Almond Milk Frozen Yogurt #1

Frozen Yogurt from Almond Milk

Some of my Christmas gifts – a fermentation crock and a jerky maker – guarded by Santa!

My family knows me well.  For Christmas I was given:  1.  A Fermentation Crock (olives and pickles – yummm), 2. A Jerky Gun (it makes jerky with hamburger), and 3.  A Yogurt Maker.  I made some yogurt right away with cow’s milk and words cannot describe how delicious it is!  Fresh and creamy!  I added in some fresh fruit and chopped walnuts and it makes the      Best.      Breakfast.     Ever!

Then my mind started wandering, then wondering (stand back, this could get ugly) about making yogurt with almond milk.  I argued with myself and said: “self – cow’s milk is yummy, you aren’t lactose intolerant, and almond milk can get expensive!  Why bother?”  Then I answered,” because I can!” :)

Besides, it’s not really the almond milk yogurt I’m after, it’s freezing the almond milk yogurt into almond milk frozen yogurt!  Why?  Because when we move up to the homestead with the nearest grocery store 30 miles down the mountain, I would prefer to travel to said store only once per month.  Since fresh milk doesn’t usually last that long, I would like to develop an alternative substance – perhaps almond milk – that I can craft into a yummy frozen yogurt concoction.

That sounds reasonable………….. right?

So, I did some research on the internet and indeed I found some recipes for frozen almond milk yogurt!  I read through a dozen or so recipes and decided to start out with the easiest one. I also did a bit of research trying to educate myself on how yogurt is made and what components are necessary to make “yogurt” and found out that all you need is milk of some kind that has “sugar” in it, and bacteria that “eats” the sugar and turns the sugars into acid, which is what gives you the tangy taste and a thick product!

In cow’s milk, the sugar is lactose and the bacteria turns the lactose into lactic acid.  However, almond milk does not have lactose, nor does it have enough “natural” sugar, and so it is necessary to add sugar.  I chose to use honey.

The bacteria is available in several different forms.  The easiest to use, of course, is a couple of tablespoons of already cultured yogurt.  You can also buy freeze-dried cultures or refrigerated live cultures.  These can be bought through retail outlets as actual supplements or in prepared packages made just for culturing yogurt.  You can choose, but I found that the supplements aren’t very expensive if you do a little shopping.

So, I decided to do my first experiments with a recipe I found here:   http://afairytalecomesalive.blogspot.com/2013/04/recipe-almond-milk-yogurt.html  simply because it sounded like the easiest and there was nothing that I didn’t already have in my cupboard (no guar gum, arrowroot powder, agar agar, xanthem gum, etc.).

Making Almond Milk

First things first – make some almond milk. I use a 1 cup almonds to 2 cups water ratio.

I quickly made some almond milk (easy to do, just click here for instructions) and heated it carefully over a double boiler with the honey and cornstarch until the mixture reached 180 degrees.  Getting the mixture to 180 degrees over a double boiler takes quite a while, so start this process early in the day!  Then the batch needs to cool down to 100 to 110 degrees, which also takes forever!  Once the batch is cooled, it is innoculated with the bacteria.  For my first batch I

Making Frozen Yogurt with Almond milk

The almond milk must get to at least 180 degrees to kill off all the “bad” bacteria.

decided to try a freeze dried concoction sold as a dietary supplement (in capsule form) with:  Lactobacillus acidophilus, Streptococcus thermophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus.  After innoculation, I added the mixture to my new yogurt maker and set the timer to 10 hours.  After 10 hours (it was 12 o’clock at night, ugghhh!), I put the mixture into the refrigerator to cool down.

The next morning I was so excited to taste my new almond milk yogurt!  I pulled it out from the refrigerator and I was a bit disappointed to see that it wasn’t very thick.  I went ahead and poured off the whey and put it through the yogurt strainer to thicken it, and it did thicken a bit more.  Then I tasted it.

Have you ever made chicken gravy when you know you don’t really have enough drippings but make the gravy anyway and then add in too much cornstarch or flour?

Well, that’s how it tasted.  Very cornstarchy. Very bland.  And not much tang – at all.

Making Frozen Yogurt from Almond Milk

Second batch – this time I used store bought dairy yogurt – plain. I used Fage because I find it has the least amount of preservatives of the brands that I could choose from.

