Useful background knowledge
There is more than one kind of fermentation but a condition that holds for all is that they occur underwater. In the case of yogurt culture, the term used is ‘lacto- fermentation’ (despite its title the process has nothing to do with milk).
Dynamic Fermentation is a specific .application for yogurt-making with non-dairy milk with the advantage that a number of problems are ‘designed out’.
Heat milk to 80 degrees C for several minutes.
Allow to cool to 35-40 degrees
Add starter culture of live bacteria
Stir thoroughly to ensure dispersal of starter
Cover with a clean cloth
Leave several hours in a warm, draught-free place.
At the end of this time the milk will be replaced by curds and whey (raw yogurt); the curd is extracted by straining through a double layer of cheesecloth or similar.
Finally all equipment involved in transfer of milk is sterilised by washing in hot soapy water.
How is Dynamic Fermentation different?
Dynamic Fermentation is a safe method of making yogurt with non-dairy milk ONLY. Once the gallery has been primed (see separate section) and the amount of milk the tube will hold has been found, there are only four stages:
Dilute the soya milk
Fix a kitchen funnel in the top of the tube and add the milk
Place a tub to catch the yogurt harvest when the spigot is opened.
Leave the new batch of milk in the tube long enough for it to be turned into yogurt.
The scheme is much simpler, more easily managed and free of complicated temperature controls than the traditional method and is suitable for families and small groups. It is however only suitable for use with non-dairy milk.
Dairy and Non-dairy milk
By tradition, yogurt making was a way of preserving the food value of milk at times of plenty. Gengis Khan was an early enthusiast who recommended yogurt for the health of his troops.
The big change over the past decade has been the arrival of non-dairy milk made from plants. Dynamic Fermentation was developed using soya milk as the most widely available non-dairy milk, though it seems highly probable that the same process could be applied to other non-dairy milk sources.
Non-dairy milk is made directly from plants and has the advantage that – unlike dairy milk – it has a fixed, simple composition. Dairy milk is a blood product which therefore includes many biologically active natural ingredients such as hormones that must be destroyed by heating in order to render it safe for consumption. Organic non-dairy milk has the additional advantage that it is free from residual pesticides, antibiotics and other undeclared ingredients regularly administered by vets, which as well as being harmful to health could interfere with yogurt-forming bacterial activity.
Fermentation and lacto-fermentation
The word ‘fermentation’ can mean either:
- the process used in brewing for the production of alcohol using yeast (a fungus) in the presence of air
- the process by which certain bacteria turn milk into yogurt in the absence of air
The pathways for each are quite different and in order to help distinguish between the two the process involving bacteria is technically called ‘lacto-fermentation’, where ‘lacto’ refers to lactic acid, an important product of the process (and has nothing to do with dairy milk). Lacto-fermentation is a natural process that preserves food value when oxygen has been used up; if air is present this delays the start of fermentation while the oxygen is used up.
To summarise, this website describes a new and simpler way of producing non-dairy yogurt that is more appropriate for vegan/ non-dairy varieties of milk. In the text that follows, where the word ‘fermentation’ arises, the word is used as short-hand for lacto-fermentation. Where ‘milk’ is mentioned, this refers to non-dairy milk.
Fermented vegetable cuisine: Kimchi from Korea and yogurt from your kitchen
Dynamic Fermentation has much in common with the fermentation of vegetables, as practised for generations in many countries including Germany (home of ‘Sauerkraut’) and Korea (where ‘Kimchi’ originates). Like Dynamic Fermentation, all are based on lacto-fermentation; other examples are given here.