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Finally, the recipe so many folks have been asking for. Coconut milk yogurt with all real food ingredients! The CTF Facebook page has been excitedly waiting for this one while seeing my multiple posts and pictures on the progress of the recipe.
This recipe is from the Menu Mailer, Volume 4 Week 29. Please consider supporting our blog by making a purchase of a Menu Mailer subscription or buying some of the issues of the Back to Basics Menu Mailer series. Mailers contain the recipes, shopping list and prep schedule for 6 meals and one dessert every week. We add extras such as this coconut milk yogurt as we develop the recipes. The Mailer runs as low as $1 a week. You can receive a free Menu Mailer that was published in January, 2011 if you sign up for our mailing list.
The slightly tan color comes from using rapadura as the sweetener to feed the beneficial bacteria. If you need a white yogurt, use honey.
This recipe is a lot of writing, but it really does go fast. The majority of the time in the kitchen, you are waiting for the mixture to cool, so you can be working on other things. I normally make my yogurt while doing meal prep or washing dishes, as it does not need a lot of attention to get it right.
I recommend So Delicious’ coconut milk yogurt as the starter. Portion it out into an ice cube tray, about 1 Tbs per cube, and freeze the extra. That way, you always have starter on hand when you need it. You can use a previously brewed batch to start a new batch. This is called chain-yogurting. After 5-7 times of using a previous batch, the yogurt starts to not turn out so well and you will need to start again with fresh starter. Between freezing the remaining yogurt and chain-yogurting, I can often get 6 gallons of homemade yogurt out of one container. That brings the cost down considerably when coconut yogurt is $2+ a cup. The starter must have live cultures to be able to create homemade yogurt.
Some people who tested this recipe felt that using all coconut flour make the yogurt imparted a slightly rough texture. I compensated for this by using some tapioca flour, but tapioca does have a flavor and it does have an apparent texture if not incubated long enough. Tapioca does make the yogurt thicker, lighter in color and imparts a finer texture to the finished yogurt when incubated long enough. You might wish to try the yogurt both ways to decide how you like it.
Finally, the sweetener is necessary in the recipe as it feeds the beneficial bacteria. When I attempted to cut back on the amount, a sulfur smell would develop in the yogurt from the beneficial bacteria dying off due to a lack of food. This is especially important to keep in mind if you would like to incubate your yogurt for 24 hours to get the maximum probiotic content. Add a little extra sweetener if you’re concerned.
Gelatin is available in packets at the grocery store under the Knox brand. I recommend you consider the Great Lakes or Bernard Jensen brands of gelatin, both recommended by the WAPF, if you wish to make this regularly, as they are low-heat processed to not contain free glutamic acid. They are also cheaper in the long-run. The Great Lakes gelatin costs 5 cents per teaspoon on Amazon.com right now (~$20 for 2 pounds) and is available in beef and pork origins. Knox costs double that. If you read the sidebars of Nourishing Traditions, you will see the gelatin has many beneficial qualities and can be used in a variety of dishes to encourage improved digestion.
An accurate thermometer is critical if you’re going to get this recipe to turn out right. Please don’t blame a recipe failure on me if you do not use a thermometer and guess at the correct temperatures. To know if your thermometer is accurate, immerse it in boiling water. It should read 212 degrees Fahrenheit.
mason jar(s) and one lid and ring for each jar
stock pot large enough to cover your mason jars
Pot big enough to hold all of the ingredients, with a little room to spare
Spatula to scrape the pot
Ingredients per pint of finished yogurt:
1-3/4 cup coconut milk (do NOT use reduced fat or lite if using canned)
1-2 Tbs rapadura, sucanat or honey (see note above)
½ Tbs coconut flour, sifted
½ Tbs tapioca flour (or additional coconut flour)
1 tsp gelatin
1 Tbs commercial yogurt with live cultures for a starter
First, you need to choose how you would like to incubate your yogurt. There are methods and information all over the internet, so I will share my preferred method, which is using a heating pad. After trying this method, this seemed like the most convenient and cheapest way to incubate it, as I do not have a gas oven with a pilot light. This method was featured in The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyzyn and is not my original idea. The cooler and crock-pot methods didn’t produce consistent results for long-cultured yogurt since the temperature would fluctuate or run too high. A constant temperature is critical to get the yogurt to turn out thick.
You first need to determine what temperature you need to set your heating pad on to keep the yogurt at 110 degrees. Place a couple of kitchen towels down on your counter, place the heating pad on top, then put another kitchen towel on top of the heating pad. Set a mason jar of warm water on top of that. Wrap a towel or two around the mason jar, then invert a big stock pot over top of all of it. Set your heating pad to medium and the next morning, check the temperature of the water with a thermometer. Adjust the temperature of the heating pad up or down until the temperature of the water consistently reads 110 degrees.
You can make as much or as little yogurt as you want at one time, limited only by your heating pad capacity and the size of your biggest stock pot with which to cover it. My largest stock-pot can accommodate four quart jars without a problem.
Everything you are using must be extremely clean. Run all equipment, except the thermometer, through a hot dishwasher cycle with no other dishes to make sure it is very clean, or you can pour boiling water over or immerse the items (except the thermometer) into boiling water. Any bacteria left on the equipment will compete with the beneficial bacteria in the yogurt. It’s best not to give it an opportunity to flourish.
In a stock-pot, whisk together the milk, rapadura, coconut flour and tapioca flour. You need this mixture to be smooth, so if you did not sift your coconut flour, you will need to use an immersion blender, pour it into a blender or whisk like crazy to get it smooth. Clumps of flour in this mixture mean lumpy, uneven yogurt.
Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the mixture and allow to sit for three minutes to soften. Whisk the gelatin in thoroughly then put over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking regularly. Remove from heat. If you see any lumps, use a blender or immersion blender.
Clip the thermometer onto the side of the pan and suspend it in the milk so that it is not touching the side of the bottom of the pan, and is in the middle of the mixture. Allow the milk to cool to 110 degrees.
When the milk has cooled to 110 degrees, place the 1 Tbs starter into a small bowl. Dip out a small amount of the milk, pour into the bowl with the starter and whisk until smooth. Pour the starter mixture into the milk and whisk. Whisk it in thoroughly, then pour your milk into your clean mason jars.
Place the jars back into the incubator set-up as described above. Allow it to sit, undisturbed, for 8-24 hours. The longer you let your yogurt ‘brew,’ the tangier it will be. The longer you brew it, the more probiotics it will have. The trade off is that the more probiotics it has, the tangier it will taste. I recommend you very carefuly unscrew the lid and try a little at 12 hours and judge from there whether you want it to go longer. Check periodically to make sure a sulfur smell is not developing if you would like to do a long-brewed yogurt for maximum probiotic content.
Carefully transfer it to your refrigerator and chill. Try not to jostle it, and definitely don’t stir it. The yogurt will be thin until it is cold. Once it is chilled, the yogurt will be thick.
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