I figured there may have been a problem with the freeze dried stuff and decided to try it with a couple tablespoons of store bought plain yogurt.  That’s how I made my first batch of cow’s milk yogurt and it was yummy.  So, I repeated the recipe (but with the store bought yogurt) and tried it again.  Hmmmmm………

This time it had a bit more tang, but still had a pretty heavy cornstarch aftertaste.  I still wanted to see how it would freeze up and thought to myself, “what kind of flavoring would cut the bland taste of cornstarch?”  Lemons!!!  I have been making my own lemon extract (for instructions on making your own extracts, click here) for a couple of months now and so I added 1 teaspoon of lemon extract and then tasted it.  Meh.

Home made Almond Frozen Yogurt

Flavoring the Almond Yogurt with home-made lemon extract and fresh lemon zest, before freezing.

Not enough lemon.  I added another teaspoon along with some lemon zest.  Better!

Using my KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment, I froze the almond yogurt.  The result?  Interesting.  Not bad, but not really good either.  Lemony and could use a touch of sweetener, but that cornstarch flavor just seems to hang on the tongue.

So, on to batch #3.  I am determined to get this right!  This time I tried using the same recipe, but instead of 1/2 cup of cornstarch, I used 2 tablespoons.  Instead of the freeze dried bacteria or the fresh dairy yogurt to innoculate it, I went to my local health food store and found some refrigerated live bacteria!  It really wasn’t that expensive and the bottle is good for 1-1/2 years – as long as it is kept refrigerated.

Almond Frozen Yogurt Recipe

The yogurt got thick enough, even with less cornstarch. I just can’t seem to get past that cornstarch taste that hangs on, well after you have had a bite!

The result?  Well, better than experiment #2, but nothing to write home about.  It still got fairly thick, even with less cornstarch, and even thicker when I drained it for a couple hours in the refrigerator.  But, it was still missing that “tang” you are supposed to taste in yogurt. And I still tasted cornstarch.

So, I did some more research.  Two things I think I am doing wrong.  1.  I have been stirring the mixture as it is incubating in my yogurt maker.  Apparently that’s a no-no.  Oops.  2.  I should not use honey.  Natural honey carries it’s own set of bacteria that may not be such a good thing to incubate.  Apparently some people have gotten very sick after eating yogurt made with raw honey.

Also, as I was re-thinking these experiments, I realized that maybe I don’t need the cornstarch at all!  The only reason for the cornstarch is for thickening up the yogurt to make the texture more like cow’s milk yogurt.  Cow’s milk has casein, a protein lacking in almond milk, that helps to thicken up the cow’s milk yogurt.  That is why people put corn starch, gelatin, agar-agar, arrowroot powder, etc., in the nondairy milk – to thicken it up!  But if I am just going to freeze the almond milk yogurt, do I really have to have it thick before I do that?  Possibly not.  Also, the frozen yogurt gets really hard in the freezer – hard as a rock!  I wonder if using a gelatin would soften it but give it body as well? Or, could I use my mixer to beat the yogurt into a froth and forgo the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment and instead just put the mixture straight into the freezer?  What do you think?

Frozen Yogurt from Almonds

This certainly looks good. And a first bite isn’t bad – it’s just that the cornstarch taste lingers on the tongue. I suppose in a pinch, on a very hot summer day, this might be considered almost tasty.

 

And so the experiments and the research continue!  :)

Stay tuned for the next chapter of “Almond Milk Frozen Yogurt”, due next week!

 

 

 

 

 

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37 thoughts on “Almond Milk Frozen Yogurt #1

  1. Good for you for keeping at it! I love almond milk, and would be curious to find out if you find just the right recipe. I’ve never tried making my own yogurt, though. I will check back to see how you fare!

    • Thanks, Liza! I am beginning round 2 right now! I will post my results next week – if I don’t poison myself first! Hahaha Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Wait! But I want to know if you get it! No fair leaving on a cliff hanger! Thanks for sharing your trials, Vickie. Too often we forget to share our mistakes and those are really where we learn the most. I hope you get it figured out! Can’t wait to find out. I will be back next week to see.

    • Dun dun dah……….who knows what I will finally end up with – hopefully really good frozen almond yogurt! In the meantime, please pray with us that I don’t kill my husband, whom I affectionately call my “guinea pig”. I would really miss him :).

  3. It’s fascinating reading about your experiments with this, and I’ll certainly be back to hear how they continue with the next batches because I am lactose intolerant. While I can have cow’s milk in some things, it bothers me in others, and ice cream has been on my no-no list since last summer. I’ve been looking for a good almond milk frozen yogurt recipe since then, and I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    • Thanks, Erin. I can’t wait to see what I come up with either, but this next recipe seems to be promising! Thank you for your thoughts!

  4. I make homemade sesame milk. I also make homemade non-dairy kefir (with grains) using this milk but I add lots of date paste into the mix to feed them. I end up with a delicious result that I can use to culture all sorts of things (including bread without additional “regular” yeast) so I had a go at making a coconut yoghurt. I used 2 cans of regular coconut cream and blended in 2 mangoes and 2 very ripe pears and added half a cup of the finished non-dairy kefir and left it to culture on the countertop overnight. By the next morning it was delicious but not tangy enough so I left it for another half a day and by then it was perfect. Delish! It was also very thick and I reckon you could use it to make a delicious ice cream adding cocoa, anything really. Canned coconut milk is an easy pantry item to store and the results were so delicious I am going to make them again :)

    • That sounds very interesting! You put the pears and mangoes in while the coconut milk was culturing? Cool. So, I suppose the sugars in the fruit helped the fermentation process. Hmmmmm. Now you have my brain gears turning! That is such a great idea! Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your recipe!

    • Well…… I don’t think you want to try THIS one. Maybe I didn’t do it right, but I am moving on with a different recipe – without cornstarch! But, there are lots of recipes out there with quite a few variations on the theme, so you should certainly try making your own! If you do, and you have success, please let me know! You could do an article on it for your blog and I would love to put it on my blog also! Thanks, Jeannie Marie!

    • Haha! Christine – you know me so well! Hmmmmmm…… acorn milk yogurt. I was thinking about that one just yesterday! I will have to give it a try! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I think it’s great that you post about what DOESN’T work as well as what does so everyone can learn from your experiences! I’m sharing your “experiments” with a dairy-free friend who is also a good experimenter in the kitchen. :)

    • Wow, Jamie, that would be great! Maybe you could relay some suggestions from her to me! BTW, I may be an experimenter in the kitchen, but I wouldn’t say I was a good one! If I posted everything that didn’t work, I would have a Tolstoy novel by now! Did I tell you about the smoked salmon lasagna or the sweet and sour chicken livers? No, no, no, no.

  6. it looks like
    you’re having fun experimenting!

    i don’t love yogurt

    although
    i do love it when it’s full fat
    and freshly made

    i don’t think i’d miss the tang
    in cow’s milk yogurt
    but i’d have to taste it to see

    thanks for sharing
    at Fridays Unfolded!

    Alison
    Nancherrow

  7. You are so amazing at how you keep at something until it turns out just the way you want it. I know you will have it perfected in no time! I must confess that my food dryer came with a jerky gun and I have never used it. I’m sure you will put yours to good use! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

    • Thanks Jann. You are right, I can be pretty persistent. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes not so much, but I think this is one to keep working on. I’ll let you know how the next batch turns out!

    • Well, so far I know what I don’t like, and that’s cornstarch in Almond Yogurt! Hopefully I will find a recipe that tastes as good as it looks!

    • Hello, Rebecca! I just came back from reading your blog – love it! I have a son in college right now – Anthropology Major – and I know what you are having to deal with! He lived in a dorm his first year and was limited to having only a microwave and a small refrigerator in his room – no other cooking appliances whatsoever! Of course, I heard some of the girls made grilled cheese sandwiches with their irons, but hey – you do what you gotta do! I’ll bet you are one of the most popular girls on your floor! Good luck with all your recipes. I’ll let you know how the next batch turns out!

  8. What about a bit of gelatin? That’s what I use in my raw goat’s milk yogurt and it helps it thicken up.
    Thanks for sharing at Real Food Fridays!
    Janine@mylampisfull

  9. Good luck with your ongoing experiment. I would have stopped after first try and went back to cows milk :) let us know how it turns out.
    Thanks for sharing at the homeacre hop!
    Sandra

    • Haha – with all the various recipes for almond yogurt out there, there has to be at least ONE good one! I am determined to find that one! Thanks for stopping by, Sandra!

  10. Wow!!!! You made out like a bandit for Christmas, all those wonderful toys to play. I can’t wait til you get the recipe down like I know you will. It’s great to see bloggers sharing their mistakes it helps others not make the same ones, thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays.

    • I did make out like a bandit, didn’t I! I am so blessed! As for my mistakes – they come pretty often – especially in the kitchen! Unfortunately Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart are not in my family tree! But, no matter. I actually like trying to get a new recipe “just right” and enjoy working through the process!

    • Thanks! This has been quite an adventure – trying to make frozen yogurt that we would actually eat! These first few experiments were flops, but I learned quite a bit from them, so it wasn’t wasted time and food. The next post on the frozen yogurt has a recipe that actually tastes good!

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