Tuesday, March 14, 2017
TAKE TWO: INSTANT POT SOY YOGURT, A BIGGER BATCH, AN EASIER AND MORE SUCCESSFUL METHOD
After having many failures with making soy yogurt, I finally had success using the Instant Pot and that's what that blog post was about. But on the Facebook Group "Instant Pot Vegan Recipes" there was a discussion about that blog post and one commenter (whose name I cannot recall and I could not find that particular thread on this popular group) wondered why I bothered making it in jars and why I bothered heating some of the milk up, since the Instant Pot would bring it up to temperature anyway. I thought it was very covenient having it made in the jars and I had had some failures previously making it right in the Instant Pot insert, so at first I dismissed the idea.
However, I thought about it some more and it made sense to make a larger batch right in the IP insert and not to have to heat up any of the milk. So, I thought I'd give it ago-- if it didn't work, well then, we would have smoothies all week. I was afraid that the yogurt would thin out or separate while transferring it to the jars after it had set, but, again, I thought it was worth a try.
It actually worked quite well. The Instant Clear Jel (or Ultra Gel) used as a thickener keeps it stable. But the yogurt was a bit lumpy and then you had to transfer it to the jars and clean the insert. So, I've been experimenting again.
My goal was to make a nice creamy, non-lumpy, tasty and tangy soy yogurt with minimal ingredients, minimal fuss, and consistently good results. I preferred not to have to heat up the soymilk first (and, with ultra-heat-treated [UHT] soymilk off the shelf, you don't need to!), and I wanted to avoid using a thickening agent that 1.) needed to be cooked before adding to the soymilk, and 2.) added a starchy taste and/or odd mouthfeel to the yogurt.
I believe that I have succeeded in reaching my goal with this revised recipe of mine, and I hope you will try it, and give me some feedback.
Before I give you the new recipe-- Do we really need to use a thickener?
I've read so many blog posts and FB post and comments about making vegan yogurt and I scratch my head at how some people produce a soy yogurt so nice and solid with no thickeners at all. I have come to the conclusion that soy milks and other plant milks are vary in some way so that some of them thicken without help, and some don't.
I have experimented in the past with cornstarch, tapioca starch and agar powder (each by itself, and then various mixtures of the above) as thickeners and didn't really like the consistency or mouthfeel of any of them, alone or together with another. I also didn't want to have to cook anything in the procedure. Instant Clear Jel (not regular Clear Jel, BTW) or Ultra Gel proved to be the answer to making nice creamy yogurt that will hold its shape without having to cook it before adding to the yogurt mixture.
And what kind of soymilk?
I use organic soymilk, original style, ultra heat treated; in a Tetra Pak carton. The brand I use is PC Organics Fortified Soy Beverage, Original, a Canadian brand-- I prefer "original" to "plain". But brands and tastes vary, so you will have to experiment with brands available in your area to see which brand you like. Some folks claim they have had success with Silk from a refrigerated carton, but I have not. ALWAYS use soymilk from an unopened carton, whichever brand or type it is, to avoid contamination.
BRYANNA'S EASY, CREAMY HOMEMADE SOY YOGURT (DOUBLE BATCH)
Yield: 2 quarts
It costs me about $4.50 Cnd (about $3.40 US on March 14, 2017) to make 2 qts (8 cups) of yogurt, plus about 1/2 cup extra. When we were buying soy yogurt it cost us about $5.00 Cnd for 3 cups!
Ingredients (only 3!):
8 cups (2 x 946 mL) UHT organic soymilk, original style-- use UN-opened cartons (ultra heat treated; in a Tetra Pak carton-- I use PC Organics Fortified Soy Beverage, Original, a Canadian brand-- I prefer "original" to "plain".)
