May 21, 2014

back to basics - homemade soy yogurt

Everyday Vegan Eats has been out for about a week now and I hope you have seen the recipes from the cookbook floating around the web. Don't forget to enter the giveaways for the book on Tami Noyes' site and Robin Robertson's site before they end today.

Since the book is hopefully in a few hands by now, I'd like to post a few recipes that didn't get into the book. These recipes are important in the sense that having the ability to make them at home is not just beneficial economically, but also gives us the chance to make these basic recipes ourselves, controlling the quality as well as the ingredients.

I speak of dairy substitutes: soy yogurt, vegan sour cream and vegan cream cheese.

While developing recipes for EVE, I realized how important it is to be able to make these basics ourselves, in case they are hard to attain or, just simply, are more desirable as homemade products.

I did a lot of research regarding the dairy equivalents of yogurt, sour cream and cream cheese and had a few epiphanies. From these revelations I realized that I could make a really excellent vegan sour cream and vegan cream cheese using vegan yogurt. The only catch is that homemade yogurt is the best.

There are a few commercial vegan yogurts on the market, but the only one I would recommend is the Whole Soy brand, in terms of texture and flavor. Since Whole Soy has just returned to the market, I haven't had the chance to test the sour cream and cream cheese recipes using Whole Soy yogurt, but I did have the chance to try my recipes using the other brands on the market, unfortunately, with dismal results.

Another issue regarding store-bought yogurt, beside flavor and texture, is the difficulty in finding a brand of plain vegan yogurt that is unsweetened. That is the best kind to use in savory dishes and since good brands are few and far between, homemade is your best bet.

Conclusively, the best vegan yogurt is one you make yourself. The good news is that it is easy! All you need is soy milk with sugar content of 6 grams (this is the optimal sugar content to help feed the live cultures) and a small container of plain yogurt from the store. Any brand will do as long as it contains live cultures: almond, coconut or soy, it matters not.

After you make your first batch of yogurt you will make any subsequent homemade yogurt using your own homemade yogurt to start a new batch. In addition, yogurt you make using your own yogurt will get better and better with every batch!

Let's get started!

You will need:

  • 1 quart soy milk with 6 grams of sugar at least
  • large pot
  • thermometer - I use an instant read thermometer
  • fine-mesh strainer
  • store-bought plain yogurt with live cultures (you will use 1/4 cup)
  • bowl with plastic wrap
  • warm place to incubate yogurt, such as dehydrator
  • cheesecloth or nut milk bag


Transfer your milk to a large pot. Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Boil the milk for two minutes and remove from the heat.


Cool the milk to about 110-degrees F, but no more than 112-degrees or less than 100-degrees. Cooling the milk will take about 15 minutes.


Strain the cooled milk through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. This step will produce a smooth final yogurt, removing any soy milk skin that developed as the milk cooled.


Whisk in the 1/4-cup yogurt and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap.


 Place the bowl in a warm spot, one that will keep the inoculated milk at a steady 110-degrees F for 9 hours. 6 hours. [I found 9 hours made the yogurt too tangy - start checking it at 6 hours and see if you'd like more tang.] A dehydrator or the Instant Pot 7-in-1 (which you can use to prepare it from start to finish0 works beautifully. Check out some other warm spots at the end of the post.

After 6 hours your yogurt will look like this. If you tip the bowl you can see the whey and the curds separate somewhat. You will be able to make thicker yogurt when you begin using your own homemade yogurt for the culture.


Transfer the yogurt to a container and cool the yogurt in the refrigerator. The chilling will thicken the yogurt a bit more. Chill for at least a few hours.


When chilled, remove 1/4 cup of the yogurt and set aside to culture your next yogurt. Drain the yogurt for 20 minutes through 8 layers of cheesecloth or a nut milk bag by transferring all of the yogurt to the cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Place the nut bag over a strainer and the strainer over a bowl. 

There you have it. Homemade soy yogurt. Whisk the yogurt using a whisk before storing in the fridge to use as needed. 

