Sunday, 13 February 2011

Make your own Dairyfree Yogurts


I've always loved fruit yogurts and grew up eating Ski yogurts which were one of the first to be launched in the UK in the 1960's.  Forty years on, I'm still enjoying yogurts though now I only eat dairyfree ones.

These days, there are plenty to choose from and, whether you are normally dairyfree or not, soya fruit yogurts are a popular healthy snack/dessert. It goes without saying that Alpro is the brand leader in the UK, readily available in all the supermarkets.  Healthfood shops also stock Provamel and Sojasun which are all delicious and there's also a French manufacturer Sojade who make a range of organic yogurts.  Asda have their own brand of soya yogurt, a cheaper alternative, that also tastes quite good.

Most manufacturers make a plain unflavoured yogurt and again, Alpro is the most readily available. It has a really creamy texture that's delicious on it's own or you can add your own fruit. 

Making your own plain yogurt is very easy, works out cheaper and, even better, means you are not adding to landfill with all those endless plastic cartons  (though for years, I've recycled mine as plant pots in the greenhouse, with a hole in the bottom for drainage, or taken them to our local recycling centre.)  You don't need any special equipment or ingredients and the end result is lovely, maybe a little milder than a bought one, but ideal if you want to combine fruit with it, or use it in savoury dishes.  More about that later ....

Making your own fruit yogurts is fun too as you can create so many more flavours and add less sugar too.   One of our favourites is pear with stem ginger and crushed ginger biscuits.
  
We also love banana yogurt - handy when you have lots of ripe fruit to use up! 


BANANA YOGURT
 
For one generous portion, you'll need one ripe banana,  a teaspoon of golden castor sugar and about 3 level tablespoons of plain natural yogurt.

Banana yogurt is made in moments with a hand-blender but you could also mash it by hand for a chunkier version or reserve slices of banana to add in later.  



For the smooth version,  put one peeled banana in a tallish container with the sugar and blitz down.
Add the yogurt and blend thoroughly before pouring into a dish. 

Banana yogurt tastes wonderful but can look boring and will also discolour if you don't eat it fairly soon (which never seems to happen in our house!)  So it's best to jazz it up by serving it in a nice dish or fancy glass and adding a topping like chopped roasted hazelnuts and sliced kiwi fruit.



PEAR AND GINGER YOGURT     Serves 2

1 small ball (or half a large one) stem ginger
2 ripe pears
3 tbsp plain yogurt

Some crushed ginger biscuits (e.g. Fox's Ginger Crinkles) go well with this yogurt and are a lovely surprise when you find them at the bottom of the dish!

Place four biscuits in a bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Melt about 15g dairyfree margarine in a bowl (takes seconds in a microwave) then add your biscuit crumbs. 

Place at the bottom of two glass dishes.



To make the yogurt, peel and chop the pears and place in a bowl.  

Cut a few thin slices of stem ginger to save as a garnish and finely chop the rest.  Add to the pears with the natural yogurt and mix.



Spoon the yogurt mixture on top of the crushed biscuits.  Place your reserved slices of ginger on top.  Eat immediately or chill until required.



MAKE YOUR OWN PLAIN YOGURT


I use a Salton Yogurt Maker (circa 1980!)  but a yogurt maker isn't essential.  A thermos flask or any container that you can keep in a warm place will do just as well. I don't use a thermometer either or do any other technical things many books tell you to do.  Simply use a bought plain soya yogurt as your starter.  After that, keep back some of your own home-made yogurt to start the next batch.


Ingredients

If you want to make a smaller quantity, just halve the ingredients.

1 litre unsweetened soya milk
3 tbsp Alpro plain yogurt at room temperature
(or use some of your previous batch as starter)

First, plug in your yogurt maker to heat up or pour some warm water into your thermos flask/yogurt container.

Pour the milk into a pan and heat gently.  It's best not to do this in a hurry. You don't want the milk to boil or heat too quickly as the bottom of the pan can easily burn and ruin the taste.  When the milk is getting hot and steamy, but not boiling, remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes. 





Then, once you can dip your finger in and it's still hot but not uncomfortable, add your plain yogurt starter and whisk in well to distribute.









Pour into a yogurt maker/thermos flask and leave for about 10 to 12 hours.

If using an ordinary container, leave in a warm place.
Transfer to the fridge and leave for at least 12 hours before using. 

It will keep for well over a week and don't forget to save a few tablespoons to make your next batch!

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