NOW: Soy Yogurt! Organic! Made from Scratch… More or Less!

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NOW: Soy Yogurt! Organic! Made from Scratch… More or Less!

Homemade Greek Soy Yogurt from scratch!  The holy grail of yogurt making… for me, anyway.  It took a lot of pictures to try to document the process!  Just organizing the pictures required a couple of hours to pare down the quantity and get them in a correct order of the process.  Here’s the sequence of the process I followed, this time, to make a batch of Greek Soy Yogurt.  Feel free to stop at the yogurt stage, prior to filtering out the whey, if you want the liquid yogurt.

My process is somewhat technology dependent, but it’s fairly strong technology, stable and affordable.  Total cost of the batch was under $1.00 in ingredients. My time investment?  A bit over half an hour… maybe more.  I wasn’t timing the parts.  I hope to add the approximate time involved in each step of the way.  Note: The time lapsed was about a day, from start to finish. I was not slaving away all that time, though. Also, figure some clean-up time, too.

This is a 2-step process

Step 1: Make the Soy Milk

Step 2: Make the Soy Yogurt

Simple, right? It is actually.  There’s a lot of wait-time in the process.  The soybeans have to soak six hours. The soy milk maker works automatically for about 20 minutes. And the Instant Pot maintains the culture for 12 hours on its own.  If you make soy milk on the stove with the pot and pan method, you’ll have to figure more time, attention, and work.

Appliance 1: Soya Joya automatic soy milk maker.  I bought this used almost 5 years ago and it’s worked like a champ since.  New, I think they’re about a hundred bucks.  I got 2 units and about 20 pounds of organic non-GMO soybeans for $75 via Craigslist.  I don’t recommend buying huge quantities of soybeans for making soy milk because they do get stale and the resultant milk isn’t nearly as good.  Just like with sprouting, fresh soybeans give the best yield.

Appliance 2: Instant Pot. OK, it’s a bit of an addiction, but it’s a healthy addiction, too.  For about a hundred bucks, new, I’ve been able to prepare amazing meals, dishes, and yogurts with just about the push of a button or two.  There are jillions of recipes online for the Instant Pot.  Once I push the button, it’s time to wait for the results.  I can cook complex meals simply and quickly.  The yogurt, however can’t be hurried.  Also I’ve noticed that opinions online vary on the time to have the yogurt culturing.  Many say 8 hours and many say 12 hours.  I went with 9 hours this time and it came out just wonderful.!

HERE WE GO:  The process of making Greek Soy Yogurt

1. Measure out a half cup of organic non-GMO soybeans.


2. I use Berkey water systems in my home and traveling.  That’s the water I used in this process. I don’t know if you can find better, safer, cleaner water anywhere.  Oh, I got this Giant Berkey system with 2 sets of black filters and the Fluoride filters, too, hardly used, for $30 on “Offer Up.”  Surprisingly it had been listed for 3 months and no one had seen the ad.  It’s a good place to look for pricey things like Berkey systems, juicers, and, yes, Instant Pots.  You can use tap water or any water you feel good about, of course.  My Berkey is an incidental to the process.


3. I covered the soybeans with water and set them aside for 6 hours. After all that work, you are now rewarded with a six-hour break!  Note: Just like with sprouting, I left the soaking soybeans in plain sight, on the kitchen counter, lest I forget them and find them days later, smelling horrific.


4. Here’s how the soybeans look after 6 hours of soaking.  I tossed the soaking water into a pot of lentils I was cooking.


5. Here’s a close-up of the soaked soybeans. Don’t they just look yummy?


6. Time to pull out the soy milk maker!


7. With the soy milk maker pulled out of the stainless pitcher, you can see the heating element going around the whole system and the bean strainer.  It’s a stainless cup with fine mesh holes in it. That allows the soy milk to pass through but keeps the okara inside.


8. Inside the pitcher there are high and low water level markers.  That’s what my thumb is pointing to.


9. I have now filled the pitcher to the high water level mark.


10.  Time to twist and pull the bean strainer off.


11. Here’s what the clean / empty bean strainer looks like. I like that it has a handle that also lets you set it on the counter without picking up debris.


12.  The central steel pin sticking down about 3″ is the blender part of this device.  It has a small wicked serrated blade that spins at high-speed when it’s grinding up the soybeans, once the water is heated up.