You will need homemade yogurt to make vegan sour cream and vegan cream cheese. Those posts will be coming in the following weeks.

As a gentle reminder, the giveaway for Tamasin Noyes' and Celine Steen's new cookbook, Vegan Finger Foods, will be ending May 29, so make sure you have entered HERE.

Warm Places to Incubate Yogurt

Yogurt incubates best at 110-degrees. If all else fails, get a yogurt maker.

Here are a few ideas for an ideal environment to incubate yogurt:

 ~ A yogurt maker! ~ Dehydrator set to 110-degrees. ~ Oven that maintains a 110-degrees with the aid of a pilot light and oven light. ~ Oven that maintains a 110-degrees with the aid of 2 tea candles. Light 2 new tea candles after 4 hours. ~ Place an electric heating pad set to medium between two bath towels on the counter; place the bowl on the towel and wrap another bath towel over the bowl to make a warm nest. ~ Transfer the yogurt to 2 (1-quart) jars; place jars in 3-inches of hot water in an ice chest; reheat the water as needed.

If any of these warm places are less than 110-degrees, the incubation will take longer, about 1 to 2 hours more. Do not let the yogurt incubate for longer than 10 hours, though; it begins to develop a yeasty flavor.

May 18, 2014

hungarian twice-baked potatoes + blog tour summary

Growing up, my mother used to make mashed potatoes loaded with caramelized onions and paprika. This is a complete comfort food for me and when my kids asked for twice-baked potatoes, I was instantly reminded of those potatoes.

When I think of traditional twice-baked potatoes, I have flashbacks of lots of cheese, butter and bacon. Loaded with fat. The beautiful thing about these potatoes is that they are flavorful without all the added fat. I also added spinach to my filling to increase the nutritional element. Very happy I did! The kids loved it and this is a wonderful version of a baked potato. 

Use an ice cream scoop to remove the inside of the baked potatoes, but take care to leave enough potato in the skins to maintain the integrity of the walls of the potatoes, otherwise you'll wind up with a floppy potato skin, one difficult to stuff. 

As I am sure some of you know, my cookbook, Everyday Vegan Eats, hit bookstores and Amazon earlier this week. To launch the book, we are celebrating with a blog tour, one going from Canned-Time to Robin Robertson's Global Vegan Kitchen. Most of the stops along the tour are offering a chance to win my cookbook, so I hope you have maximized your chances of winning by entering every single one!

Along the tour, you've had a chance to sample recipes from the cookbook and I couldn't be happier! 

A word of note, though, many of the giveaways are ending in the next few days, so don't delay. Click the links and enter to win!


GIVEAWAY ends May 20th.

Photo by Angela McKee, featuring Scampi Pasta:

GIVEAWAY ends May 19th.

GIVEAWAY ends May 20th.

Photo by Cadry

GIVEAWAY ends May 22nd.

Photo by Tamasin Noyes

GIVEAWAY ends May 22nd. This is a double giveaway in that Robin is giving away my book AND her new More Quick-Fix Vegan cookbook. Win them both!

Oakland Veg featured my Pad Thai recipe:

Mrs. Pine Nuts also wrote up a review on her blog. She was one of my amazing testers and she runs down the dishes she made. Her post is HERE.

If you do not win, don't fret! Either buy your own copy or wait for more giveaways coming next week. GiGi at Veganville and Maggie Muggins at The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado will be our next stop along the blog tour, with giveaways at both stops.

As a reminder, if you haven't entered the giveaway for Tamasin Noyes' and Celine Steen's Vegan Finger Foods cookbook, make sure to enter HERE.

I am linking to these recipe parties: The blogs hosting Healthy Vegan Fridays are Suzanne at Hello Veggie, Anna at Herbivore Triathlete, and Kimmy at Rock My Vegan SocksI’ve also decided to submit this dish to What I Ate Wednesday hosted by Peas and Crayons. 

I am linking to these recipe parties: Healthy Vegan FridaysWhat I Ate Wednesday and Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck. 

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