YogurtNest UK Vegan Week Day 2: How to make Almond Yoghurt

So here we are, already on Day 2. Today we've made almond yoghurt, using homemade almond milk (so easy!) and again tried it with three different thickeners, as before.

almonds ready for homemade almonds yoghurt

To start we prepared our almond milk.

  • Soak 250ml of raw almonds in water for a few hours, or ideally overnight, just enough water to cover the nuts.
  • Drain the almonds and pour them into a blender or processor with 750mls of fresh cold water.
  • Blitz the almonds and water for a few minutes until they are of a milky consistency and there is only a pulpy texture remaining of the almonds.
  • Place a sieve over a bowl, line the sieve with a Better Cloth and strain the milk so that the liquid and pulp are separated through the cloth. 
  • Leave for a few minutes until the drips have all but finished passing through the cloth and squeeze the cloth into a ball to eke out the last few drops of milk.
  • IMPORTANT: Don't throw the pulp away. You can lay this out on a baking tray and cook it on a low heat until fully dried out and store in an airtight container as a great extra ingredient in homemade granola, baking recipes or for sprinkling over your breakfast.

almonds pulp cooked

You now have your milk prepped and ready to use for making yoghurt. If you have not made your own yoghurt then make sure you buy some with the simplest list of ingredients, highest percentage of almond and fewest additives.

From here the process is very similar to how we made soya yoghurt, although you may find that the almond milk will thicken more easily so perhaps be a bit tentative with how much thickening agent you decide to use.

Start by ensuring all of your utensils, accessories and hands are nice and clean.

Guar gum

Method:

  • Pour the desired amount of milk into a saucepan.
  • With a whisk at the ready, sprinkle a teaspoon of guar gum (per 300ml of liquid) over the cold almond milk and start mixing.
  • The milk will start to thicken after about 20 seconds, once the gum has dissolved.
  • If you want a thicker consistency you can add more, but do so sparingly, bit by bit.
  • Now heat the milk to 50 degrees (no more) and transfer it to your chosen jar. Be aware that it will heat very quickly so keep a keen eye on the temperature and keep stirring to prevent it from scorching in the pan. If you pass 50 degrees make sure you let the milk cool back down before adding the starter.
  • Add your starter cultures (a teaspoon if using live yoghurt), close the lid of your jar and place it in your YogurtNest for at least 6 hours. We simply used a teaspoon of live soya yoghurt which contains the necessary bacteria. Make sure that if you are using starter cultures from a sachet or capsule that there are in fact vegan friendly as some are still derived from dairy milk.

As we've mentioned before, guar gum can be tricky to get right, but it does create a smooth consistency once you have refined your technique. Just be aware that it does have a unique taste that can overpower the flavour of the milk, so you may prefer to add a touch of cane sugar, vanilla or agave nectar as well.  

Almond yoghurt made with guar gum

Arrowroot Starch (Ground Arrowroot)
Arrowroot is widely available, both in supermarkets (usually the baking section) or specialist health stores. It is less powerful than guar gum, so easier to use, but needs to be heated to a much higher temperature in order to thicken properly. It doesn't have such a powerful flavour so you retain more of the almond taste and creates quite a smooth texture.

Method:

  • Pour your milk into a saucepan (start with around 300ml).
  • Dissolve a sachet of arrowroot in a couple of tablespoons of milk.
  • Pour the dissolved arrowroot into the saucepan and heat to about 70 degrees, stirring throughout in order to prevent scorching.
  • Pour into a chosen jar and leave to cool back to between 45 and 50 degrees.
  • Add your starter cultures (a teaspoon if using live yoghurt), close the lid of your jar and place it in your YogurtNest for at least 6 hours.

 Here's how it looked after being left in the YogurtNest overnight:

Almond milk yoghurt made using arrowroot thickener

Corn flour:
Corn flour is quite easy to use, but takes a little bit of practice to get a method that works well for you. You can alter the amount of thickener depending on how runny or thick you prefer your yoghurt to be. It will thicken most as the milk reaches boiling point, but will thicken further as it cools and then more so during its time in the YogurtNest. It doesn't really add much flavour, although like any flour, if you add lots then it can become more chalky, although by that stage you'll likely have a consistency that's too thick to really qualify as a yoghurt anymore.

Method:

  • Pour your milk into a saucepan
  • Dissolve the corn flour in a few tablespoons of milk - roughly 1 tablespoon per 300ml, although you can obviously adjust to your own preference. And you can add more milk or corn flour whilst heating in order to get the desired consistency, just make sure you keep stirring throughout!
  • Heat the milk to boiling point, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. It will thicken most as it approaches boiling.
  • Transfer to a jar and leave to cool back to between 45 and 50 degrees (be patient - the last few degrees can take a surprisingly long time). As it cools it is likely to develop a skin so you can give it a stir.
  • Add your starter cultures (a teaspoon if using live yoghurt), close the lid of your jar and place it in your YogurtNest for at least 6 hours.

almond yoghurt made using corn flour to thicken

We decided to flavour and texture our yoghurt with banana, chia seed and agave nectar. And very good it was too. You could also do almond with cherry for a bakewell tart vibe, almond with lemon zest and poppy seeds or almond with raspberry... really the choices are almost endless.

homemade vegan almond yoghurt with chia seeds, agave nectar and banana