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Old 09-04-2019, 09:27 AM
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Help me make soy yogurt.


I'm trying to populate what's left of my bowel with lots of friendly bacteria. I've been eating store bought yogurt but I'm skeptical as to how much live bacteria exists in it. Plus milk products tend not to agree with me so I've been buying the lactose free yogurt, and I'm even more skeptical about its benefits. Also, homemade yogurt is less expensive in the long run. So i've decided to try making my own soy yogurt.

The internet has a variety of contradictory opinions on how to do this. Some sources say to use plain soy milk with no additives or sweeteners. Others say that it has to have sugar so that the bacteria have something to eat (assuming they can't eat soy).

They mostly all mention that the result can sometimes be watery and give various solutions to the problem.

Some say that you can get nice creamy yogurt by going through several cycles of starter. In other words use some of the first batch as starter for the second batch and so on for several cycles. Supposedly the bacteria become "more active" with each cycle. This seems doubtful to me. The bacteria are either alive or dead. They don't become more alive over time do they?

Others say that you need to use a thickener of one kind or another, such as gelatin, pectin, or tapioca starch.

below is a picture of one of the containers from my second batch. It's watery with a bunch of "curds" (is that the right word?). I'm using an inexpensive yogurt maker I ordered from Amazon with Wegman's pre-sweetened soy milk. It's been cultured for 24 hours and then refrigerated 24 hours. The first batch was similar, was perfectly edible, and I ate it with no problem, but I'd like it to not be so watery.

I could strain out the solids with something like cheesecloth but it's watery enough that I wouldn't be left with much yogurt.

My first batch was made with store bought yogurt starter powder. The second batch was made using some of the first batch.

Is there anything I can do to get better results? Should I be using unsweetened soy milk? Should I be adding extra sugar? Will it thicken up after several batches if I'm patient? Should I just add some thickener to each batch?https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...16be80bd48.jpg
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Last edited by davidm; 09-04-2019 at 09:31 AM.
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Old 09-04-2019, 12:22 PM
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Mrs. FtG makes vegan yogurt. She uses either almond or soy milk straight from the carton, no extra sugar or anything. Basically she:

1. Uses a large dutch oven pot.
2. Brings it carefully up to the right temp to sterilize it but not over. (This is the tricky part.)
3. Let's it naturally cool down to the inoculation temp.
3. Adds the starter. Mixes it in.
4. Puts a lid on the pan and puts it into a warmed (but off) oven. She leaves it in overnight with the oven light on to help keep it warm.
5. Next morning she strains it since she likes "Greek" yogurt. But it's normally thick without that. Not a lot of "whey" which she uses for other stuff.

The problem might be using a yogurt maker.
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Old 09-04-2019, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Mrs. FtG makes vegan yogurt. She uses either almond or soy milk straight from the carton, no extra sugar or anything. Basically she:



1. Uses a large dutch oven pot.

2. Brings it carefully up to the right temp to sterilize it but not over. (This is the tricky part.)

3. Let's it naturally cool down to the inoculation temp.

3. Adds the starter. Mixes it in.

4. Puts a lid on the pan and puts it into a warmed (but off) oven. She leaves it in overnight with the oven light on to help keep it warm.

5. Next morning she strains it since she likes "Greek" yogurt. But it's normally thick without that. Not a lot of "whey" which she uses for other stuff.



The problem might be using a yogurt maker.
Does the milk she buys contain sugar or is it just plain soy (or almond) milk with no added sweetener?
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
Does the milk she buys contain sugar or is it just plain soy (or almond) milk with no added sweetener?
I sort of had to blink at this question. The idea of Mrs. FtG buying something with added sweetener would be quite shocking to me. I guess you two haven't met.

No. She doesn't go that way nor does her yogurt.
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:15 PM
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Interesting. Wikipedia seems to implie that sugar is required by the bacteria.
Quote:
Soy yogurt can be prepared at home using the same method as dairy yogurt. One tablespoon of sugar per 1 liter of unsweetened soy milk may be added to promote bacterial fermentation. Soy milk on its own lacks the lactose (milk sugar) that is the basic food for the yogurt bacteria.
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Old 09-04-2019, 03:36 PM
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Sorry. I meant to include the Wikipedia link in my previous post.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soy_yogurt
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Old 09-06-2019, 06:16 AM
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I'm going to experiment.

I'm going to buy unsweetened soy milk. In half of the jars I will put the soy milk with starter and nothing else. In the other jars I will put soy milk, starter, and sugar.

Then I'll see if one batch turns out better than the other.
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Old 09-10-2019, 12:41 PM
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At least from this one experiment, sugar seems to make it more watery.

The best was the unsweetened soy milk with some yogurt from the last batch as starter.

The second best (slightly more watery) was unsweetened with store bought starter powder.

Third place goes to the unsweetened with both some of the previous batch and some store bought powder.

All of the various combinations that had sugar were quite noticeably more watery than the unsweetened containers.

So it appears that adding sugar is a bad idea. It also appears that starter from a previous batch is better than the starter powder, although I can't explain why a combo of previous batch plus powder seems to be worse than either of those things separately.

All of this could be dependent on other factors, such as position in the yogurt maker, but at the very least it seems clear that sugar is not necessary.
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:55 PM
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I double checked with Mrs. FtG and definitely no added sugar.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:01 PM
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No added sugar, but does the soymilk she purchases already contain sugar or is it unsweetened?

In any case my experiment (see post #8) shows that sugar isn't neccessary. It produces flavorless yogurt but it's not watery and I can always add flavors or a sweetener after culturing. Maybe some stevia would be good.
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Old 09-11-2019, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidm View Post
No added sugar, but does the soymilk she purchases already contain sugar or is it unsweetened?
Already answered upthread.
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