I’ve been working on a homemade yogurt recipe for weeks. Ever since Barbara requested I create a dairy-free, soy-free version. Rice milk yogurt and coconut milk yogurt are not readily available if you don’t live near a Whole Foods, and they can be expensive. Yet, yogurt is a key ingredient in low-fat baking. So I set out to make my own allergy-friendly yogurt. After all, I remember my father made homemade yogurt when I was growing up. How hard could it be?
Almost as hard as the Matzo Balls that are still eluding me. That’s how hard. But I’m getting there. There have been many challenges to this recipe. First, I’ve devised the recipe assuming that one doesn’t have access to rice milk yogurt (Ricera) or coconut milk yogurt (So Delicious) from the store (the original impetus for making it at home!), which means you can’t use that yogurt as a “starter.” In other words, you have to grow your own yogurt culture from scratch. But it needs to be allergy-friendly (i.e., dairy-free, soy-free). That eliminates using a “yogurt starter”, which all seem to include some form of dairy. This left me with only one option: refrigerated allergy-friendly probiotics. Thankfully, Jarrow makes an Allergen-Free Jarro-Dophilus!
Making Vegan Milk
The next challenge was the type of vegan milk used. I tried store-bought rice milk. No go. I tried store-bought rice milk with hemp seeds added (yogurt seems to need protein and carbohydrates to grow). That worked a tiny bit, but tasted gross. Then I tried rice milk with a little rice protein powder added. It tasted like, well… like protein powder, and it didn’t really thicken. I tried using coconut milk. Again it didn’t work. I tried using hemp milk. Nope. And then, I finally realized that most of the vegan yogurt recipes out there rely on homemade cashew milk. Great… except, I can’t use nuts. This is an allergy-friendly recipe.
So this left me back at the drawing board. Until I realized I could make my own seed milk. Sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are both mild, and protein rich. One of the two just might work. So, I set about making homemade seed milk. Read on below to learn how to make your own “Sunflower/Pumpkin Seed Milk” and come back next week to see if either of them worked to make yogurt!
Sunflower/Pumpkin Seed Milk
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
- Place seeds in a bowl. Cover with water to soak, being sure to completely submerge them, with at least an inch of water to cover. Soak at room temperature 8 hours.
- Drain seeds. Discard soaking water. Add seeds to blender.
- Fill with water to 4 cup mark. Blend to liquefy. It will take a few rounds.
- Place a strainer or sieve over a bowl and pour seed milk through gradually, using a wooden spoon or spatula to coax out all the liquid. Press down on the seed pulp, pressing every last drop of liquid through the strainer. Discard pulp.
- Keep seed milk tightly covered in the fridge until ready to use. Sweeten with a little sweetener of choice if you wish. Come back next week to see if it makes yogurt!
Sunflower/Pumpkin Seed Milk
© 2010 by Cybele Pascal
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns beforeconsumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.
Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook." She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). Please visit her website at CybelePascal.com.