Coconut Yoghurt

What’s with the coconut yoghurt explosion you’re wondering? Or perhaps you’re part of the explosion. It’s part necessity for those with allergic reactions to cassein, lactose or both. It’s partly to add another interesting food to the mix. It’s partly because of the rise of paleo and vegan food choices, both groups avoiding dairy.

So, while it’s popular and that’s great, if you wanted to buy it commercially, you’re either bleeding cash (In Australia it’s around $9 for a small, 2 serve tub) OR you’re worried about the environmental impact of yet another single use plastic item in the food trolley. The best solution is to become a yoghurt maker. It’s one of those things that seems like an impossibly complicated thing to start doing in a world gone time starved, and truth be told, the first couple of times will probably be time consuming and fiddly, BUT the reward is money saved, less plastic tubs and a blissful cultured food to add to your immune building stable.

A couple of things before you start on your yoghurt making journey…

1. Trust that you will get this.

2. Know that a batch might not work every now and then for various reasons and that’s Ok.

3. Don’t stress about failed batches if this happens, as that stuff will work beautifully for smoothies to use it up. You could even freeze it into ice cubes to make instant ice creams. FAR from failed result!

 

A couple of questions answered before we kick off

 

1. If I can’t do / don’t want to do dairy, do I need to replace the yoghurt at all? 

I’m not here to force you, but I’m kind of going to say yes. Cultured foods are imperative in our modern world devoid of bacteria (good or bad!). Culturing is going to help ensure your gut is populated with loads of good soldiers. These lil’ guys are going to keep the bad soldiers in check and out numbered – the ones who are pathogenic and constantly trying to invade. By keeping our guts well populated with the good guys, we protect our immune system – 80% of which is powered by the gut. We also support our brain health with the ever increasing proof that there is a very strong connection between the health of our mental state and the state of our gut health. I NEVER cease to be amazed at how intertwined our body systems are. For so long we all saw specialists for certain parts of the body when really, we should never have stopped looking at things holistically.

2. Can I vary your recipe?

I’d say no. Substituting anything specified below and I can’t guarantee you will get culturing or a setting. Feel free to experiment of course. That’s how I arrived at this method myself.

3. Don’t I need special equipment like a yoghurt maker to make yoghurt?

Nope. You can of course buy a yoghurt maker if you’re worried about the precariousness of ovens being left ajar and on for a long time though.(there’s a good one with glass jars that is reasonable on ebay here) I do strongly suggest a food thermometer however if you’re not going to get a yoghurt maker, so you can easily monitor your yoghurt the first couple of batches and find out what that perfect 41-45C temp is like at your house – For me it was oven on 80C with door ajar and yoghurt 2/3 of way forward on the rack shelf… The thermometer is what helped me ensure I found that sweet spot and nailed the culturing temperature.

4. Isn’t coconut full of saturated fats? 

Yes. AND turns out that’s a really, really good thing for many people. Retired CSIRO scientist and honorary research fellow at the University of Queensland, Mike Foale, says the Heart Foundation has got it wrong. Foale has been studying the coconut palm for more than four decades and believes coconut is a superfood. “There is both scientific and abundant anecdotal evidence of great health benefits, including increased energy, weight loss, natural antibiotic activity and insulin stabilisation,” Foale says. It’s comprised mainly of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that our body uses super easily for energy, thus increasing our metabolism and reducing the amount of fats stored, as is done with long chain. It’s magic for feeling fuller longer, diminishing wrinkles (especially those little feathery ones). It’s also packed with immune building lauric acid – just like a mummy’s breast milk – so it’s a powerful tool in your kit for fighting nasties. Lastly, culturing the coconut cream enhances your body’s ability to process fat efficiently and so cultured foods and fatty foods are wonderful partners when it comes to maximising nutrient absorption and efficient digestion. Love that. Welcome aboard the fat train. The healthy fat train. It’s a delicious place to be.

5. Can’t I use coconut milk instead of coconut cream? 

NO! You’re paying for a watered down product. Water it down yourself as I’ve done in this recipe to ensure it’s not stodgy or chalky like commercial coconut yoghurts often are, I’ve made the first step a water step.

