Vegan Chocolate Frozen Soy Yogurt

October 23, 2009

Tangy and refreshing with rich chocolate flavor

Tangy and refreshing with rich chocolate flavor

More playing around with the delicious soy yogurt I’ve been making. Since the weather has been so hot and muggy, I have been reluctant to experiment in the kitchen with anything requiring heat. But frozen yogurt hits the spot.

This has less of a creamy consistency than the
mango frozen yogurt, since there is no fruit to give it body. It melts more like a sorbet or ice milk and always refreshes.

I made this for my father using dairy yogurt. The only difference was you could taste the dairy in it–it tasted more like a milk chocolate bar than the soy version. But both have an unexpected tang from the yogurt, which grows on you.

Vegan Chocolate Frozen Soy Yogurt
2 cups yogurt
2 TBS cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Freeze until half frozen. Blend again to break up ice crystals. Freeze until firm.

To serve, remove from freezer about 10-15 minutes before serving, so it can soften.

Vegan Mango Frozen Soy Yogurt

October 13, 2009
Yogurt tang, fresh fruit, and a dash of spice combine in this creamy frozen yogurt.

Yogurt tang, fresh fruit, and a dash of spice combine in this creamy frozen yogurt.

What to do with all the soy yogurt I’ve been making? I mean, besides just eating it by the spoonful? 🙂

Our 30-foot mango tree is still dropping a few mangoes every day, the very last of the season. However, from such a height, not much is left once they’ve hit the ground. So I have been painstakingly cutting the tiny bits from every salvageable fruit and freezing them to use where the texture isn’t crucial.

This frozen yogurt highlights both fruit and yogurt. The tang from the yogurt comes through, and you can add spices and tinker with the flavor.

Why pay for commercial yogurt when this is easy and loaded with beneficial microorganisms? Substitute other seasonal fruit in your area if mango is not available. Persimmon season is starting…I bet that would work splendidly.

Gee, now I am forced to consume all of this batch to make room in the freezer for the next test. heh heh.

Vegan Mango Frozen Soy Yogurt
1 cup mango
1-1/2 cups soy yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp salt

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Freeze until halfway frozen. Put back in the blender and blend again, to create a thick, shake-like consistency without lumps. Freeze until firm.

For ease of serving, remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving, or microwave 15 seconds to soften just enough that you can scoop it easily.

Soy Yogurt, Take Two

September 17, 2009
This second batch of soy yogurt (served with the end-of-season mangoes) was slightly thicker than the first time but still not as thick as I'd like.

This second batch of soy yogurt (served with the end-of-season mangoes) was slightly thicker than the first time but still not as thick as I'd like.

My first attempts at making soy yogurt were a success, but I wanted this time to see if I could get it a bit thicker. I don’t want to have to strain it, so I’m tweaking the recipe in the hopes of getting something I like.

After watching Alton Brown on the tv show Good Eats, I thought adding a small amount of soy flour to my soymilk might help. The finished product was noticeably thicker, at least on the bottom of the container, although there still is some wateriness, which you can see in the photo above.

However, I also wrapped a towel around the inner container before stuffing it into the insulated cooler, and I put a towel underneath the whole thing, to maintain the warm temperature for a longer period of time. The ideal range is about 115-120 degrees F. The bacteria will continue to make yogurt as it cools, but not as vigorously.

Since it was thicker at the bottom, this may be due to the towel and not the soy flour. It didn’t occur to me to put a towel on top. So I need to isolate the effects. Next time I’ll try towels but no soy flour and see what happens.

One thing is for sure: the yogurt from the first batch, which has been in my fridge, is getting more sour over time. The lovely tang and creaminess make it addictive, and I find myself dipping in for a spoonful every now and then. I guess it’s healthier than dipping into something like caramel sauce!

The live bacteria are good for my digestive system, which helps my immune system. And I could be paying a lot of money for commercial yogurt instead, which often has gums, thickeners and gelatin, which I don’t want to eat. Mine has just soymilk, a small amount of the first batch of soy yogurt, and some soy flour.

Gee, on second thought, maybe the soy yogurt as starter this time made a difference. Last time I used commercial dairy yogurt as a starter.

Well, I guess that means only one thing: back to the lab!

Homemade Soy Yogurt

September 6, 2009

My latest mad-scientist food experiment is to try my hand at making soy yogurt. I’ve done other fermented foods: sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, lacto-fermented vegetables, but this was the first yogurt expedition.

I mixed in a small amount of regular yogurt (with starter cultures) into some soymilk that I heated and cooled to the proper temperature. The mixture has to remain at the correct temperature in order for the bacteria to grow and cause the thickening and sourness.

My low-tech solution was a plastic container which fit perfectly into an old insulated foam cooler I had lying around…house full of junk=lots of opportunity!

The mixture is placed in a container inside a cooler to maintain an even temperature.

The mixture is placed in a container inside a cooler to maintain an even temperature.

Then it was set in the corner to work its magic, literally! I let it incubate for eight hours.

The concoction is put to bed.

The concoction is put to bed.

I opened the box and lid with crossed fingers to find…

After eight hours, the transformation has begun...

After eight hours, the transformation has begun...

Voila! The bacteria have infiltrated the soymilk, leaving the telltale fermentation calling card behind: bubbles.

I took a scoop to sample. It still tastes very much like soymilk, with slight souring, and the creaminess and thick consistency of a watery sour cream. I will let it be until I wake up tomorrow and see what I end up with.

