How to Make Coconut Milk Yogurt

Step 1: Choose the Coconut Milk

Coconut milk yogurt can be made with canned, boxed, or homemade coconut milk. We recommend choosing an unflavored variety with the least number of additives possible.

Step 2: Choose the Thickening Agent

Coconut milk is not particularly thick when made without a thickening agent such as tapioca starch or gelatin. Since it has a different chemical structure than dairy milk, it behaves differently when cultured. Without the added thickening agent, coconut milk yogurt will generally be rather runny and more similar to the consistency of kefir. If using a thickening agent isn't an option but you still prefer thick yogurt, it is also possible to strain some of the liquid from the coconut milk yogurt by placing the finished yogurt in a tea towel or similar tight-weave fabric and allowing the mixture to hang over a bowl to drain some of the liquid, resulting in thicker yogurt.

Step 3: Choose the Yogurt Starter

Some varieties of yogurt starter culture at 110°F using a yogurt maker or similar device. These are known as thermophilic yogurt cultures. Examples of thermophilic cultures include direct-set (one-time use) variety yogurt starters, some heirloom-variety cultures such as Greek and Bulgarian, and commercial yogurt with live active cultures from the grocery store used as a starter culture.

Other varieties culture at room temperature on the counter without a yogurt maker. These are known as mesophilic yogurt cultures. Viili, filmjölk, matsoni, and piimä are all examples of mesophilic yogurt cultures.

Please note: if using an heirloom-variety (perpetuating) yogurt as the starter culture (Greek, Bulgarian, viili, matsoni, filmjölk, piimä), be sure the yogurt used as the starter culture for making the coconut yogurt was made with cow or goat milk. Yogurt made with coconut milk using an heirloom-variety starter cannot be used as a starter culture for future batches of coconut milk yogurt. The structure of coconut milk is too different from animal-based milk and the bacteria will not be strong enough to perpetuate effectively.

Click here for more information on the various types of yogurt starters.

Step 4: Make Yogurt

There are several ways to make coconut milk yogurt at home. Which method you choose will depend on the type of yogurt starter you are working with. 

Click here to jump to instructions for making coconut yogurt using a thermophilic culture.

Click here to jump to instructions for making coconut yogurt with a mesophilic culture.

Making Coconut Milk Yogurt with a Thermophilic (heated) Yogurt Culture

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 cups coconut milk (approximately 2 cans)
  • Thickening agent, (choose one):
    • 3 tablespoons tapioca starch (or tapioca flour) OR
    • 1/2 tablespoon gelatin
  • Yogurt starter (choose one):
    • One packet (1/8 teaspoon) direct-set yogurt starter such as Traditional-flavored, Mild-flavored, or Vegan, OR
    • 3 tablespoons heirloom-style yogurt starter such as Greek or Bulgarian, OR
    • 3 tablespoons yogurt containing live active cultures purchased from the grocery store (ideally an unflavored variety)


Note: You can double the recipe to 2 quarts (4 cans), and double the amount of thickener. If using a direct-set starter culture use only one packet. If using a dairy yogurt as a starter, use 6 tablespoons.


Instructions

  1. Heat the coconut milk to approximately 115°F, then remove from heat.
  2. Measure out 1 cup of the coconut milk, and mix in the thickening agent of your choice. Then mix in the rest of the milk.
  3. Once the milk has cooled 110°F, add the yogurt starter and mix well to combine.
  4. Incubate the mixture at 108° to 112°F for 6 to 8 hours.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours. Yogurt will not thicken until after refrigeration.


Please note: Coconut milk generally takes a few hours longer to culture than yogurt made with dairy milk. If a more sour yogurt is desired, culture for a longer period. While a yogurt maker is generally the easiest way to culturthermophilic varieties of yogurt, if you do not own a yogurt maker, here are a few alternative ways to keep the yogurt at the right temperature:

  • Wrap the jar in a dishtowel and put it in an insulated cooler with the cover on.
  • Make an insulated incubator out of a small crock pot by lining it with foam. Put the jar of yogurt inside, put a piece of foam on top, and put the lid on.
  • Turn on the light in an electric oven, then wrap the yogurt in a dishtowel and put it inside the oven.
  • Set the yogurt inside a food dehydrator that has the trays taken out, and that is set for no higher than 110°F.


