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World's Easiest Yogurt (Recipe)

Delicious and Simple-to-Make Plant-Based YogurtDelicious and Simple-to-Make Plant-Based Yogurt. Photo copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook.

One day while I was busy straining whey from a batch of homemade dairy-free yogurt, and waiting for what seemed like way too much time, I said to myself “there must be a better way.” I knew that yogurt had been made this way for hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of years, but that was when yogurt was made from cow’s, goat’s, or camel’s milk.

With the substitution of cashews in place of milk, I set to work to find a better, no muss and no-fuss method for making dairy-free yogurt. Realizing that the culturing time can only be sped up so much (after all, the little beneficial bacteria need time to work their magic), I figured that the best way to improve yogurt-making was to remove the straining curds from whey process, which is not only time-consuming, and somewhat labor-intensive, it is also messy.

After a few tries, I discovered that it is possible to make delicious, cultured yogurt without all of the fuss, or mess, or time-consuming task of straining curds from whey. While it still takes several hours for the probiotics to proliferate, which gives yogurt its signature tangy taste, in a mere few minutes of actual prep time you can make your own yogurt. And, of course, you can set the probiotics to work while you sleep, thereby greatly reducing the seeming wait-time for your fresh-yogurt.

Not only is this yogurt delicious, it tends to have a larger diversity of probiotic strains than commercial yogurt. And, you know from the taste whether it actually contains live cultures, which is hard to know from commercial varieties.

Additionally, this recipe contains all of the fiber (most unflavored yogurt contains none) and is naturally thick like Greek yogurt. It even thickens up even more overnight, making it the perfect base for sauces, salad dressings, and marinades. While sorting out this recipe, which is an excerpt of my book, The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, & Extend Your Life, which I am thrilled to share with you here, I also discovered some ways to speed up the culturing process, which I describe in detail on page 41.

I also share some the serious health advantages of eating yogurt on a regular basis on pages 29 to 32. While this is a quick and easy recipe, if you’d prefer to buy your yogurt, you’ll want to read “8 Tips to Buying Better Yogurt” on pages 32 to 33 of The Cultured Cook.

Makes approximately 1 quart/Liter of yogurt

3 cups raw, unsalted cashews

2 cups filtered water

1 probiotic capsule or ½ teaspoon probiotic powder

In a medium-sized glass bowl with a lid, place the cashews, water, and empty the contents of the probiotic capsule.  Discard the empty capsule shell.  Stir ingredients together until combined.  Cover and let sit for 8 to 24 hours depending on how tangy you like your yogurt.  Puree the ingredients in a blender until smooth.  Return to the bowl.  Serve or refrigerated for up to four days. 

Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook. All rights reserved.

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