So much excitement. How will I ever sleep tonight?

If only chemistry in high school had been this much fun…

UPDATE: The next day…
Today the yogurt was tangier than when I tasted it last night, although the flavor still wasn’t very strong. I was afraid to leave it out longer to see if it would continue to sour.

As far as thickness goes, it was fairly runny. I suppose I could strain it to get it thicker. More experimenting is in order, but it’s very exciting to be able to completely transform soymilk into yogurt.

From now on I should be able to use that as my starter culture and just add some from the most recent batch to make more yogurt.

Cuisinart Ice 21: A Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker Review by a Real User

January 30, 2011

homemade ice cream machine

I had been wanting to get an automatic ice cream machine for a while but wondered if it was worth the expense. I finally caved and got one that I hoped would be inexpensive, easy to use, durable, and give me freedom to make homemade ice cream, yogurt, sorbets, and other frozen delights. Here is a Cuisinart ice cream maker review, of the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker machine.

Years ago we had a really cheap, hand-cranked ice cream maker. The idea is that there is a large bowl you place in your freezer. When you are ready to make ice cream or other frozen dessert, you add your mixture and the paddle and start turning.

The paddle incorporates air into the base mix and allows smaller ice crystals to form as it is freezing. The result is creamy and smooth, without ice crystals that can make your ice cream crunchy and less desirable.

The problem with that old homemade ice cream machine was that you had to constantly crank for about half an hour. And you couldn’t stop, because the stuff would freeze where it touched the sides of the bowl. The plastic mixing paddle was put under a lot of strain to move so much ice cream. There was more and more resistance as the mixture froze.

The Cuisinart Ice 21 ice cream machine kind of reverses the paddle mechanism, plus it is automated. That means you do not have to crank or turn anything, except turn on the switch!

The freezer bowl part of the equation is the same. You need a fairly large space in your freezer to keep it there. It needs to be upright; otherwise, the liquid inside will freeze unevenly, which means the ice cream will freeze unevenly.

Use the bowl immediately after you take it out of the freezer, because it starts to lose its potency every second it is out. You will only be able to make one batch, too, so purchase extra bowls if you want to do consecutive batches at a time.

This maker has a 1-1/2 quart capacity, which is just right. That’s about what a typical blender can hold, and since I do most of my base mixes in the blender, that works perfectly. It’s just enough for me to keep some to eat ourselves, and give a smaller portion away to a friend, for critiquing, or as a gift.

The base has a shaft which turns the bowl, rather than turning the paddle. The paddle is held in place by the clear plastic lid. It actually scrapes the mixture off the sides of the freezing bowl, so it freezes and immediately gets scraped off.

It’s an electric ice cream machine, so you plug it in, turn it on, add your base, and watch and wait. The amount of noise it makes isn’t much. Kind of like an electric can opener.

The clear plastic lid makes it easy to see what’s happening–it’s kind of fun to watch–and you can tell when the mixture is the right consistency to add your mix-ins. Those are the stuff like chopped nuts, chunks of fruits, cookie dough, or cookie crumbs.

I’ve even made a mint chocolate chip ice cream the way they do commercially, to create chewy chocolate bits! That’s been the most popular flavor so far.

I’ve also made grape sorbet, leftover fruit salad sherbet and watermelon sorbet with it. All have turned out great.

You should figure on freezing your ice cream for a few hours after churning, because it ends up being somewhat soft, like a thick soft serve. It takes about 25-30 minutes to get to that consistency.

And to answer my question about whether or not the consistency is much different? The answer is yes, absolutely.

I used to partially freeze my base, then put it back into the blender to break up the ice crystals, then freeze until solid. That worked quite well, although there were still some ice crystals in there, which didn’t bother me, and my best friend actually likes that iciness.

But the texture with the Cuisinart ice cream maker is definitely creamier and smoother. So if smooth texture is a huge factor to you, you will enjoy the end results.

Make sure to wash and dry the bowl thoroughly before putting it back in the freezer. If there is any water in the bottom, it will go into the hole for the paddle, and your machine won’t work. You might even break it.

And I would be careful to not drop the plastic cover, because that is crucial for the machine to work properly. I’m guessing one good fall would be enough to break it.

So other than those drawbacks, I can enthusiastically recommend the Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. It’s a well-designed and made machine that allows you to make homemade ice cream and yogurt and other stuff easily. The price has dropped considerably since it has come on the market, so it’s absolutely affordable, too.

Get an extra bowl

Cuisinart 1-1/2-Quart Additional Freezer Bowl, fits ICE-20 Ice Cream Maker
–you want to make more than one batch at a time

–you want to make more than 1-1/2 quarts

–you want to use this to cool things quickly, such as pie fillings. Place a metal bowl on top this frozen bowl, and put your filling in the metal bowl. This frozen bowl chills the other one, which will cool your mixture very quickly.

–you want to use this as a makeshift wine bottle cooler. Cover it with pretty fabric, so it looks nice.

Frozen Yogurt Recipes for Your Ice Cream Maker

Although the recipes used soy yogurt, they will work equally well with regular dairy yogurt.
Chocolate Soy Frozen Yogurt, with a nice chocolate, tangy flavor.

If you live in Hawaii and get stuck for ways to use those mangoes before they get overripe, here’s a delicious recipe for Mango Frozen Soy Yogurt.