Let’s make yoghurt! 

 

What you’ll need

A l litre glass container with glass lid as I have, pictured. Pyrex is perfect or a glass flip top lid style of jar where you just take the rubber out for the incubation time and pop loose lid on jar for that phase.

A food thermometer

600ml coconut cream (I like Ayam best as there are zero additives / thickeners to begin with. Having said that I have used Spiral Organic with 0.5% guar gum and that’s worked well too.)

1 1/3 cups of filtered, chlorine free water (chlorine inhibits bacteria and is a massive no no in fermentation land)

2 tablespoons rice malt, maple, coconut syrup, rapidura or panela (don’t skip the sugar. It’s the bacteria’s food and you will get a more successful culture with it and a negligible sugar result in the end)

1 vanilla pod or teaspoon vanilla paste or powder (Do not mix until AFTER culturing is complete)

3 tablespoons tapioca flour

1 teaspoon agar agar or 1.5 teaspoons grass fed beef gelatin

40 billion worth of bacteria from probiotic capsules or powder (the more strains in there the better!)  OR 2 teaspoons of yoghurt starter culture from your local health shop  OR 1/2 cup of coconut yoghurt to get the culture going and growing.

 

What to do (Thermomix modification for first steps is at the bottom)

Boil a cup of water and add the agar agar / gelatin and simmer for 4-5 mins or until agar agar cannot be seen.

Mix your tapioca and 1/3 cup water along with your sweetener of choice (Do NOT use stevia. The good bacteria needs some sugar of some form to take hold and grow. The sweet stuff is what it eats to grow. There is a very negligible amount left at the end of the process.

Add the tapioca mix to the saucepan and it will almost instantly turn into a ghost busters reminiscent goopy goop of goopiness, that you should whisk constantly for a minute or two and then…

IMG_8458 (just as an aside. This is a Le Creuset saucepan from my mum from 1976. How’s that for long lasting investment!)

Add your coconut cream and heat until you just see a couple of bubbles start to pop up. Keep stir continuously until you get there.

Now, turn heat off and pop saucepan by the window until the heat comes down to 45C. This will take about 40 minutes so off you pop for a nice relaxing epsom salt bath or meditation – kids? what kids ?!

Once you get it back down to 45C approx (do not panic if a couple of degrees cooler or hotter) is the time to introduce your culture of choice. It’s also the time to preheat your oven as low as it goes. Mine is gas and 80C is it.

Sprinkle either the powders or plop the yoghurt in and whisk like a crazy person to combine well.

Now pour out into your culturing receptacle, that should be well washed  and dry (no need to disinfect especially. Just soap will do)

Pop into your very low temp oven, with the door ajar and your jar / pyrex in the middle depth of the tray. OR pop into your yoghurt maker and set the timer and ignore the rest of these steps)

Test the temperature in 10 minutes to make sure it hasn’t shot up. If it has, move the yoghurt closer to the ajar oven door where it will be cooler. Test again after 10 minutes.

Once you know it has settled at around 45C or a couple of degrees lower, you can leave it be for around 8 hours – not less. So, ideally this is a morning project that you then leave during the day.

Lastly, simply take out of the oven and pop into the fridge to set as it cools – It will be liquidy at this point. Do not panic about that.Now is the time that you can mix in vanilla bean paste, powder or bean for a delicious vanilla flavour infusion by the next morning.

This is what you will awake to from your sweet slumber! 600ml of delicious yoghurt that costs around $5, not $15 for the equivalent store bought amount.

For a big family, make a double batch and you’re done for the week. Add it to smoothies, instant ice creams, serve with curries with a little grated cucumber and mint in it, my breakfast crunch from my book available on Amazon or serve as a delicious breakky bowl as pictured below.

How long will it last? 1 week

How many serves is this? 8-12 depending on how big your serving size is at your house

IMG_8473

IMG_8474 - Version 2

IMG_8489

IMG_8486

Remember, the first time is the time consuming time! Be patient with yourself in learning the technique that first time. I check over recipes a million times pacing around the kitchen the first time I make anything. Yes, it’s true! If the whole oven fiddling step bothers you, the “set and forget” 8 hour timer on a yoghurt maker will be something you should invest in. You’ll make your money back after 5 batches, with the price difference in commercial coconut yogurt. Definitely worth it!