13, Pour the soaked soybeans into the strainer cup.


14. Don’t they look lovely and golden sitting in there?  It’s amazing how much great food they are about to give me.


15. This is the trickiest part of the whole process.  Ya have to take the strainer in one hand and the soy milk maker in the other and wiggle the strainer up into the unit and give it a twist to lock it on.  The tricky part is that you have to hold your tongue just right and wiggle the cup up into the blender blade. The blade doesn’t want to push past the soybeans, so a bit of wiggle is called for. It’s not really difficult, though. Sorry the picture is blurry, it was the only shot I had and, I was balancing the soy milk maker in one hand and my phone in the other and trying to push the “snap” button in the third.


16. There they are.  The beans in the soy milk maker ready for the great transition into fresh home-made soy milk!


17. Lower the soy milk maker into the pitcher of water.


18. Push the start button and take a 20 minute break while the soy milk maker does its job!


19. When the beeper goes off, unplug the soy milk maker and pull the top unit out of the freshly made AND BURNING HOT soy milk. Be sure to avoid any steam that can burn you.  After I pull the unit out of the milk, I tilt it to let any residual soy milk drain out of the strainer.


Fresh and creamy!


Freshly made for pennies.  that’s why I love this appliance.


20. Pull out your thermometer and see what the temp is.  I waited a few minutes before checking the temp. It comes out just about boiling.


I happen to use this thermometer that was made for meats… but works fine here. It’s easy to read and away from the steam and heat when I want to read it.


21. You’re supposed to wait until the soy milk is down to 110 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit before adding culture.  I don’t want to stand around waiting for that perfect temperature, so I make an ice water bath to speed the process up.  This takes maybe five to ten minutes.  Letting it cool down on your own is less labor intensive, but I’m likely to forget until its gotten too cool.  I suppose you can get thermometers now that have an alarm on them… but this is all I have. LOL.


The ice bath doing its job.  I stirred my soy milk slowly off and on to distribute / dissipate the heat better.


Here’s how it looks on my counter.


Will it EVER cool down…


It’s like watching paint dry… for me.


Slowly but surely.


… but more slowly than surely.  Not really.  I generally have some other kitchen chore I do while this is happening so I can fill the time with something useful while waiting. In this case, I was taking pictures… and so here they are!  LOL.




22. Time for the probiotics!  I have read a bunch of articles on this process and decided to use the probiotics I that I already use. I trust Now Foods products (This is a plug for Now Foods although I don’t get paid for it. They deserve it for the good that they do!)


23. How many do you use.  Most articles I have read said two or three probiotic pills. Many went into the quantity of bacteria in each pill and the total bacterial count.  How much is enough?  Can you have too much?  Time for a decision, so I went with three capsules hoping that was enough without being too much.


24. I opened the capsules and poured the powdered bacteria into a small bowl.


There it is in the bowl.  Exciting, eh?


Here’s the fact sheet on my particular bottle of probiotics.


25. Oops, tem a bit too low. I was too busy with the probiotics and missed the goal temp by .7 degrees. Oh well, I hope it works. Also, I figured that when I pulled the pitcher out of the ice bath, the temp would come up a bit from the heat content of the pitcher, itself.


26. I added the probiotic powder to the stainless steel Instant Pot pan.


26. I poured some soy milk through a strainer onto the powder and slowly and gently stirred it a bit.


27. Then I added the rest of the soy milk, poured through a strainer, and whisked it gently and thoroughly. Most articles I read were in agreement about “more is better” when mixing the probiotics into the liquid.


28. I put the lid on the Instant Pot and made sure I closed the Pressure Relief Valve.  The culture isn’t going to be under pressure, but you sure don’t want any additional bacteria landing in the mix and messing things up.


29. I set the Instant Pot to “Yogurt” setting.  The initial setting showed zero minutes and hours.


30. I set the time to 9 hours for my first batch.  Why 9 hours? I don’t know.  Most said 8 hours and many said 12. I figured if it was yogurty enough at 9 hours, I’d finish it up. If not, I could put it back in for a few more hours.  Rocket science? Nope, not on my part.  Now it’s time to take a 9-hour break!


