8 hours ‘cultivation’ time required
This is a really simple recipe, quick to prepare and very tasty. If you get through a lot of yoghurt in your household, it will also save money – try making a double batch!
Tapioca flour/starch is sold in good health food stores or Oriental grocers. (I bought a large bag very cheaply from my local Chinese supermarket). Alternatively, try an on-line shop.
Agar-agar powder is also sold in good health food stores – street or online. Neither items are expensive and will last for ages in air-tight containers.
Soya-free if a non-soya live yoghurt is used as a starter culture
- 600ml/generous pint of plain unsweetened soya or other plant milk, eg almond – long-life or chilled
- 2 tbsp tapioca starch/flour (the same thing)
- ⅓ tsp agar-agar powder (flakes will do but whisk very thoroughly)
- 2 tsp sugar – this helps the yoghurt culture to do its thing!
- 4 tbsp/¼ cup plain, live soya yoghurt (Alpro, Provamel or supermarket own-brand)
If you don’t have unsweetened soya milk, use sweetened but halve the amount of sugar.
You will also need
- a vacuum (thermos) flask, preferably a wide-mouthed food type
- a kettle
- medium-large saucepan
- wooden spoon
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- an air-tight container to store the yoghurt when it’s ready – a clean plastic tub or glass jar with lid
1. Sniff the flask! If it is musty, place 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda in the flask and top up gently with warm water. Leave for at least an hour (preferably overnight), then drain, wash in soapy water and rinse in just-boiled water. Soak the lid in bicarb and warm water also.
2. Place half the plant milk in a saucepan, whisk in the tapioca starch, sugar and agar-agar and bring to the boil, whisking all the time to prevent lumps. It should become thick and creamy.
3. Now whisk in the rest of the plant milk but don’t make it too frothy. Let it cool to blood temperature – the mixture should be warm but just enough so you can put your finger in. Stir in the yoghurt carefully so it is well distributed.
4. Pour the mixture into the flask. Seal and place in the fridge.
5. Leave overnight or for at least 8 hours.
6. When it’s ready, whisk until smooth and glossy, transfer into the clean jar/plastic tub and leave for a few hours before eating. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week.
7. To make a new batch, keep aside ½ cup of the original. Let it come to room temperature before making the recipe again. This can be done 12-14 times before you need to buy more yoghurt for a starter.