This yogurt is transcending the limits of veganism and finding great acceptance in other audiences due to its low sugar content and absence of lactose.
Lately, commercial yogurts are in the spotlight. The market has deformed the classic yogurt with additives, colorants, thickeners, flavorings, etc. and its nutritional content is not abundant. On the contrary, they have high doses of sugar and are not beneficial for those who are lactose intolerant.
Years ago, studies carried out in the United Kingdom on a wide variety of yogurts, came to the conclusion that for the most part they contained an amount of sugar well above that recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), that is, more than 5 grams per 100 grams of product.
This fact, along with other factors, such as the increasing population that has adopted veganism, as well as the existence of many people who are lactose intolerant, has led to the emergence of vegan alternatives to conventional yogurt.
The appearance of alternatives to conventional yogurts made without using dairy is a reality that has been consolidated with a wide variety of options. One of them, increasingly popular, is the one made from coconut.
The ingredients have little to do with conventional yogurts, but emulate its texture and flavor. They are made with 100% plant-based ingredients, and also without added sugars or sweeteners. Something, the latter, that we can consider as a positive point with respect to the vast majority of yogurts that we can find in supermarkets.
Their nutritional values are quite different from yogurts made with milk. They contain more calories (158 kcal per 100 grams), more fat (15.8 grams, of which saturated 14.8 grams) and more proteins (17 grams); but they contain fewer carbohydrates, with only 2.8 grams per 100 grams, of which 1.4 grams are sugars.
The health benefits
Two points are remarkable in this type of yogurt, they are low in sugar content and without the drawbacks of lactose for those who are intolerant to this substance. A vegan coconut-based yogurt can also provide other nutritional benefits.
The fermented sugars present in these vegan yogurts and probiotics are gentle on the stomach, they help regulate digestive health by providing a large dose of healthy bacteria to the gut. Properly balanced gut bacteria are also correlated with improved immune function. In addition, they also provide a good dose of calcium and vitamin D, two very important nutrients for the development of our bones.
Is it really yogurt?
This product is marketed as a vegan alternative to yogurt, but not as yogurt. This has a legal explanation, since in order to be marketed as such in many countries, such as the European Union and the United States, it must meet a series of requirements that it does not meet.
In this sense, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines yogurt as a strictly dairy-derived product. In Spain, this regulation is included in the Quality Standard for yogurt or yoghurt, approved by Royal Decree 271/2014, of April 11, which establishes that yogurt is defined as “the coagulated milk product obtained by lactic fermentation through the action of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus from milk or concentrated milk, skimmed or not, or cream, or from a mixture of two or more of these products, with or without the addition of other dairy ingredients“.
How to make vegan yogurt
We present the general method of making vegan yogurts through this infographic. In addition to the explanations to be able to understand the general process.
Method of making vegan yogurts
- Preparation of basic vegetable milk. We can use directly purchased non-dairy milk if we want to skip this step. Keep in mind that the milks made at home have a much higher nutritional level, more creaminess and ferment more easily.
- To filter or not to filter the milk: It will depend on the base ingredient, the machine used to make it and our preferences. We will choose whether or not to leave the pulp in the yogurt or to filter it and save it for another use. There will be pulps such as cashew or coconut, which if well crushed will serve as a natural thickener for our yogurt.
- Heat the milk:We heat the milk little by little to about 60-70 ºC, it should not come to a boil.
- Add thickener: vegetable yogurts are generally runnier than desired. There are different ingredients that we can add to thicken the yogurt. In this step we add those that dissolve hot (we will explain them one by one later).
- Add the ferment:
- We let the milk cool to about44-45ºC when we are going to add ferment to make Bulgarian yogurt, or to38ºCwhen we are going to use ferments that containbifidus (Bulgarian yogurt with bifidus, vegan yogurt ferment, acidophilic yogurt with bifidus, kefir ferment with bifidus).
