Home made Non-dairy Yogurt

non-dairy yogurt 0

Growing up in China I used to think all yogurt was liquid, a bit thicker than normal milk, the kind that is commonly seen in Chinese supermarkets. Later when I learnt that good yogurt is rich and thick and is supposed to be consumed with a spoon, I found the normal commercial yogurt no longer appealing to me. Not to mention, I don’t know what they put in the commercial products. @_@ So I decided to make my own yogurt.

Homemade yogurt is so good, as it’s fresh and clean and has absolutely no coloring or thickeners added. It’s also very easy, the best way to make it would be to plug the machine before you go to bed, then in the morning you will have fresh yogurt to start! Since I began making it, some of my friends also wanted to follow my example, so I have been busy buying yogurt machines for them from Taobao for a while, haha. Another friend has told me that a heater or thermos can also be utilized to make yogurt, but for hygienic reason, I don’t bother using those, as yogurt machine is not that expensive, I don’t want to spend more time troubleshooting when I have been successfully making yogurt with the machine. :P

non-dairy yogurt 1

Health Index: 5/5 (everyday food, highly recommended)
Kitchen Gadgets: Yogurt Machine
Serves: 1000ml

1000 ml fresh soymilk at room temperature, or lightly warmed, but never over 40C
1 bag of yogurt culture

1. Boil the yogurt container for 1 minute or wash it carefully with boiling water for 1 minute. It should be very clean, free of all germs, bacteria, and oil. You might as well boil the spoon you will use to mix the milk and culture as well.
2. Buy fresh milk that’s stored in the fridge, not the UHT ones from the shelf. The milk should not contain any additives, including sugar, preserves, or other ingredients.
3. Pour a little milk in the container, and add the cultures (1 small bag per liter of milk ), mix well, add the rest of the milk, put on the lid and put it carefully into the yogurt machine. Plug in for 8 to 10 hours, NEVER exceeding 14 hours. Go to sleep or work or whatever and then your yogurt is ready.
4. The yogurt can be eaten when it’s done, still lukewarm, but the best taste comes after you leave it in the fridge to set for another few hours or overnight. So be patient.

If you’re allergic to soy, you could try black bean milk, the yogurt would be gray, but texture is similar. I haven’t tried other milk yet, but have been successful with black bean milk.

If your yogurt doesn’t turn out right check the following:
1. Temperature, it should be 42 or 43 C, check if your machine is broken
2. Whether everything is thoroughly cleaned
3. Whether your milk is fresh and additive-free
4. Whether your cultures are stored properly so they are still active (they should be stored in the freezer)

  • hi, looks great, I will try myself, I have a soybeanmilkmaker, should work with this too, right?

  • Wow you’re quick! I am still testing the site haha…
    soybean maker works well to make soymilk, or other bean milk,but I am afraid it doesn’t work the same as yogurt machine. Yogurt machine is basically like a baby bottle warmer, where it keeps the content at 42C for hours.Soymilk machine(automatic) would boil the result as you don’t drink soymilk raw,so it would certainly kill the culture.:(

  • yes, I understand that… I meant if I can use the soymilk produced in my soymilkmaker to make yogurt out of it rather than the bought one. I guess yes?
    What kind of yogurt machine do you use? I guess one cand find it on Taobao?

  • Absolutely yes!Just keep the same consistency, don’t dilute it with water.
    I used a 1L yogurt machine, the brand name is Little Bear. You can easily find it on Taobao, I believe there are other modes or other brand as well. Mine is about 50kuai I think. Btw, yogurt culture can also be purchased on Taobao,I don’t even know where else it’s sold, haha.

  • Hmm, that’s very interesting. My friend was asking me the other day if it’s possible to make yogurt with soy or other bean milk in one of the yogurt makers, and I thought it wouldn’t be because of the bacteria that’s in milk. Good to know that it is possible! I will pass on the tip.

  • Cyn

    Thanks Annie, that’s a great piece of information! I will definitely try that. The pictures on your site are gorgeous! x

  • Hi,

    I want to make my own yoghurt like you. I live in Shanghai as well and I like your blog :)

    How can I find yoghurt culture on taobao? Do you know the chinese characters I should search with? Is it expensive to buy? Does the quality vary? Is it a powder and, if so, why should it be kept in the freezer?

    Also, I think the kind of milk is important and you said not to get UHT stuff – do you know what it should look like?

    Is the quantity of milk you put in the machine equal to the quantity of yoghurt that comes out?

    Can’t wait to try this!


