Perhaps you’ve thought of making your own coconut yogurt, but are a little intimidated. I promise there’s no need to be! If you’ve ever been in the market for buying coconut-based yogurt, I’m sure you’re aware of how pricey it can be, especially for such a small serving. Plus, most of them have so many added stabilizers and sugars, it almost makes me wonder if they’re even worth the money to begin with. The answer to this dilemma is simple with these easy steps to making your own coconut yogurt that will have you wondering why you haven’t tried it before. When I tasted this coconut yogurt, I couldn’t believe the difference between homemade and the store bought versions. There’s just no comparison! All you need is a few simple supplies to get started. Check out my simple steps below to make an amazing batch of coconut yogurt, and please give them a try!
1. Choose a Variety
To start, the first choice in making your own coconut yogurt begins with what variety you’ll use. Do you prefer canned, fresh coconut meat blended with fresh coconut water, homemade coconut milk, or the shelf stable kind? Pick whichever one works for you. I prefer the canned or the shelf stable kind, but if I can get my hands on a fresh coconut, I like making it that way.
2. Thicken It up
Next, you’ll need to decide how you want to thicken up the yogurt. You’ll need some type of thickening agent that is tasteless, yet still gives the yogurt that thick texture. This is why commercial brands use cheap gums that can often cause digestive upset, like xanthan and guar gum. I suggest choosing one of the following: glucomannan, agar-agar, tapioca starch, or gelatin. All of those are fairly safe and except for gelatin, they’re all made from plants. Gelatin is animal based, so if you’re vegan, opt for another. You can buy these online, or in health food stores. If you really want to keep things natural, just leave out the thickeners and once you make the yogurt, give it an extra strain with a cheesecloth at the end to remove any excess liquid.
3. Choose Your Culture
Next, you’ll need to choose what you’re going to culture the coconut milk with. I suggest using coconut water kefir, or even store bought coconut kefir. You can also just open up several probiotic capsules to use, but be sure you have a reliable brand. If you're using probiotic capsules, I recommend using about 4 capsules of at least 3 billion colonized units per capsule. If you're using a coconut based kefir, use about 1 tbsp. of kefir. If you need more help choosing a starter, check out this website to learn more: culturesforhealth.com.
4. Sterilize Your Jars
Sterilize one large sized Mason jar, or several small ones, which you’ll use to put your yogurt in. Sterilizing prevents bacteria build up. You can run this through a dishwasher on the rinse cycle so it gets heated at high temperatures, and dry the jar(s) well, or use this method: countryliving.com.
5. Blend Your Ingredients
Now, all you need to do is blend your coconut milk of choice, any thickeners if using, and your culture of choice in a blender. The blending will heat things up just enough to get the culture activated. I also recommend flavoring this mixture with stevia and either raw vanilla bean seeds, or pure organic vanilla extract. You can leave that out, but it gives it a great flavor. Just blend until incorporated and proceed to the next step.
6. Pour It up
Now, just pour your mixture into the dried, sterilized jars, seal them well and put them in your oven. DO NOT turn the oven on though! All you’ll need to do now is cover them up with a large towel and turn your oven light on. This will incubate them and warm them up just enough for the cultures to start their magical work. Leaving them in an oven prevents any air drafts that might affect the culturing process. A dark cupboard is another option if you don't want to use this method, but I prefer using the oven method myself.
Lastly, you just need to wait 24 hours until the mixture is set, and develops that cultured, yogurt smell. This usually takes at least 24 hours so if you don’t want to leave your oven on, you can use a yogurt maker instead, which will do the job the same.
After your milk is done, you can either strain it with a cheesecloth overnight in a bowl in the fridge to help release any excess liquid, or you can use it as it is like I do and use it as more of an easy-to-pour yogurt over anything you like. You can also just drink it as it is. Refrigerate it long term to store it. Your yogurt will keep for about a week in the fridge, but I’m willing to bet you’ll have eaten it way before it even starts to think about going bad! Feel free to visit the website below to learn where you can find great supplies, or even culture starters if you don’t have your own probiotics you want to use. Have you ever made yogurt at home?