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Need help with almond milk yogurt

 
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Hello everyone,

I'm rather new to all of this, but I attempted to make almond milk yogurt the other day, and it completely failed. It didn't thicken at all, and it didn't taste very good. But I'm not sure what to even change in the process since the recipe was rather straightforward. Here is what I did:

Used store-bought almond milk - Califa.
Used store-bought almond milk yogurt as the mother - Kite Hill.
Honey
Chia Seeds

I did 2 cups of almond milk.
Followed the directions with my yogurt maker to pasteurize it.
Let it cool until it was just warm to my touch.
Added 1/3 cup of mother.
Added 1 tablespoon of honey.
The recipe said to let it incubate for 12 hours, so I set my yogurt maker to incubate for that long.
Added 2-3 tablespoons of chia seeds.
Put it in the fridge for several hours.

And that's it! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
 
pollinator
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Is the type of almond milk you bought "shelf-stable"? That might be your problem. I've only used whole fat soy milk, (plain no other thickeners, ect.) And haven't had a problem.
 
pollinator
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Just one recommendation if you have the tools on hand.

Make your own almond milk as an initial phase in the trouble-shooting process.  It probably can be done in a standard blender, but if you have a higher-speed unit like a VitaMix or equivalent, that should do the trick.  My standard ratio is ~ 1/4 c slivered almonds (no skin) and maybe a few unsalted raw/roasted cashews if they are on hand with a cup of water or just enough to cover the blender blades.  Blend well.....in the VitaMix after a 2 minute blend on high, the mix is pretty warm.  Then add a second cup of water, a bit of oil (~ 1 Tbsp) of your choice if desired, and a pinch of salt and sweetener....the latter all preference and not required.  Blend again for about 30 sec. on medium speed.  No need to filter if you are making yogurt. Often, but not always, I will bring the milk to a low boil at this step (naturally thickens the nut milk) and then let cool before mixing-in bacterial cultures.

Next, as you noted, mix with either non-dairy yogurt starter or a capsule of probiotics (Lactobacillus mix).  Let sit in favorite container at desired temperature for (in my experience) several days.  When done, if you want a thicker consistency, use a nut-milk filter of your choice....reusable bags/strainers or other such item.  I double-up a large coffee filter, pour the mixture in as it sits in a strainer, then straddle the strainer over a deep bowl and let it drain (loosely covered in the fridge) until I like the texture.  Flavor as desired.  Hope this may help.....if it does you can repeat with the store bought milk and see if it works.

Edited to ask:  Did you put the honey in later or during the bacterial culturing?   If during, could the natural antibiotics in honey be killing your Lactobacillus cultures?
 
Tiarra Starroway
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Thank you to both of you! I will give these suggestions a try.
 
pollinator
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Sometimes, especially with nondairy milks, it just takes way longer than it should/you expect for it to set up. That doesn't explain the bad taste, though.

The suggestion to try with homemade milk is to eliminate the possibility that one of the ingredients in the store bought milk is reacting in an undesirable way or preventing a reaction you want (just in case you or someone else reading didn't fully get the why behind that).  When you do use store bought try to get a brand with the fewest ingredients you can.
 
Tiarra Starroway
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It worked! Using homemade almond milk (which is delicious by the way), and adding the honey after it incubated worked!

Does anyone know how to get rid of the slight chalky texture, though? It's not terrible, but slightly off-putting.
 
John Weiland
pollinator
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Tiarra Starroway wrote:It worked! .....

Does anyone know how to get rid of the slight chalky texture, though? It's not terrible, but slightly off-putting.



Great to hear of the success!   Especially in the summer months, my almond milk has a pretty short lifespan in the fridge since it will be naturally inoculated with whatever was in the water, on the nuts, etc.  End result is that it starts getting tart and thick from microbial growth after only a few days in the fridge.  Winter months seem to allow it to last longer.   Anyway, part of being able to make the milk and the yogurt yourself is that you can concentrate or dilute the milk to the consistency that you want.  My favorite mix right now is about 1/4 c. slivered almonds and a few tablespoons of cashews, the latter of which give the milk a bit more fat/body *without* the milk being so concentrated.  Since this final milk can be diluted a bit more than straight almond milk and *still* have good body, I find it reduces the chalkiness of straight, more concentrated almond milk irrespective of whether I'm using it for yogurt or ice cream, etc.  Can't say for sure if this will help, but I would play around with the dilution level of the milk to find the right balance between your yogurt thickness and your flavor chalkiness.....there may be a happy medium in there somewhere.   Good luck!

PS....Don't try this milk with added cocoa;--- highly addictive!
 
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