  • Hey Alicia,
    thanks for stopping by!
    On TB search for 酸奶乳酸菌,you will find quite some brands. It’s not expensive, I think basically 2 kuai for one small bag for 1000ml. I think this is the smallest portion. It is a powder. Cultures die in extreme heat, so you should always keep them in the freezer.

    If you live in SH, go to Chinese wet market, you can always find those tofu stand selling soy-products, they have bags of fresh pure soy milk or black bean milk, you can use those to make the yogurt. Or you might try making your own using soymilk maker, but that takes some time.

    Basically 1000ml milk turns out to be 1000ml yogurt, just the consistency is thicker. ;-)

    Good luck with your yogurt making!


  • Leigh C.

    There are so many options for yogurt makers on taobao. Which one have you had the most success with? I have read that some require you to purchase only 1 kind of culture rather than being flexible. Your advice would be greatly appreciated! I want to try making some coconut milk yogurt!

  • Annie Taylor Chen

    Hi there, I tried the Little Bear brand. The first one I had has a slightly higher temperature somehow, I contacted the seller and he exchanged another one for me, still the same brand and it worked like wonder until now. I don’t think you should be restricted to only one type of cultures, I advise you to try several kinds to see what works with which kinda milk. So far I only experimented with soy and black bean milk, both were successful with the Chuanxiu Bifidobacterium cultures. Note if you buy commercial coconut milk that contains additives or sugar, it might not work. I suggest that you try first with soy milk to test your machine and culture, then venture to your new experiments with other varieties. Good luck :D

  • Leigh C.

    Thank you so much for your insight and guidance. I will get my machine and cultures and do as you suggest and try with soy milk first. I will make my own almond milk afterwards and try that too! It’s fun to experiment! Take care. I’m very happy to find your blog!

  • HJK

    hi, do i need to boid the milk?

  • Hey HJK, if you want to boil it make sure it’s cooled down to 40-42C before you throw in the culture. ;)

  • HJK


  • Mecheaf145

    Homemade yogurt is the best, it’s fresh, tastier and you
    know what’s in it. I regularly make yogurt in my MEC yogurt maker (pure clay
    pot) and I get creamy, thick delicious yogurt each time without having to add
    any thickeners or other additives. The micro pores in the pot let only the
    water to slowly evaporate and yields thick yogurt naturally.

  • Ah.. this sounds cool. On 2nd or 3rd usually my yogurt starts to leak water, so the “tofu” part and water part gets a bit separate, but since the container is plastic, the water is not evaporated. I usually mix them again, lol.

  • Ronson Dalby

    “NEVER exceeding 14 hours”

    Hi there, I’m just wondering why you make a point of the time. I use an electric yoghurt make that has 7 x 250ml jars and let mine culture for 18-24 hours which makes it not only thick and creamy but also nicely tart like a Greek yoghurt.

  • Hey Ronson,
    I was recommending according to the yogurt maker’s instruction. Whether you make successful yogurt depends on many factors, perhaps other readers might experiment with their milk and cultures and machine to see if they get different results.
    Normally if I want to have thicker yogurt, I scoop some of the finished yogurt out, then leave it in the fridge overnight, some water will leak out in the space of removed yogurt. Then I remove the water, the remaining part is definitely thicker. You can repeat that more times, if you want it to be even thicker. ;)

  • Ronson Dalby

    I’ve found that maker’s instructions tend to work well for dairy milk because of the protein in it. With soy milk, I think it needs extra culturing time or one need’s to add powdered soy protein (I prefer the extra time).

    Good blog. Thank you.

  • MOMOUR Monmodeurbaine

    Hi there, what type of soy milk you using? with sweeten or unsweetened soy milk? can i use plain store bought soy yogurt as starter? Thanks

  • Hey there,
    I use the plain original one bought from Chinese wet market. They are available in bags in the fridge at the tofu products stand. It’s definitely unsweetened, cos you can always add healthier sweeteners or fruits later. If your store bought soy milk is plain and original, you might give it a try. But if they contain a lot of additives, then the cultures might not act on it. Why not try it and see how it goes. ;) Good luck!

  • MOMOUR Monmodeurbaine

    Hi there, i use 1L homemade soy milk + 1 cup store bought plain greek yogurt as starter and culture for more than 10 hours. My yogurt most likely watery as not thick as yogurt, i pour off the whey and strain to make my yogurt thicker by reducing the whey, and i’m satisfied with the end result. Thanks for your recipe :)

  • Leigh

    I just wanted to let you know that I have used coconut milk now and it also works quite well. Depending on the type, a little agar agar can help thicken it at the end (after the yogurt maker process before chilling).

  • that sounds great, I shall try that later. ;)

  • AS

    Could you please link to this MEC yogurt maker please?

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