thought it would make it nice and thick) it further aided in the separation. I am not sure about the maple syrup, i think i was actually ok to use that but am still looking into that, oh and i slept through the timer beep and did not get it into the refrigerator fast enough. Long story short i created something that smelled vaguely like yogurt but that is where the similarities end.

Today i decided to give this another shot. Instead of using a commercial almond milk which has additional ingredients that i cannot control i made the almond milk from scratch (it is SO easy!) some people would prefer to have it drained so that it is smooth, but i did not do that because i thought it had a great texture and would really help to give my yogurt good body.
In addition to making the almond milk i also did not heat it, through the process of making the milk it heated it up to approximately 90 degrees and i let it cool down to 80 degrees as directed before putting in the culture. I did not add any aditional thickening agents as i figure i will start with this and proceed from there based on how this batch turns out. I did add honey to the almond milk. currently my little bacteria buddies are munching away on some yummy honey and almonds. I will know tomorrow if it is the right consistency, oh, i also left the little lids off so that the excess water would not form little puddles on in each cup.

If this yogurt is sucessful or at least palatable i will be posting the recipe for those who would want to try it, the one thing i noticed is that there are many MANY people who would like to have an alternative to dairy based yogurt but not necessarily use soy as the replacement. I am in that crowd, i don't like soy and am not sold on the hype that is is truly healthy to have in large amounts, but more on that in another post.

As a last note i am using yogourmet freeze dried yogurt culture, i will be switching to a non-dairy based one once this one runs out, i don't see any reason to be wasteful. It is extremely hard to find non-dairy based culture as it normally is grown in a dairy environment, it is also very expensive, i found a couple of places in the web that sell it, i will be giving it a shot in the future.

Ok, let's keep fingers crossed!!!!

City Mouse

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