You can test the temperature of each of these methods ahead of time by heating some water to 110°F and holding the jar of water for the required number of hours using the method of choice. Test the water temperature periodically to ensure that the incubation method will hold the warmth properly.

Making Coconut Milk Yogurt with a Mesophilic (non-heated) Yogurt Culture

Ingredients

  • 3 to 4 cups coconut milk (approximately 2 cans)
  • Thickening agent (choose one):
    • 3 tablespoons tapioca starch (or tapioca flour) OR
    • 1/2 teaspoons gelatin
  • 4 tablespoons yogurt from a previous batch of mesophilic-variety yogurt


Note: You can double this recipe to 2 quarts (4 cans), and double the other ingredients as well. 

Instructions

  1. Measure out the milk.
  2. If adding tapioca starch or flour, whisk the starch into a small amount of milk, then mix that portion of milk into the larger portion of milk and mix well to combine. If adding gelatin, sprinkle the gelatin into the milk and mix well.
  3. Add the yogurt starter and mix well.
  4. Incubate the mixture at 70° to 78°F for 18 to 24 hours. (Some people have good luck with 36 to 48 hours for a more sour yogurt.) Please note: coconut milk generally takes a few hours longer to culture than yogurt made with dairy milk.  
  5. Refrigerate the yogurt for 5+ hours to halt the culturing process. The yogurt will not thicken until after it has cooled.






 

 

                                                
   
Homemade Yogurt


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Cotton Bag for Making Soft Cheese

 

