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DSC_0006Thick and creamy cashew yogurt with probiotics!

Join me, won’t you? Give me a high five!

Come celebrate with me.

(And, don’t laugh when you find out I’m talking about yogurt!)

I’ve been experimenting with making non-dairy yogurt for years since our family went dairy free.  I’ve had little luck.  The best results were with soy milk and a dairy free yogurt starter, but my coconut yogurt separated (even though it cultured and could be used like kefir), and my almond yogurt (using the belle + bella starter) didn’t culture at all (this could have been my mistake, but I followed the directions and haven’t heard back from the company yet…).

I’ve hit the jackpot now, though.  And, it’s thanks to a recipe I found on the beautiful blog Green Kitchen Stories.  The recipe is for a cashew-based “yogurt” named Cashewgurt…creamy and delicious on its own, but not cultured.

For the past three years, I’ve been buying – with hesitation as I stand in the market with my three children scratching my head – coconut and almond milk yogurt.  I never really liked the taste (especially after eating my homemade cow’s milk yogurt).  The texture was a little too gelatinous and they were all way too sweet.

But, I wanted the probiotics in our diet.

And, we all really enjoy yogurt, granola and berries – for breakfast and snacks.

After experimenting and reading stories online and offline about what works and what doesn’t when making non-dairy yogurt, I found that there needed to be a sugar source (to feed the bacteria) and something to hold the mixture together (cornstarch, agar agar, tapioca, psyllium, etc).  Once I made the Cashewgurt, I realized that this recipe had those two things (dates and psyllium husk powder).  And, when using soaked cashews with a pretty minimal amount of water, the texture was thicker than a non-dairy milk.

So, voila!, there you have it.  The bonus is that there is no need to heat and cool the mixture, as in traditional yogurt recipes.

DSC_0002See how thick? It’s really creamy and so close to Greek yogurt!

Cultured Cashew Yogurt – Directions:

Since I didn’t create the recipe upon which this yogurt is based, I will link to it here.

1.  Follow the Cashewgurt recipe directions (adding a few extra tablespoons of water to the mix) up to refrigerating.

2.  Instead of refrigerating, at this point I added 1 tsp of a high quality probiotic (I used dairy-free Klaire Labs infant probiotic powder) and mixed it in thoroughly.

3.  Pour the mixture into yogurt glasses for a yogurt maker (you could also use a larger glass container if you prefer to use a dehydrator).  [I am not familiar with any other method, such as the slow cooker or thermal blanket, so I don’t know if they will work.  The mixture needs to stay around 110-120 degrees to culture.  I mixed mine up after dinner around 7pm, added to my yogurt maker and left it there overnight.]

4.  Remove the yogurt from the maker in the morning and place in the refrigerator to cool down (it will also continue to set).

The result will be a thick and creamy cashew yogurt – very similar to Greek dairy yogurt.  If you don’t like your yogurt thick, then just add more liquid when mixing it initially, or add water and mix after taking it out of the refrigerator.

Notes:

  • You can use any probiotic powder that you trust to be potent.  I used the dairy-free infant version from Klaire Labs because that is what I had for my daughter, but yours doesn’t need to be for infants.
  • You’ll know right away after the culturing process if the yogurt has cultured.  It will smell like the yogurt you buy in the store.
  • I am going to play around with the tartness of the yogurt.  It’s nicely tart – perfect for me – with the lemon juice, but I may not add the lemon juice next time.
  • If you don’t like your yogurt as thick as Greek yogurt, add extra water (either when mixing or after it has cultured).
  • I used a Vitamix to get the initial Cashewgurt ingredients blended.  It made the mixture incredibly smooth.  I suggest you use a high-powered blender, if you have one, but if you don’t be sure to soak the cashews until they are soft.  (If you don’t use a high-powered blender, you may not get the same results that I got.)
  • Pureed berries or other fruit would be great mixed into the yogurt.

If you make the yogurt, please let me know how it turns out! I am here to troubleshoot, too.  🙂

A quick housekeeping note:  I’ve updated the Books page with tons of great new books I’ve read.  I haven’t added the links yet, but you can search by title and author.  Enjoy!

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