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THE BEST DAIRY FREE, GUT LOVING, COCONUT MILK YOGURT RECIPE

Posted on May 24 2016

If you are dairy intolerant, you can get all the awesome probiotic benefits of 24 hour yogurt, making it from coconut milk.

This isn’t any ordinary coconut yogurt you can buy in the store by the way. Based on the science of the Specific Carbohydrate diet (SCD), 24 hour coconut yogurt is a powerful healing food that must be homemade. Read a description of the many health benefits of SCD yoghurt here and here.

With the addition of one super ingredient, the steps are virtually the same as the dairy variety and just as easy. I say ‘easy’ now but I didn’t always consider coconut yogurt that way. I have been on the hunt for the perfect, failsafe recipe for years and through batch after batch of runny attempts, I know homemade coconut yogurt to be a tricky beast.

Here’s the problem; during fermentation coconut milk does not thicken like dairy yoghurt. This gives you runny, slightly sour coconut milk which is barely recognizable as yoghurt . The aim instead is obviously scoopable, wobbly deliciousness.

To my surprise there are no shortage of recipes on the web but most include gums and thickeners to achieve this desired creamy texture. I, however wanted to make the purest, gut loving, health promoting, coconut milk yoghurt possible.

Success! I discovered the wonders of gelatin. (Agar agar works just as well). Adding either makes perfect, firm, coconut yoghurt every time! Gelatine is my personal preference because it's a beneficial ingredient from a gut health perspective. Don’t use any old gelatin though, quality matters. I only recommend Gelpro gelatin in Australia. Find out why we should be eating more gelatin hereIf you are vegan, agar agar is a equal substitute. The yoghurt making steps are just the same.

Homemade coconut milk yoghurt will not look like the consistent, smooth, white store bought variety you may have come to enjoy. Even your expensive organic variety has sugar, food stabilizers or gums.

This recipe avoids all the nasties. However, a quick word of warning; coconut milk a la natural won’t behave! Without additives coconut milk will separate. When refrigerated and left to set coconut cream will rise to the top and separate from the milk. If you’re lucky, you might even get a solid layer of coconut oil right on top of the cream. Naturally there will be three layers to your homemade coconut yoghurt. There is no use fighting it. Embrace it.

WHAT KIND OF COCONUT MILK SHOULD I USE?
Good question. Unless you want to make it yourself, additive free coconut milk is not easy to come across. I highly recommend you source a brand that states ‘coconut pulp’ as it’s only ingredient but even then it is hard to be sure. Most importantly, if you are up for healing your gut it is best to avoid those containing guar gum or carageenan as both are known to cause digestive problems.

Here’s the test. If your coconut milk does not separate you can be sure it has unlisted additives.

Then there is BPA (an industrial chemical used in plastic). Like almost all canned foods, there is usually toxic BPA in the lining of canned coconut milk. Many state BPA free these days which is great. I buy Banaban coconut milk in bulk online. It is a little more expensive but I trust the product.

STARTER CULTURE
You will need a yoghurt starter culture to introduce the fermentation of bacteria to your coconut milk. I used this brand. Feel free to use any starter culture you are happy with. Use the amount of starter culture indicated on the packet.

SUGAR
Unlike animal milk, coconut milk doesn’t have much natural sugar. Bacteria in yoghurt need something sugary to feed on. Adding a little bit of honey promotes fermentation and allows the culturing process to take place. 1 tablespoon per 4 cups of coconut milk should do. If you have an intolerance to honey, maple syrup or rapadura sugar will work just fine. 

COCONUT MILK YOGHURT RECIPE

Thoroughly wash or sterilize your yoghurt container, whisk and other utensils with boiling water.

INGREDIENTS

3 x 400ml BPA free and additive free cans of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of raw honey
1 tablespoon of Premium Gelatin powder or 1 teaspoon of powdered agar agar
Yoghurt starter culture 

1.  Pour the coconut milk into a large saucepan

2.  Add the powdered gelatin and whisk in to combine

3.  On the stove top gently heat and whisk the milk to dissolve the gelatin powder. Heat the coconut milk to bewteen 160 - 180 degrees F. (82° C) Do NOT boil the coconut milk. Watch it closely; it heats quicker than regular milk.

4.  Remove from heat. While the milk is still hot, add the honey and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk. (The honey provides additional food for the bacterial culture)

5. Cover the milk & let cool to below 110° F (43° C)

Note: It is fine if the milk cools down well below 43°, it just mustn't be too hot. Temperatures above 43° C will kill the starter culture.

6.  Add the yoghurt starter culture and gently whisk in.

7.  Pour the coconut milk into the yoghurt maker. 
The coconut milk is now ready to begin fermentation.

8.  Set the temperature and timer. Incubate the milk for 24 hours, keeping the temperature between 108 and 112 degrees. (36 and 43° C).

9.  After 24 hours the fermentation is complete. The coconut milk will have thickened somewhat but will still be fairly thin. In the fridge, the gelatin will set the coconut milk to perfect yoghurt consistency.

10.  Place the tub in the fridge for at least 6 hours to set firm.

ENJOY HOMEMADE COCONUT MILK YOGHURT

 

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