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<td><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span> <br />
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Originally a simple fermented dairy product, yogurt now has many variations and personalities. It can be thin and runny, or thick and firm. It can be made from cow milk, goat milk, sheep milk, nut milk, soy milk, rice milk, and from numerous other creamy substances. In some countries the milk of buffalo, horses, yaks, or camels is used.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">For most of this discussion, we&rsquo;ll refer to yogurt in its original form: a fermented dairy milk. This was how yogurt was first developed, and most of the yogurt in the world is made this way.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Essentially yogurt is the product of beneficial bacteria fermenting milk and turning it into a thickened, acidic food that will stay fresh longer than milk itself, and that contains millions of bacteria that are welcomed by the human gut.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The History of Yogurt</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The word yogurt comes from a Turkish word meaning to curdle or to thicken. Today it is spelled yogurt, yoghurt, or yogourt, with yogurt being the most common American spelling.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">It&rsquo;s probable that the earliest yogurt was made by accident in Mesopotamia around 5,000 BC, when milk-producing animals were first domesticated. The milk was likely stored and transported in bags made from the stomachs of these animals, and the digestive juices and bacteria in the stomach linings made the milk coagulate and become acidic. Not only was it a new and interesting food, but the acidity and helped to keep it edible for longer</span> <span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">than if it had just sat out in a bowl or jar.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">There is also some evidence of yogurt being used as a cleaning product and a beauty lotion as early as 2000 BC. The acidity of the yogurt helps clean away dirt and rust, and also helps clear away dead skin and nourish healthy skin cells.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt was a popular food in the Middle East for thousands of years, and has been a staple of the Eastern European diet. It&rsquo;s now eaten throughout the world, as a main course, a snack, an ingredient in many recipes, and a condiment. It has gained considerable popularity in America in the last forty or fifty years, in keeping with general trends toward organic, cultured, and nutrient-dense foods.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt can be mildly tart or quite sour, and can be thick enough to stand up on a plate, or thin enough to pour, or anywhere in between. It contains protein and calcium as well as a variety of vitamins. Additionally, the process of yogurt fermentation is very similar to the process of digestion, so it can be easily consumed.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Many people eat yogurt plain, while others prefer to mix it with fruits or vegetables, or to add flavors or sweeteners. It is used in a variety of recipes as a flavor enhancer or leavening, and frequently enjoyed as a refreshing drink.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Nutritional Content</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Not only does yogurt contain the same amount of protein and fat as the milk from which it is made, it also contains calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12. While numerous claims have been made regarding the health benefits and digestibility of yogurt, we don&rsquo;t comment on medical, health, or nutritional qualities of our products. However, a great deal of research on the subject is readily available on the Internet and in dozens of books.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">How is Yogurt Made?</span></strong></h1>
<p><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">&nbsp;</span></strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">True yogurt is made from animal milk. Theoretically, the milk of any mammal could be used to make yogurt.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">With care, yogurt cultures can also be used to ferment and coagulate non-dairy &ldquo;milks&rdquo; such as the creamy liquid obtained from nuts, rice, soy, or coconut. While these products are technically not really yogurt, they can be used and enjoyed just like dairy yogurt, alone or in recipes.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Put very simply, the process of turning milk into yogurt involves fermentation. Certain types of bacteria act on the lactose (milk sugar) that is in milk, and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid lowers the pH of the milk, and causes the milk protein to coagulate and make a firm mass. The acidified milk is an inhospitable environment for destructive bacteria, so the yogurt stays fresh longer than untreated milk.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">The bacteria that does this is called beneficial bacteria, because it supports digestion and is nourishing, as opposed to pathogenic (harmful) bacteria that causes disease. The beneficial bacteria is called probiotic. It&nbsp; is similar or identical to the type of bacteria that lives in the human gut and which is responsible for the process of food absorption. When you use live cultures, the probiotics stay in the yogurt, and the yogurt can then be used as a starter to make more yogurt.</span></p>
<h1><br /><strong><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">Yogurt and Other Fermented Dairy Products</span></strong></h1>
<p><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">There are many different ways that beneficial bacteria can be introduced to milk and make an entirely new food. The main difference between the different fermented dairy products is the bacteria used to make them, resulting in different flavors and consistencies.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Yogurt</em> can be cultured with a variety of different bacteria combinations, each of which gives the yogurt a characteristic taste and consistency. There are typically somewhere between the range of two to six different bacteria strains in yogurt, and they are similar to the bacteria found in the intestines.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Kefir</em> is a thickened milk made from little clumps of yeast, bacteria, and milk proteins that ferment the milk. There are about thirty different bacteria strains present in kefir grains. It has a slightly sour flavor and sometimes a faint effervescence. Koumiss is a similar product, made from mare&rsquo;s milk.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Buttermilk</em> is the name given to the whey that&rsquo;s left over when butter is made, but it more commonly refers to a milk drink made by adding bacteria to low-fat milk, producing a thickened product with a tangy flavor.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Sour cream</em> is cream or high-fat milk that&rsquo;s been cultured and thickened. It&rsquo;s very slightly sour, and usually quite thick. It was originally made by letting fresh cream thicken naturally as a result of fermentation from the bacteria present in the cream. When cream is pasteurized and has no natural bacteria present, it must be fermented with added bacteria.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Cr&egrave;me fraiche</em> is a European-style sour cream, slightly sweeter than what we are used to in America. It&rsquo;s also made by letting raw cream thicken naturally, or by adding buttermilk cultures to cream. Cr&egrave;me fraiche can be heated without curdling, unlike sour cream.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;">In recipes, you can often substitute one cultured milk product for another and get similar results. In fact, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a thin, tart yogurt and a thick, sour kefir or a creamy buttermilk!</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: verdana,geneva; font-size: small;"><em>Soft and hard cheeses</em> are also made by culturing milk over a longer period of time. Some cheeses can be easily made by straining the moisture out of yogurt or sour cream, while others require additional fermentation and culturing steps.</span></p>
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