- Add the ferment or starter: separate a little milk and in a container that is not metallic. Add the ferments or fresh vegan yogurt, as natural as possible. Mix well in a non-metallic bowl with a wooden spoon.
- Another option is to make yogurt from stems of fresh chili peppers.In this case, the milk should be around 60ºC and it works well with cashew and peanut milks.
- Fermentation: Fermenting the yogurt at around 38-45ºC, will depend on the type of ferment (read the appropriate temperature in the technical data sheet for each ferment) between 6 and 12 hours. The fermentation time will depend on the degree of acidity desired and the ferment used, it is a matter of trying and acquiring the preferred point. The fact of fermenting in a controlled way in the yogurt maker, in the fermenter, in the Sana breadmaker-fermenter, in the dehydrator or even in the Crock-pot slow cooker, will facilitate the control of the temperature and the result (the fermenter and the Sana breadmaker-fermenter are the methods that control the temperature with greater precision).
- Cooled: so that the yogurt acquires body, settles and is just right. We recommend a period of rest in the refrigerator, once fermented, between 8 and 12 hours.
- Toppings: Once it is ready, we can crush it with fruits, sweeten it with dried fruit or with healthy sweeteners. We can also leave a piece of lemon in maceration inside the yogurt or take it as is.
Ferments for vegan yogurts
- Vegan Yogurt Purchased: We will choose the most natural one possible. That is, it does not contain additives and is fresh. We will use between 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup per liter of vegetable milk.
- Probiotics: we can find a great variety of probiotics on the market. With the yogurt obtained we can reseed, that is, use 4 or 5 tablespoons of a yogurt as the ferment to make a new liter of yogurt.
- Rejuvelac: It is a probiotic that is made from the germination of cereal grains and subsequent maceration of these in water. We will use the resulting strained water to make our vegan yogurts, thus obtaining a homemade ferment, easy to make, healthy and very economical. We can substitute between 25-50% of the water to make the initial vegetable milk with rejuvelac. In this case we will not heat the milk, since the enzymes would lose their effect above 40ºC.
- The stem of the chili peppers: It is a method traditionally used in some areas of India to make curd. We have found that it works surprisingly with peanuts and cashews. Fermentation occurs thanks to the fact that the lower part of the chili stems have the property of attracting wild yeasts that are in the environment. Fresh chili peppers or the stems of dried red chilies should be used.
Thickeners for vegan yogurts
Homemade vegan yogurts tend to be more of a liquid yogurt consistency. If we want them to be thicker and creamier, we can add one of the following thickeners:
Thickeners that are added hot
- Tapioca starch: 2-3.5 tablespoons per liter, dissolve in a little vegetable milk or cold, thick water, heating the milk and stirring for a few minutes.
- Arrowroot:use between 2 and 3.5 tablespoons per liter, dissolve in a little vegetable milk or cold and thick water, heating the milk and stirring for a few minutes.
- Garrofín: use between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon of coffee per liter. Add sprinkling and stirring vigorously while hot.
- Rice flour: use between 1 and 1.5 tablespoons per liter. Dissolve in a little vegetable milk or cold water and thicken by heating the milk, stirring for a few minutes.
- Agar-agar: use between 1/2 and 3/4 of a teaspoon of coffee per liter of vegetable milk. Sprinkle hot while we heat the milk. Boil over low heat for about 3-5 minutes.
- Agaranta: use between 2-4 teaspoons of coffee per liter of vegetable milk. It is dissolved in the cold and heated in the milk over low heat for about 2-5 min.
Thickeners that are added cold
- Chia:use 6 tablespoons per liter of milk. It is added once the yogurt has been made and fermented, before resting in the fridge.
- Guar gum: use between 1 and 2 teaspoons of coffee per liter of milk, add cold. It can be added before heating the milk or once the yogurt has been made, thicken in cold.
- Psyllium:use 1 teaspoon of coffee dissolved in 1 cup of water until a gel forms. Add 1-2 tablespoons of this gel to the yogurt once fermented until the desired texture is achieved.
With information from: