Does It Matter Which Soy Milk You Use for Homemade Vegan Yogurt?

I have been making my own yogurt for about two years. I use Silk Unsweetened Plain Soymilk (the green carton). My results were stellar…once I got down how many hours to ferment a batch. Delicious, homemade vegan yogurt. And then, around November, everything changed. My yogurt would not thicken. What was going on?

Soy yogurt made with Westsoy soy milk comes out thick and easy to scoop.
Soy yogurt made with Westsoy soy milk comes out thick and easy to scoop.

Silk Changes Its Formula
Sometime last year, Silk changed the ingredients in its soy milk. They took out the carrageenan and added a new ingredient called gellan gum. This new ingredient for some reason interferes with the fermenting process. While the yogurt is fine to eat, it does not thicken. It tends to set on the outside but is swishy in the middle.

I contacted Cultures For Health where I purchase my yogurt cultures. What I am experiencing is a known issue. When soy milk with additives is used to make yogurt, it will not the thicken. The additives interfere with the process.

They seemed baffled that I had gotten good results with Silk. I shouldn’t have.

Three Solutions for Thicker Vegan Soy Yogurt
There are a couple of ways to get around this problem. As I said, the yogurt is edible. It just isn’t thick like you would expect. If you want thicker yogurt, you can try these things:

1. Use an agent such as pectin that will thicken the yogurt.
2. Buy only additive free soy milk for making soy yogurt.
3. Make your own soy milk with only water and soy powder that has nothing else added.

The Best Soy Milk for Yogurt
Using Silk has it’s advantages and disadvantages. While my yogurt is not thick, it is super creamy. Before my batches had a lot of curds (small lumps). Now they don’t.

I have tried other soy milk brands. I can attest to the fact that Westsoy Organic Unsweetened Soymilk original works.  It only has soy beans and water. It thickens. It has a nice flavor when finished. But, it cost more.  32 ounces of Westsoy in the shelf stable container cost just a little less than 64 ounces of Silk in the refrigerator container.

My Solution to This Problem

I’ve decided to buy Westsoy when it is on sale, but I’ll stick with Silk as my regular soy base. I can put up with the thinner yogurt for the money it saves me. The alternative is making my own soy milk and we know that is not going to happen. It is hard enough getting me to make my yogurt each week.

If you are having less than satisfactory results with your homemade vegan soy yogurt, check the label. Certain ingredients can prevent your batch for setting correctly. Switch brands, make your own, or buy pectin.

Don’t know how to make yogurt? Here is my handy guide on How to Make Unsweetened Dairy Free Yogurt.  It’s everything you need to know to make you own vegan yogurt.


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2 thoughts on “Does It Matter Which Soy Milk You Use for Homemade Vegan Yogurt?”

  1. Good to know, Melody. Thank you for sharing this. I haven’t tried soy milk yogurt yet, but I may one day. Now I know where to find help with it.

    1. Kathryn, It is another reason to either make your own or buy products with as few (or none) additives. While my yogurt is very creamy now, it could use a little more thickness.

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