I finally did it! I made an Almond Milk Frozen Yogurt that tastes really good!
My first three attempts at making almond milk yogurt can be seen here. The problem was getting an almond milk yogurt to taste good and have the right creamy, thick consistency. When I tried the first recipe using cornstarch, all I could taste was the cornstarch! I thought that maybe the problem was the starter, so I tried using plain dairy yogurt instead of a supplement starter, but again, the cornstarch flavor was a problem. So, I tried using potato starch and then cream of tartar to thicken the yogurt. The potato starch made the yogurt taste, well, potatoey and acidic, but not the tangy yogurt acidic flavor, if you know what I mean. I can’t even describe how the cream of tartar tasted. Not really bad, but the aftertaste or the after FEEL on my tongue just wasn’t very pleasant. My thinking was that I needed to find a thickener that had the least amount of taste or aftertaste on the tongue.
So, I decided to start back at square one. Just almond milk, starter and sugar. That’s it. My plan was to ferment this mixture and then if it turned out really thin but still tasted good, I would add plain gelatin to give it a thicker, and more creamy consistency. However, since my goal is to make frozen yogurt, I wasn’t sure if the thickness of the yogurt would matter very much.
But I didn’t have to add the gelatin! The most simple recipe without thickener turned out to be fairly thick and creamy! I couldn’t believe it! All I had to do was drain off some of the whey, and it was just as thick and creamy as any Greek dairy yogurt you can purchase at the grocery store! So, why on earth did those recipes I followed in the first place add cornstarch or cream of tartar or even guar gum of all things?
Here is how I made my Almond Milk Frozen Yogurt:
I made my almond milk the usual way (2 cups of blanched almonds with 4-1/2 cups water in a blender, blend for 2 minutes, strain out milk) and heated four cups just to a simmer. This may be the key. You are supposed to heat the milk to 180 degrees to pasteurize it, but when making dairy yogurt it is important not to get the milk too hot or it might scorch and the protein in the milk would be destroyed. However, this wasn’t dairy milk and perhaps getting it just to the boiling stage is what made it thicken?? I will have to experiment with this a bit more just to make sure. Nonetheless, it certainly didn’t hurt anything. I took the almond milk off the heat and added 1 tablespoon of cane sugar (not GMO beet sugar!) and stirred to completely dissolve. Do not use honey – especially raw honey – for several reasons, the most important being that honey is a natural antiviral/antibiotic, which may kill off the good starter bacteria you are using to ferment! But you do need some type of sugar for the bacteria to “eat” (which is what fermentation is all about), and the almond milk in itself doesn’t have enough natural sugar for this process. I have read that it is safe to use Agave, but I also understand that Agave isn’t any different than sugar when it comes to glycemic index, tooth decay, and general health. Anyway, once the almond milk and sugar mixture had cooled down to between 100 and 110 degrees, I added 2 capsules of the starter and gently stirred this into the mixture. For my starter, I used a supplement (in capsule form) that contained acidophilus, bulgaricus, thermophilus and bifidum – each capsule holding 500 million viable organisms. You can find these at any health food store, usually in the refrigerated section.
This was put into my new Dash Greek Yogurt Maker and the timer was set for 12 hours. From my research, the more time you give the cultures to ferment the sugars, the better the “tang” in the finished yogurt!
Let it be, let it be, let it be oh let it be! Whisper words of wisdom, let it be!
(Don’t stir!) Don’t you just love the Beatles!!???
After twelve hours the yogurt tasted pretty much like almond flavored yogurt. It was fairly smooth and creamy with a good bit of “tang”. The almond flavor wasn’t too strong, but the taste was there. However, Yogurt is not what I want – I want Frozen Yogurt!
So, to compliment the almond flavor of the yogurt, and since I had some frozen cherries in my freezer, I decided to make Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt!
I chopped up about 1/2 cup of cherries and 1/4 cup of blanched, slivered almonds and added them to the yogurt mixture. Since I felt it needed just a bit more sweetness (it is dessert, after-all), I added 4 drops of my homemade stevia syrup. You can see how to make stevia syrup here.
The entire mixture was added to my handy-dandy IceCream Maker and within a few minutes I had Cherry Almond Frozen Yogurt! Yum! It was really, really good. The flavor was very much Cherry Almond, it was creamy and just sweet enough.
I am so glad I finally got this recipe worked out! My next flavor to try will be Pineapple and Coconut or perhaps Raspberry and Dark Chocolate! Pretty much anything that would go with almonds would work well with this recipe!
If you have any suggestions for flavors or if you have tried making Frozen Yogurt with Almond Milk and have a different recipe that works for you, please let me know in the comment section below! I would love to hear from you!
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