This picture simply shows that the YOGURT button has been pressed and the Instant Pot is cooking in yogurt mode.  There are jillions of automatic yogurt makers out there. They work on the same basic principle.  Also, there’s the simple stove top or oven method that is just fine. It all depends on your preferences.  I’m lazy and have found value in the automated devices.  But we each have our perspectives.


32. With most things in an instant pot, it counts down to zero. With yogurt, it counts up. So, nine hours begins with 1 minute.


I put the yogurt “ON” at four minutes past midnight.  Late? Yes.  Planning in this process is important.  I got started on my soybean soaking later than I’d planned. But, to get this done at a reasonable hour, if culturing it for 9 hours, you can put it on from between 9:00 PM and Midnight depending on what time you wake up and are ready to face the results.


33. While the yogurt was beginning to yog, I was left to clean the soy milk maker. I removed the okara. that’s the cooked, mashed soybeans that is left over after making the soy milk.  I put it in a container and into the fridge.  I use it in a variety of cooking: can add it to soups, to scrambled eggs and omelets, into cookies, pancakes, and breads.  It’s loaded with protein and vitamins.  Not to be wasted.


Another look at the okara!


Okara in the fridge, waiting to give more nutrition!


34. The yogurt after 8 hours. I just woke up and wonder what I’ve got here.


35. I wanted to grab a shower, so added an hour to the culture time.  When I got out and was ready, I opened the Instant Pot.


36. Soy Yogurt!!!!  Smells great!!! Looks Great!!! Tastes Great!!!!!


I had to try it.  This could be used as a liquid yogurt at this point.  You can stop here if you prefer.  Today, I really wanted to just bottle it and get to eating it.


37. I poured it into a good jar. Yep, I’m just gonna use it this way.


38. But, NO. I really wanted to do the whole process to Greek yogurt. Just to see the entire process.   So, I dug out my nut milk bag and poured the yogurt into it and let it drain in the fridge.


I set the bag into my tofu press and that into a bowl in the fridge.


I forgot to check it through the day. You can see the whey in the bottom of the bowl.  The whey can be used in soups, stews, bread making and anywhere that nutrient-rich liquids are called for.  Use it instead of water for added taste and nutrition.


There’s the whey!


29. And There’s the Greek Soy Yogurt!  I ended up with about one-and-a-half cups of it.  It’s a superfood that I eat in small quantities.  I might top it with some berries or use it in cooking. I always add it to smoothies.


What a process.  Took a long time from start to finish. But it didn’t take much of my own time. Didn’t cost much money, either.  Here’s what that 1/2 cup of soybeans and 3 probiotic capsules got me:

  1. One-and-a-half cups of organic, non-GMO Greek soy yogurt
  2. About 3/4 cup of okara for added nutrition in my daily cooking and baking.
  3. About a quart of whey for added nutrition in my daily cooking and baking.

The liquid yogurt provides much greater quantity and gives you the use of the liquid form.  I’ll likely continue to use it that way, myself. It shortens the process and simplifies the options once it’s bottled up and put in the fridge.

Those are some of my basic food stocks. I prefer to take some time to make this up over buying processed versions in the store.  The health is there and the additives aren’t.  I get the best food on the planet for pennies.  Those of you who know my love of sprouts can probably understand why this process is right up there with sprouting in that it gives me the best possible food for pennies! Self-health for self-help people! –  Jim B 9-28-2017

A note about soy.  This process uses 1/2 cup of dried, organic, non-GMO soy beans.  Not sure of the weight, but it’s not much.  I’ve read lots of articles about the trouble of soy in our diet in the past year or so.  Most of them seem to stem from the processed soy in the mainstream diet.  I can’t disagree with that thinking.  As far as the unadulterated soy products that I’m making in this post, though, it would seem the quantity of soy products and the amounts used seem to register below the concerns I’ve been reading about.  If I’m wrong, I’d like to know.  Good soybeans are getting harder to find on the market as a result of the negative consequences being written about out there.  I’ve been using soy products, tofu, soy sauce, tamari, and soy milk most of my adult life (I’m 62 now) and in moderation. If you see problems with this sort of usage, please share your insights here to help me understand better and be sure I’m not spreading bad info.

I’d really appreciate your feedback and your process comments.  Tell us what’s working for you.  Ask questions. Get a dialogue going.



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