i first attempted making my own yogurt about 2 years ago, when i was completely dairy free. though we have now reintroduced some dairy into our home, we have still held onto this recipe as one of our weekly favorites. at first, i was pretty intimidated at the thought of making yogurt, but honestly it is really easy and takes very few ingredients. we ferment ours typically about 18 hours, which yields a creamy, slightly sweet, slightly tart final product. if you are used to the sweet store bought yogurts, the tartness of homemade yogurt can be a slight adjustment, but it is so good!
the basic ingredients are coconut milk, honey, vanilla, a probiotic starter and some thickener (i typically use agar-agar).
thoughts on coconut milk:
we typically use native forest organic canned coconut milk. mainly because the cans are bpa free. the downside is that there is guar gum as a stabilizer and i am not a huge fan of it. this week, i am making my own coconut milk from dried organic coconut flakes and i am going to try that in our next batch of yogurt. i will let you know how that turns out!
thoughts on thickener:
we have found that agar-agar is our favorite thickener for the yogurt. i have tried tapioca starch, arrowroot & guar gum and all of them work fine also. i am planning on trying to use plain gelatin sometime, but haven’t gotten around to trying it yet.
thoughts on yogurt makers:
i have a little yogurt maker by waring, i got it for about $25 at tuesday morning (a random discount store) we have here. the one thing i did right away was toss all the plastic containers that came with it (i hate bpa) and instead it fits 7 half-pint mason jars perfectly. the nice thing about using a yogurt maker is that it keeps the temperature perfectly consistent at 105 degrees and i can just set the timer and forget about it. a lot of people use their crock-pot, or oven with light on, or excalibur dehydrator, so really it is just preference. a yogurt maker is actually not necessary to culture yogurt.
- make sure you sterilize jars and utensils before beginning. this is important! (i will show in another post, how to know if your yogurt is bad)
- a good yogurt starter probiotic is gi-prostart , it is dairy free and works well with nut and coconut milks
- a candy thermometer is perfect for making sure you are at the right temperatures (to high of heat will kill your probiotic culture)
- 3 cans organic coconut milk (full fat)
- 3 Tbsp. raw honey
- 2 tsp. agar- agar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ⅛ tsp of probiotic starter (I use GI-Prostart)
- in a saucepan heat coconut milk & honey (stirring constantly)
- bring up to 185 degrees and then whisk in agar-agar or thickener of choice
- remove from heat and add in vanilla
- at this point i pour my mixture into my vita-mix and blend on high to really whip in thickener (but this is not a necessary step)
- allow too cool down to 105 degrees (quicker is better, hint is to set pan in ice water bath)
- as soon as mixture reaches 105 degrees whisk in culture (probiotic starter)
- pour contents into sterilized mason jars (recipe yields 7 half-pint jars)
- place in yogurt maker and set for 12-18 hours (depending on desired tartness)
- when yogurt is done fermenting, it will still be fairly thin until it cools off in the refrigerator
- cap jars and refrigerate (keeps for 7-10 days)
- serve with fresh fruit or granola