As you may know or not, I have gone mostly dairy free last year. Why? I have started a Paleo diet which is dairy, sugar, and grain-free. Now, does that mean I never ever have any of these? No. But I don’t have it on a regular basis at all. I do have a piece of cheese once in a while. I haven’t had any milk or dairy yogurt in a long time though.
By the way, do your research on milk consumption. Research shows that countries with the most access to regular milk have the highest rate of people with osteoporosis. However, in countries in which people don’t have access to milk, the osteoporosis is almost inexistent. Research explains that if you are drinking milk to get calcium, mind as well taking a supplement or eating good calcium-loaded vegetables rather than milk. Milk has apparently a damaging take on your own calcium. (This was the future PhD talking… 🙂 )
One still needs to get good bacteria for the guts though! So, a few months ago, I started to inquire about making coconut yogurt. I researched many different ways and recipes online. I quickly realized that some of the ingredients called in many recipes would be difficult to find in Africa (yes, we are only 6 months away from moving there). So, the best recipe was the one using full fat coconut milk in a can.
I tried to make it a few times and it was a disaster! I think the first time, the batch caught a bad bacterium (Yuk) and the second time… well, I am not sure. What I know is that making yogurt is like playing with chemistry.
Here is the successful recipe and process.
3 cans of full fat coconut milk
3 dairy-free probiotic pills
1-2 Tbsp. of honey
1-2 Tbsp. of tapioca flour (Optional if you want thick yogurt fast. Otherwise you can drip it to desired thickness. You will need to experiment a bit with the quantity to get the thickness that you like.)
I used a Yogurt maker to maintain an exact temperature of 110 degrees F.
A thermometer (Very important)
A sauce pan
- Sterilize your yogurt containers, mixing spoons and other utensils with boiling water. This will keep bad bacteria from competing with the good yogurt bacteria.
- In a saucepan, bring coconut milk to 180 degrees F, and then remove from heat. Do NOT boil the milk; watch it closely.
- While the milk is still very hot, add the tapioca flour and thoroughly dissolve and mix it into your batch.
- Add the honey and stir thoroughly. The sweetener provides food for the bacterial culture and will be mostly consumed by the time your yogurt is done.
- Cover and cool to 95-100 degrees. If the milk is too hot, it will kill the bacterial culture you are going to introduce.
- Remove about 1/2 cup of cooled coconut milk, and mix in your starter culture. Stir well.
- Thoroughly mix the inoculated batch back in with the remainder of the cooled coconut milk.
- Pour cultured milk into your yogurt maker jars. Cover and ferment at 105-110 degrees for 12 hours in the yogurt maker. The longer you ferment the yogurt, the less sugar it will contain and the more sour it will taste. Check for taste at 7 hours, but note that if you want all the sugar to be fully consumed by the bacteria, you will need to ferment for at least 8 hours. Some people ferment as long as 18-24 hours!
- After about 12 hours, remove from heat, stir to an even consistency and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. You must refrigerate for the, tapioca to set.
- If your yogurt separates after chilling, either stir it briskly with a spoon, or whip it with a stick blender for a light and fluffy treat.
- Stir in fresh berries or other fruit, vanilla, nuts, coffee extract, or any other flavoring you desire. Or simply enjoy plain!
- Enjoy daily for maximum health benefit!