Living in a sparsely populated, far away country like Australia means missing out on plant-based versions of staple foods that are abundant overseas. It’s basically impossible to find a nutritionally equivalent, palatable, plant-based yogurt in Australia. Not willing to accept the lack of yogurt in my life, I took matters into my own hands and developed this homemade, protein and probiotic rich soy yogurt recipe.
Why soy yogurt…not coconut, almond or oat?
Soy is preferable to other plant-based yogurts (such as oat, almond and coconut) because soy is the only one with a similar protein content to animal-based dairy.
Some non-dairy yogurts are extremely high in saturated fat, have lots of added sugar, questionable amounts of probiotics and little to no calcium or protein. They lack the important nutrients you expect from yogurt, and I believe this is damaging to the plant-based movement and ultimately peoples’ health. I consider most plant-based yogurts to be more like dessert than a core food (i.e. a dairy alternative), and for this reason, I don’t recommend them to my clients.
However, the soy-based alternatives available in Australia are few. At the time of writing this (the end of 2022) there are only 1 or 2 brands of soy yogurt available, and they don’t seem to be very popular. The new Vitasoy Greek style yogurt is by far the best, however, it’s not widely available. Woolworth stores. Hopefully this changes soon.
Given the lack options and the rising cost of dairy, making your own plant-based yogurt from scratch is a sensible option. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy, but people will be super impressed at your domestic prowess! There’s also a sense of satisfaction and empowerment that comes from learning a new culinary skill, and perfecting your own recipe.
10 benefits of making your own soy yogurt
- you can use your favourite soy milk/s
- you can use a calcium fortified product
- you control the amount of sugar
- you can control the tanginess by adjusting the fermentation time
- you choose the strains of probiotics
- you’ll save money
- there’s less waste from packaging
- you’ll be more self-reliant
- there’s a lot of room to be creative – you can come up with your own variations
- you’ll feel like a badass
Not to mention the overwhelmingly positive health benefits of adding a serve or two of soy to your diet. You can check out my post about this here.
The 5 best soy milks to use for homemade yogurt (Australia 2022)
- Spiral Foods Bonsoy
- Vitasoy Protein Plus (unsweetened)
- Vitasoy Calci-plus
- So Good Regular Soy Milk
- Vitasoy Original Soy Milk
I’d love to know if you’ve tried making your own soy milk yogurt, or have any recipe tips you’d like to share.
Soy yogurt recipe
- 1 Pressure cooker with yogurt setting optional - if you have one it's the easiest method
- 1 Litre glass jar and culturing flask optional - if you don't have a pressure cooker
- 1 Yogurt maker optional - if you have none of the above equipment
- 1 Thermometer optional - they are recommended to get optimal and consistent results because you have better control over the temperature, however, you can get by without.
- 1 Funnel Only needed if you're using a pressure cooker as you'll need to transfer the yogurt into a container/ jar.
- 4 cups Soy milk I use high protein, unsweetened soy milk
- 2 capsules Probiotics (or 2 tbsps. of good quality store-bought yogurt) Any brand will do. I use broad spectrum capsules with lactobacillus and bifidum bacteria. You can use a starter culture if you have one.
- 2 tsp Raw sugar Optional - however if your soy milk is unsweetened you'll need some carbohydrate for the probiotics to ferment. Without it, you won't get the yogurt tanginess.
- Sterilise the pressure cooker, jar or yogurt maker by boiling thoroughly
- Heat the milk to 80 C/175 F to kill any bacteria, but DON'T let it boil as it will damage the proteins. You can use a medium saucepan or you can use the sauté/ heat function of your pressure cooker.
- Allow the milk to cool to about 45 C (115F) before adding the probiotics (or yogurt starter) so that they "wake up" but are not killed by high the temperature. NB: If you're not using a thermometer, you can estimate the temperature by watching for tiny bubbles as they appear on top of the soymilk. Once the bubbles start to appear, remove from heat. You can estimate when the milk is cool enough because you can comfortably touch it.
- Open the probiotic capsules and tip them in the warm milk (OR add a yogurt starter, OR 2 tbsp of store-bought yogurt).
- Add the sugar to the warm soy milk. Stir well until the sugar and probiotics are dissolved.
- PRESSURE COOKER: Set your pressure cooker to yogurt function and leave to ferment for 8-12 hours. The longer you leave it the tangier and thicker the yogurt will be.
- YOGURT MAKER: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to set the yogurt.
- CULTURING POT: pour the warm yogurt into the jar/s and allow them to ferment between 12-24 hours - however, this will depend on the environmental heat and how consistently your culturing pot keeps the temperature. If it's cold weather, you may need to fill the boiling water more often, therefore it will take longer.
- If you're using a pressure cooker or yogurt maker, once you're happy with the flavour of the yogurt, give it a good stir and pour it into a 1-litre glass jar or container of choice.
- Place the yogurt in the fridge. Refrigeration stops the fermentation process. Chill the yogurt overnight before serving.