Soygurt, pocket fermentation and body incubation

Miso, tamari, tempeh, idli/dosa, natto, and more!

Moderator: Christopher Weeks

Soygurt, pocket fermentation and body incubation

Postby vegmeg on Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:09 am

Hey fermenters,

For a few months now I've been making soygurt on a weekly basis, inoculating each batch with the previous batch.

My main interest has been finding varied ways to incubate the soygurt, so that other people will easily be able to make it at home or even while camping or on the road.

The basic premise of incubating soygurt is to keep it warm, somewhere around body temperature, for several hours. My favourite new method is called "pocket fermentation". This actually works! It's totally possible to make a wonderful probiotic soy drink, while going about your daily activities, by fermenting the soy in your pocket.

Here is my basic recipe, followed by several incubation techniques:

First of all, I starting by making a big batch of soymilk (I think you can use commercial soymilk, though I try to avoid Tetrapaks)

-soak soybeans overnight (10-12 hours) and then rinse them well
-add 1 part soybeans with about 3 parts water in a blender. Blend well.
-strain out the solid part (okara) through some type of cloth. I use a cotton cloth bag, though cheesecloth works.
-heat the liquid for about 25 minutes. Stir regularily and watch it closely, because it can burn or boil over very easily. The heating makes it easier to digest after.
-let the soymilk cool to around body temperature

(The solid part, okara, can be eaten, too. It's very high in protein. It should also be cooked before being eaten. It can be heated with the soymilk and then strained out, instead of being strained out beforehand. Or you can try to make tempeh with it).

You can get more detailed instructions about making soymilk on the internet... every recipe is a bit different.

Then... to make soygurt... the first time you make it you need to buy commercial soygurt that has an *active* culture, or grab some culture from a friend. You only need about two spoonfuls to make a new batch of soygurt. Subsequent batches of soygurt can be made with a couple of spoonfuls of your previous batch.

Start with the soymilk around body temperature, add a couple of spoonfuls of active soygurt culture, mix it gently and briefly, and then keep the soymilk&culture around body temperature for about 8-10 hours.

Here are a few of my incubation techniques:

Bedtime body incubation: take the soygurt to bed with you. What better way to keep it at body temperature for 8 hours? It uses free energy and makes a decent conversation topic. Put the soymilk&culture culture in a mason jar, and bring it to bed. The less you disturb it, the more solid it will be in the morning.

Comfy bedtime incubation: Same as above, but fill a hot-water-bottle with warm (not hot!) water, put it next to your mason jar, wrap the two together in a towel, and then leave it in your bed. You can bring it to bed with you at night to let your body heat help with the incubation (I actually find it helps me sleep better), or you can simply cover the whole thing with a pile of blankets and leave it in your bed during the day.

Pocket Fermentation!: Take a small jar that seals well and that can fit in your pocket (hard to find, but they do exist). Add warm soymilk&culture, and put it in your pocket for the day. The curds and the whey separate significantly from all the movement, but just shake it intensely at the end of the day, call it a "soygurt drink" and enjoy. This method does have its drawbacks... having a glass jar in your pocket could turn a regular bike accident into a particularly bad bike accident (maybe a very high quality double-layer of ziplock bags would work instead of glass? hmm... yet to be seen), plus this method only makes small quantities. But it's a great method when on the go or just for kicks.

The grizzly bear sleeping bag method: We have very successfully incubated foods in our sleeping bags... this involves putting the soymilk&culture in a mason jar next to a (gently warm!) hot-water-bottle (or next to other jars that have warm water in them), and leaving it wrapped up in a sleeping bag for the day. Someone later pointed out that having a sleeping bag that smells slightly of food may be problematic when camping in bear country... so be warned :)

The warm cooler method: Coolers are great insulators for anything warm or cold...put warm soymilk&culture in a jar or bowl, place in a cooler, add other jars/water bottles full of warm water, fill any blank spaces with blankets, and shut the cooler. This is a very practical energy-efficient method, good for large or small quantities, for people who want a relatively normal method of incubation.

The stove-lightbulb technique: some people turn on their stove for a few minutes, then turn it off but leave the lightbulb on in the stove. Between the retained heat and the heat of the lightbulb, this is supposed to incubate soygurt (I haven't tried this method but my friends do it this way).

The dehydrator technique: for months I used my excalibur dehydrator, set at 110 degrees, as an incubator... works very well, though you need a specialized piece of equipment, it makes lots of noise, and it wastes a bunch of energy for no good reason. I moved from my dehydrator to human incubation techniques to help make it more accessible when I shared the idea with other people, plus to minimize the energy consumption.

The waste your money technique: you can buy a yoghurt incubator for $30-$60. This really isn't necessary in any way whatsoever. Mason jars and creative heat sources work fine and allow you the freedom to make any quantity you'd like.

This is totally basic soyghurt... soybeans + water + culture... nothing else. It separates easily into curds and whey, so don't be surprised if it breaks apart a little and the soygurt seems to be floating in liquid (yummy liquid), especially if the jar is moved around. You can drain out the whey through a cheese cloth if you ever feel like making a thicker labneh-style vegancheeze.

These techniques could potentially be used for fermenting other plantmilks--although they won't necessarily thicken up, they will taste sour. I've made sour hempmilk this way and started to develop a liking for it.

I usually make about a gallon of soymilk a week, to share with my roommate... about 2 litres to drink, 2 litres for soygurt. The okara often ends up in the compost but we've made some pretty awesome vegan crabcakes ( ... cakes.html) and attempts at okara tempeh.

Hope this inspires some soygurt experimentation. If anyone finds a new incubation technique, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Enjoy fermenting with the power of your inner energies,

Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 9:54 am

Re: Soygurt, pocket fermentation and body incubation

Postby fermented-vegan on Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:33 pm

Hello vegmeg, :)

Thank you so much for posting this! I had no idea it was so simple to make soymilk, let alone soygurt. This will be a neat ferment for me to try in the near future.

A question...
Is both the soymilk, and the soygurt palatable with no added flavors or sweeteners?

To think that I could finally have a vegan yogurt replacement that does not have pure refined sugars in it! Yeah! :D

I like your emphasis on finding ways to keep it warm without wasting electricity and buying fancy gadgets. The only problem I see with the "Bedtime body incubation" method... Is you could potentially have relational problems with your partner being jealous of you cuddling a bottle of soymilk! LOL

Peace & Love from a vegan :)
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:57 am

Re: Soygurt, pocket fermentation and body incubation

Postby vegmeg on Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:52 pm

Hey fermented vegan,

Yeah, it is quite easy! It does take some time... perhaps about 30 minutes active preparation, 30 minutes of occasional involvement during the heating and stirring period, and then perhaps an hour or more of waiting for it to cool to body temperature (though of course you can just walk away from it during this time). But it's definitely worth it for big batches, especially for the soygurt :)

If you were just interested in having a non-dairy milk that's quick and easy to make (non-fermented), you can put hulled hemp seeds in a blender with water and strain out the solids... it takes 5 minutes to make, and the solids can easily be incorporated in meals or turned into uncheezes. Or soak almonds for a few hours, take off the skins, put in blender, strain out solids... easier than soymilk if you're just looking for an easy drink, though soymilk is definitely the best thing I've found for fermenting.

fermented-vegan wrote:Is both the soymilk, and the soygurt palatable with no added flavors or sweeteners?

The soygurt on it's own is great... the fermentation makes it sour, so the taste can carry itself (it's more the texture that may seem different from commercial brands, as there is no guar gum, etc, to homogenize it). All the same, I usually add some jam or frozen fruit, or add it to a smoothie... I preserved a lot of local organic fruits last summer, and enjoy them daily with the soygurt... black currants are awesome with soygurt because they're also sour, though if I'm sharing it with other people I'd usually add something sweet like apples or strawberries. If you look up "lassi" recipes online, these are drinks from India traditionally made with yogourt that can easily be made with soygurt. Or you can strain the yogurt through a cheesecloth, pressing out the liquid, and the left over solid can be used to make tzatziki or vegan fauxmage.

For the flavour of the soymilk, this is more of a traditional style soymilk, and it doesn't really resemble the choco-vanilla-milkshake-style soymilks that we find in North American supermarkets. It's great on cereal, in smoothies, mixed with tea, though on it's own may seem "beany" to people who are accustomed to something with lots of additives.

fermented-vegan wrote:The only problem I see with the "Bedtime body incubation" method... Is you could potentially have relational problems with your partner being jealous of you cuddling a bottle of soymilk! LOL

Yeah, lots of people find the body incubation method humorous, though I don't think I've actually convinced anyone else to try it yet, probably for that reason :) My soygurt culture is jokingly referred to as "Gurt". I recently showed a family how to make soygurt, and they incubate it like a baby in a bunch of blankets, and they've affectionately named it "Yogi".

Anyway, I hope you give it a try, and happy fermenting! Just make sure you remember, after each batch of soygurt, to put a few spoonfuls aside to make your next batch! (just to make sure you don't expose your starter culture to unsanitary conditions by accident, and to make sure that you don't accidentally eat all of your soygurt before making the next batch :)

Take care,

Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 25, 2009 9:54 am

Re: Soygurt, pocket fermentation and body incubation

Postby fermented-vegan on Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:47 am

Hello vegmeg, :)

Thank you for the nice and detailed reply. I appreciate that you have taken the time to document all this.

Say... How's Gurt doing? LOL

Peace & Love from a vegan :)
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:57 am

Return to Legume Ferments

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest