Ingredients for CASHEW YOGURT:
- 4 cups plain or vanilla soy or almond milk (use plain if the yogurt will serve as the base for cheese)
- 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 3 hours and drained
- 3 tablespoons plain, unsweetened nondairy yogurt
- Process the ingredients
- Put 1 cup of the soy or almond milk and the cashews in a blender and process until smooth and creamy.
- Heat the soy milk
- Transfer to a heavy medium saucepan and stir in the remaining 3 cups of soy milk with a whisk.
- Warm over low heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture reaches 110 degrees F or until a few drops placed on your wrist feel slightly warm.
- Remove from the heat.
- Culture the yogurt
- Add the nondairy yogurt and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Pour into a clean 1-quart glass jar and cover.
- Let rest in a warm place for 4 to 8 hours, until set and the desired degree of tartness has been achieved.
- Refrigerate the yogurt; it will thicken even more as it cools.
STORAGE NOTES: Stored in a covered container in the refrigerator, Cashew Yogurt will keep for 1 to 2 weeks.
The idea of making homemade yogurt without using a yogurt maker may seem daunting, but keep in mind that humans have been making yogurt for thousands of years without any special equipment. Once you understand a few simple principles and rules, you’ll find it’s easy to do. The only “special” equipment you might want to invest in is an inexpensive kitchen thermometer.
The milk must be warm to promote the growth of the bacterial culture, but if it is too hot, it can kill the culture. The temperature should be about 110 degrees F. You can test the temperature by placing a few drops of the milk on your wrist – if it feels warm but not hot, it’s ready. Alternatively, you can use a kitchen thermometer.
Use only clean glass jars for culturing yogurt.
Culture the yogurt in a warm place. If you can set the oven as low as 110 degrees F, use that. On a warm, sunny day, it is often enough to wrap the jar in a couple of layers of towels and set it outside in the sun. Other options are a warm corner of the kitchen or in front of a sunny window.
The yogurt should set up in 4 to 6 hours, although it could take as long as 8 hours, depending on the ambient temperature. The longer it is allowed to set, the more tangy and tart it will become. For a sweeter, more delicate flavor, culture just until thickened and set; for a tangier flavor, culture for a full 6 to 8 hours.
Yogurt will separate if cultured at too high a temperature or for too long, so don’t exceed 110 degrees F, and refrigerate it once it has set.
Always reserve 2 to 3 tablespoons of each batch of yogurt for culturing the next batch.