Almond milk yogurt is essentially cultured almond milk packed with plant-based nutrients, and is soy and gluten free. Eating almond yogurt is an easy, tasty way to get some much-needed calcium with a healthy dose of protein and good-for-you probiotics.
If you are curious why not drink almond milk or eat a handful of almonds instead, here is a quick overview of some benefits of cultured foods:
“The natural lactic acid and fermenting enzymes which are produced during the fermentation process have a beneficial effect on the metabolism and a curative effect on disease. Lactic acid destroys harmful intestinal bacteria and contributes to the better digestion and assimilation of nutrients.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Fermented foods can be considered predigested foods. They are easily metabolized. Fermented foods cleanse the intestinal tract and provide a proper environment for the body’s own vitamin production within the intestines. They also help a person with constipation problems.” (1)
Additionally, since nuts can be difficult to digest, culturing makes it a pre-digested food- much easier to assimilate and digest.
There are many ways to make yogurt that don’t require complicated equipment. The key is to keep the yogurt incubating at the ideal temperature. Here is a simple DIY almond yogurt recipe that is ready overnight. The process is very similar to making dairy yogurt.
The best practice in making almond milk yogurt at home is to start with fresh, homemade almond milk.
1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained (You can use store bought almond milk if you do not wish to make your own)
2 cups water (filtered)
1 Tbsp sweetener (sweetener must be sugar-based, such as maple syrup, to feed the fermentation)
1 starter culture
Options for Culture
1 package vegan yogurt starter culture
1-2 probiotic capsules (opened) or 1-2 tsp probiotic culture
1/3 cup unflavored vegan yogurt (made with active bacterial culture)
You can also use a portion from previous batch of almond/coconut or any other vegan yogurt as a starter culture.
There are many varieties of culture starter available hence you’ll need to check the package directions to determine the exact amount of starter to add. Many products recommend preparing the culture starter and almond milk mix when the milk is at room temperature. If necessary, you can warm the milk on a low setting on the stove.
1, Make sure all your tools are very clean before use.
2, In a high-powered blender blend almonds, water, and sweetener and blend until smooth to create almond milk.
3, Drape a strainer with cheese cloth over top of a bowl and pour almond milk through. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside pulp (you can use it to make crackers, bread or even almond cookies).
4, In a pot over medium heat, bring almond milk to a boil and let boil for 10 to 15 seconds. Stir often. Turn off heat. Allow the milk to cool to 100 °F.
5, Take ¼ cup of cooled milk and stir in the culture. Whisk this into the remaining milk. Pour yogurt into containers and incubate. I add yogurt to sterilized mason jars and place in an oven overnight (turned off, with the light on). Yogurt will thicken slightly after it cools.
6, Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.
7, To serve, top with fruit, make parfaits, a delicious smoothie or simply enjoy as is.
Note- The key to making a perfect yogurt is to keep the yogurt incubating at the ideal temperature of 115°F for about 6 to 12 hours.
Dairy-free yogurt will not naturally become as thick as traditional yogurt. If you would like your yogurt to be thicker, try adding in a few spoonfuls of chia seeds (ground or whole) after incubating and let sit for a few hours in the fridge.
Another alternative is adding ¾ teaspoon of agar to the almond milk before you bring it to boil. Simmer milk for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until agar is completely dissolved.
You can also use other thickeners like arrowroot powder, tapioca starch. Many dairy yogurt makers use gelatin and there is also a vegetable gum base “vegan gelatin” readily available.
One last yogurt-making tip: You may need to experiment with the resting time and the amount of culture you use. The longer the almond yogurt sits the more tart it becomes – this is why unsweetened almond milk yogurt tastes similar to sour cream.
Experimenting will allow you to customize yogurt to your taste. Some suggestions are to remove the almond skins, or to add fruit or sweetener. Be sure to add fruit after the fermentation process is over as fruit will cause molding.
1. Checkmate to Cancer by Dr. Kuhl
2. The Dairy-Free Kitchen: 100 Recipes for all the Creamy Foods You Love by Ashley Adams