For the longest time I have been trying to figure out how to thicken up our homemade yogurt and I finally found the answer! The recipe calls for 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried milk powder. Obviously not vegan. I tried everything from agar to tapioca flour. All starch or gelatinous like substances would gel up in one big yogurt-y goo on the bottom of the container. The stars finally aligned when shortly after salivating over I Am Grateful's menu and seeing cultured coconut yogurt I took a trip to the Korean Grocery where I picked up Coconut Milk Powder! It makes the tastiest yogurt with the best consistency ever. The tartness that comes from the second and third generation starter still shines through but it is naturally sweeter and creamier. FINALLY.
Here is the recipe and how we do it at home. But before all that these are all the reasons why you should make your own yogurt. It is great for baking. It complements your homemade granola. It is awesome drizzled on curries you have prepared too spicy. You can get a yogurt cheese maker and have a fabulous cream cheese substitute. It's good for your tummy. Now on to the process.
First of all we have a Salton yogurt maker. The directions say to heat the milk to almost boiling, then wait to add the starter until the milk is in a very specific ten degree range. This takes forever. Screw that. Amos came up with an easier way. We plug in the Salton. We make sure everything is super clean then add 4 cups soy milk at fridge or room temperature to the container. Whisk in 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk powder. Gently stir in starter. Put container in Salton. Wait 8 - 10 hours. Done.
Read a good little article on the pleasures of yogurt making at 101 Cookbooks. And although the article is not specically about vegan yogurt I do agree vegan or not it is very well enjoyed with a "simple swirl of the best maple syrup I can find."
Note: Really you can do without the milk powder or other thickener as long as you don't mind a runnier yogurt. It still tastes amazing. We also use our homemade soy milk that doesn't have nearly as much sugar and or vanilla as the commercial soy milks... well depending on who makes it. : )