This is my simple “how to” guide to have you making your very own coconut yoghurt. I’ve got stove top and Thermomix instructions to make things even easier. This recipe’s paleo, which means dairy and grain free. Plus, it’s also vegan. Everyone wins!
We know yoghurt is good for us. It’s packed full of live bacteria, the kind that heals our gut and strengthens our immune system. But you want to take dairy out of your diet, then you see the price of coconut yoghurt. Surely I’m not the only one who balks at paying more than $20 for 700g of yoghurt? I know it’s delicious and all, but really? Why pay exorbitant prices when you can make your own for only a few dollars and a little bit of patience.
Because it does take some time, I make up a big batch that will last me all week. You can make a smaller batch if you prefer, just remember though you need 1 probiotic capsule to every can of coconut milk/cream. Just reduce the thickeners to your preferred quantities.
Flavour wise, it’s similar to a dairy yoghurt but with a mild coconut taste and slightly sweet. It’s delicious as is, or with berries stirred through or you could even make chocolate yoghurt by stirring in some cacao before serving. I add it to almost anything. I enjoy it daily, with my paleo breakfast cereal or with desserts in place of ice-cream.
It doesn’t work well as a greek yoghurt replacement though in savoury dishes, like tzatziki. I know this because I tried and it was awful. It’s not sour enough for this purpose.
Bonus: Making your own is generally more nutritious too, as the bacteria is alive and fresh!
Makes 1.2 litres
- 3 x 400g cans organic coconut milk or cream*
- 1 Tablespoon Agar Agar* (could use less)
- 2 Tablespoons Arrowroot/Tapioca Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- 3 Probiotic Capsules (or starter culture*)
- Add milk & cream, Agar Agar and arrowroot to the bowl. Cook at 90C/9 minutes/speed 3.
- Allow the mix to cool down to 37C. Do not try and skip this step or think 50C is cool enough. Anything hotter than 37C will kill off the probiotics and you’ll end up with a coconut jelly. Trust me, I’ve done it!
- Add the maple syrup and the contents of the three probiotic capsules. You’ll need to gently pull them apart to release the goodness. Stir for 5 seconds on speed 4.
- Cook 37C/3 minutes/speed 3.
- Pour the yoghurt into clean jars.
- If you have an easy-yo thermos, pop them in that. Otherwise wrap the jars in tea towels and pop them in a heat proof bag. I leave my jars to then sit in the microwave, but you can use an esky or cold oven. This just helps keep the surrounding air temperature stable.
- Leave undisturbed for 12 hours. After 12 hours unwrap them and pop the jars into the fridge for another 12 or so hours. They will continue to thicken a little more in the fridge.
Stove top method
- Add milk & cream, Agar Agar and arrowroot to a large saucepan. Cook on a gentle heat, stirring regularly, for 9 minutes until the mix begins to thicken. You may like to use a whisk to stir it to remove any clumps.
- Turn the stove off and allow the mix to cool to 40C.
- Once cooled, add the maple syrup and probiotics.
- Turn the stove back on and stir again for a few minutes to have everything mixed well. Take care to not take the mixture above 43C.
- Follow steps 5 to 7 above.
I’ve experimented quite a bit with this recipe and found you can make a few substitutions/additions to get your desired outcome.
Want a thick yoghurt?
Using a higher fat coconut milk will yield a thicker product. I use 2 cans of coconut cream plus 1 can of milk to get the thickness I love, but you can alter this to suit.
Agar Agar can be purchased at health food shops. It’s a thickener, extracted from seaweed. This is what vegans use in place of gelatin. Using A-A alone in this recipe creates a jelly-like consistency and it’s a little lumpy. Using the arrowroot by itself ends up the yoghurt being all gluey. Both are terrible alone, but when combined you end up with a thick, smooth consistency.
If it’s too thick for your liking, reduce quantities a little. Likewise, add a little more for something thicker. I’ve successfully used cornflour in place of A-A & arrowroot, but it’s not paleo. Of course if cornflour doesn’t upset you, you could use it; you’ll need about 2-3 Tablespoons.
Update 19/04/2016: I’ve been finding my yoghurt going far too thick lately; think jelly consistency – perhaps the changing seasons are affecting things? Either way, quantities of agar agar could be scaled right back to 2 teaspoons or 1/2 tablespoon.
Like it thinner?
You can even leave the thickeners out entirely if you prefer a runnier consistency, just skip step 1 in the method.
Prefer a more sour flavour?
Leave the Maple Syrup out if you prefer a tangier tasting yoghurt. I like it both ways, but a touch of sweetness is a little more universally palatable.
No probiotics on hand?
You can also use a few spoonfuls of your last batch of coconut yoghurt as your starter culture. Whilst this does work well (it’s how they traditionally did it), I found that the results aren’t as consistent each time. For example, some batches would be thicker than others. It in no way changes the flavour or nutritional benefit.
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