1/4 cup commercial or homemade soy yogurt with live culture (I have used "Nancy's Cultured Soy" with success), OR 1 tsp. dried vegan yogurt culture OR powder from 2 probiotic capsules (live, nondairy)
6 Tbs Instant Clear Jel-- DO NOT use the regular Clear Jel meant for making jam and pies (I understand that you can substitute twice as much Cornaby's Ultra Gel, which is easier to find in Canada. Instant Clear Jel is available in Canada only from baking supply wholesalers but it's carried on amazon.com for US customers. Ultra Gel is available in Canada from healthykitchens.com)
For information about these thickeners, see
an Instant Pot with yogurt-making function
measuring spoons (1 tsp./5 mL; 1 Tbsp/15 mL)
1/4/50 mL cup measure (if using yogurt as the starter)
a 10"/25cm or larger fine mesh stainless steel strainer with handle (and preferably with a rim)
a soup spoon
medium-sized wire whisk
a small, flat silicone spatula (the kind for scraping out bowls)
Four 1-pint (2 cup/16 oz. or 500mL) widemouth mason jars with lids
(Make sure that the jars, with lids, are 4 3/4"/12cm to no more than 5 1/4"/13cm tall.)Two 2 qt./2L Pyrex batter bowls
OR one 2 qt./2L batter bowl or pitcher and one 2 qt./2L mixing bowl
(NOTE: You may have a little yogurt mixture left over, so have a small shallow bowl handy to accomodate that. I used a small, shallow dessert bowl that holds about 3/4 cup/177mL. The top INNER circumference of the bowl I used is 4 1/8"/10.5 cm and the height of the bowl is 1 1/2 "/3.8cm. It fit nicely atop the jars in the center and the IP lid easily attached. See picture below-- yes, the lid really does fit over this nicely!)
1.) Sterilize/scald all equipment with boiling water, including the blender jar and lid.
2.) Pour 1 carton of the soy milk, straight out of the newly-opened carton, into the blender. Add the vegan culture powder/probiotic powder OR yogurt and sprinkle on the Instant Clear Jel or alternate. Blend for several minutes at low to medium speed until well-combined, with NO perceptible lumps, but not excessively frothy. (This blending is necessary because the Instant Clear Jel clumps easily if only whisked in or blended with an immersion/stick blender.)
4.) Place the strainer over the top of the second batter bowl or mixing bowl (do not use a pitcher for this step unless it has a very wide mouth). Pour the blended mixture slowly through the mesh strainer into the bowl. Press the mixture through with the back of the soup spoon if it won't go through easily, scraping any residue that sticks to the underside of the strainer into the yogurt mixture. (This straining step results in a very smooth yogurt and only takes a minute or two.) Whisk strained mixture gently with the wire whisk, but don't make it frothy.
5.) If the yogurt mixture is now in a mixing bowl, pour it carefully back into the batter bowl/pitcher. Pour it carefully into the 4 prepared jars, right to about 1/4"/.635cm from the top of the jar. Secure the lids, but NOT tightly. (The yogurt will settle and sink about another 1/4"/.635cm down when it is refrigerated.) If you have a little of the mixture left, see the Note highlighted in yellow at the bottom of the Equipment List above.
6.) Do not use the little rack that comes with the Instant Pot-- it will raise the jars up just high enough to cause a problem with the lid. Place the jars right into the Instant Pot insert (topping the jars with the little dish of extra yogurt mixture right in the center, if you wish-- see photo above).
7.) Secure the lid on the Instant Pot, open the steam vent and press the Yogurt function button. Set the time. I like a fairly tangy yogurt, so I set it for 10 hours, depending on how long I've been using the starter (it gets tangier with age, and then weakens, by which time you need a new starter). You can taste it after about 8-9 hours and add more time if need be. Remember that it will also get a little tangier as it cools in the refrigerator. (I make yogurt before I go to bed and let it culture overnight, which leaves the Instant Pot empty for daytime duties.)
8.) When it's done, it should be thick and creamy. Remove the jars carefully and secure the lids more tightly. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.
9.) Save 1/4 cup for the next batch (use within a week or two), until you judge that the starter is weakening. (Weak starter may cause the yogurt to curdle, separate, and/or be lumpy or runny, and the taste may be not as tangy. If this happens, use the results for smoothies and, next time you make yogurt, start with powdered vegan starter, probiotic powder or newly-purchased soy yogurt.)
PS: If you ever see pink liquid in your yogurt, throw it out.
Servings: 16 to 17
Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 57 calories, less than 1 calories from fat, 2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 26.1mg sodium, 160mg potassium, 5.9g carbohydrates, less than 1g fiber, 3.2g sugar, 3.2g protein, 1.4 points.