NOW, I want a promise of tagging and sharing your efforts because this is clever stuff! Here in the comments, on instagram tagging me @Alexx_Stuart or #alexxstuart or just pop your pic up on the facebook wall. Let’s inspire others to see how easy it is once you get the hang of it!

Yay, team yoghurt! Can’t wait to hear. Want more fermentation goodness? I’ve written a full HOW and WHY guide of fermenting veggies HERE as well as 2 recipes here. Enjoy!

Real Food. Happy Bodies.

Alexx x

 

p.s Got a Thermomix? Here’s that low down

For the first step TM 100C for 4-5 minutes speed 1, with the agar / H2O.

Then add the tapioca, sugar and do 2 minutes speed 2, 100C.

Then add the coconut cream and do another 2 minutes speed 2, 100C.

Then, let it cool in the thermomix to 50C

Then add the powder / yoghurt from last batch and blend speed 6, 5 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Then pour into your receptacles with lids and follow the oven / yoghurt maker step. I’d say the TM would take up too much power on for 8 hours and there’s no 45C setting. Feel free to try, but I haven’t done it 100% in the thermomix.

Source: coconut oil facts sourced from Body and Soul article 

p.p.s Are there other ways that you can make coconut yoghurt? 

There are many ways to make it. I’ve tried eskis or benchtop but it sadly hasn’t worked for me or at least not the way I wanted it, with that luscious thick result. Two recipes on the interwebs are two talented lasses Lesh from Mindful Foodie and Alisha from Naughty Naturopath Mum - the latter being a ‘cheats’ yoghurt if you’re time poor and live in a warm climate, where this works a treat.

Comments

  1. Sara says

    Hi alex
    Really looking forward to trying to make this.. Few quick questions
    What brand of coconut cream do you use?
    Roughly How many servings does this make? And how long will it keep for?
    Thanks

    • alexxstuart says

      Hi Sara, Thanks so much for those questions as I’ve now popped them in the post! :-) Serves 8-12 depending and lasts about a week. Coconut brands are in the ingredient list. Enjoy and let me know how you go!

  2. Emily Andrews says

    Hi Alex,
    If I use honey for my sugar component will it effect the good bacteria? I thought honey had antibacterial properties? Can I use Manuka honey?

    • alexxstuart says

      Emily – definitely put honey at the bottom of the pile as you’re spot on re bacteria. I’ve personally had success with coconut sugar, rice malt syrup and maple syrup thus far if that helps you decide which to trial on your first go :-)

  3. Michelle says

    Hi Alexx,
    This looks fantastic, have been planning to make yoghurt for awhile now think I will finally give it a go.
    Just wondering if there is anything I could use as a substitute for the tapioca?
    Thanks

  4. Tracy says

    Hiya just to let you know I made this today so hoping it will turn out :) just to let you know the thermomix recipe above is missing the sugar, I had to add it later as I missed it as I was following it but then I remembered reading it..

    • alexxstuart says

      Tracey you are a legend for letting me know – that sort of thing is like parsley in the teeth to a recipe writer! Hope you enjoy your yoghurt. Just made a batch again myself this weekend. So creamy! :-)

  5. Tracy says

    I’m eating it now and it turned out so good nice and thick and it is just like the shop brought stuff but I think maybe even a little bit better especially as I know exactly what is in it… As I don’t always want yogurt everyday can I freeze a couple of 1/2cups of it as then I will always have a starter in the freezer or that wont work as a starter? Thanks

  6. Ashleigh Farrow says

    Hi,

    Would this work if I set it in an easiyo maker? I would be making it in my tmx to start.

    Thanks :-)

  7. Fiona says

    Hi Alexx, I’ve got a batch of this yummy yogurt in the fridge setting ready for tomorrows breakfast! Are we able to use some of the batch we make to make the next batch? Do you know how many times we could do that without having to use a new starter? Thank you :-)

  8. says

    I love yoghurt have never made my own but your article has made me go out and buy some ingredients – I will give it a go this weekend – looks extremely yummy thanks!!!

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