Homemade coconut milk yogurt is a finicky beast. It doesn’t thicken like dairy yogurts, the texture can be less than appealing, and it often lacks the distinctive yogurt tang. Store bought options are more pleasant and consistent, but even the “good” organic brands like this one are still full of added sugars and gums that I try to avoid.
Almond milk yogurt is said to be easier to create at home, but I am currently avoiding nuts as well as dairy as part of a paleo autoimmune protocol. For quite a while I just went without yogurt. But I have a cupboard full of fruit preserves that I put up this summer and know would be delicious mixed into some creamy yogurt and was determined to crack this (coco)nut!
So it has taken some trial and error, but I think I have finally created a recipe and procedure that creates a consistently delicious coconut milk yogurt with the texture of the real thing.
Do I need any special equipment?
I use a yogurt maker (this is the brand I have – I like it because I can make it either in a large mason jar or in small individual jars) but you can make yogurt by placing your jar of yogurt in an oven with the pilot light on, in an insulated cooler filled with hot water (that’s what I did for a long time), in a slow cooker, or even placing the jar on a heating pad and wrapping the whole thing up with a towel. The key is to be able to keep the yogurt during the fermentation period somewhere between 108 and 112 degrees. Obviously, the yogurt maker automates this and takes the guesswork out of the whole process, but other methods will produce results that are just as good.
How long does it take?
I won’t lie. Coconut yogurt takes a long time to make. To get a true tangy taste I have found that I need to ferment it for about 24 hours and then you need another 6-8 hours for it to chill and set up in the refrigerator. What I do is start two days before when I expect to eat it. I put the yogurt in the yogurt maker in the evening on day 1 and let it ferment for the next 24 hours. In the evening on day 2, I transfer the yogurt to the refrigerator and let it chill overnight so it is ready to eat for breakfast on the morning on day 3.
What kind of starter should I use?
If you are very sensitive to dairy protein, you’ll want to get a vegan starter. I recently discovered this brand at my local health food store.
If you can tolerate small amounts of dairy protein then any thermophilic starter will work just fine. Remember that if you are following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet you want to choose one that does NOT include bifidus strains. This brand (which I can also find at my local health food store) is one of the few that I know of that is SCD legal.
What kind of coconut milk should I use?
Use a full fat milk and look for a brand that does not include additives and is in a BPA-free can. I use this brand .
Why does your recipe include gelatin?
Coconut yogurt simply will not thicken up like dairy yogurt, so you need to add a thickener. Some recipes call for tapioca starch or even pectin – especially if they are developed by vegans who eat no animal products, but I like using gelatin for the additional health benefits. You can use regular unflavored gelatin from the supermarket, but I prefer this brand because it comes from grassfed cows.
How do I make it?
I thought you’d never ask! Here is the recipe:
- 2 13.5 ounce cans of full fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon gelatin
- one packet of yogurt starter
- Heat the coconut milk in a small saucepan to 115 degrees farenheit.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle the gelatin into the milk and mix well.
- Allow the milk to cool to 110 degress, then add the yogurt starter and mix well.
- Transfer milk to a jar or to the yogurt maker, depending on the technique you are using.
- Incubate the milk for 24 hours, keeping the temperature between 108 and 112 degrees. During this time, the milk will separate and if you are fermenting in a clear container you will see clear liquid on the bottom. This is normal, do not be concerned.
- After 24 hours the milk will have a yogurt taste and will have thickened somewhat but will still be fairly thin. Use a spoon to mix the yogurt up and then place it in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. This halts the fermentation process and allows it to thicken.
For more great yogurt recipes and tips
- How to Make Your Own Yogurt (The Nourishing Cook)
- How to Make Yogurt in a Mason Jar (The Prairie Homestead)
- Paleo Yogurt Pots (Meatified)
- How To Make Your Own Greek Yogurt (Oh Lardy!)
Looking for even more recipes? Check out this Fermentation Recipe Collection from Cheerfully Imperfect.
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