We started using coconut yoghurt in the cafe about a year ago – we wanted a dairy free yoghurt to go with a gluten free, sugar free granola that we do (hence the Everything Free Granola thats on our Saturday menu). At first we were buying it in, but it was way too expensive to be sustainable, and when we realized that it was so easy to make ourselves, we quickly moved over to our own batch.
Now, when I say ‘how easy it was’ thats not quite true – we went through MANY batches of unset runny milk before finding the right method that gave us a nice tangy and thick consistency. This was partly just trial and error and needing to figure out what worked for us, but also partly the general lack of information on how to culture non-dairy yoghurts that we could find in books and on the internet. We still don’t always get it perfect every time, but thats the joy of fermentation. It’s like life, sometimes you nail it, sometimes you don’t.
We have found that these recipes vary slightly with different brands of coconut milk, but as a general rule of thumb get the milk with the highest fat content.
So, we have found that there are three easy ways to make your own coconut yoghurt:
1. Using a starter culture and the dehydrator (tangy)
2. Using Coconut Kefir grains at room temperature (tangier)
3. Using kefir water at room temperature (tangiest)
***if ever you feel like your yoghurt is too tangy add a tiny bit of fruit syrup or maple syrup to balance the zing.
- Using a starter culture and the dehydrator
1 tin of coconut milk
5% starter coconut yoghurt (for your first batch you are going to have to buy some coconut yoghurt, as this is your starter. We use the COYO brand which you can find in most good health food shops)
Skimming off the solids from the watery liquid will definitely give you a thicker result in a shorter amount of time, but you CAN achieve a yoghurt consistency using the whole tin:
- Heat up to 82 degrees. Be Precise! Keep stirring the pot if on the hob.
- Let cool to 46 degrees. Be Precise!
- Take out a cup of the liquid and mix in the starter. Return this mix to the batch and stir in thoroughly. Set dehydrator or oven to 46 degrees and leave for 32 hours. Check consistency every 12 hours or so, leave in for longer if necessary – but remember it will thicken further once cooled in the fridge
- If there is any seperation of solids allow liquid to cool in the fridge and skim off.
Take a cup out straight away – this is your starter for the next batch! It should last for up to two weeks.
- Using Kefir Grains
1 tin of coconut milk
8% coconut kefir grains
Put the coconut kefir grains into the coconut milk and leave at room temperature for 3 days. If you leave it on top of the oven or somewhere warm it will speed up the process. Depending on the weather, heat of the room and time of the year, this time can change – up or down.
If a small amount of white mould begins to form scrape it off. If the mould has any other colour other than white this is not good. throw it away.
Make sure to take the grains out of the yoghurt once finished – these are precious babies that must be kept alive!!!!! They should be stored in a jar in a small amount of the yoghurt (just enough to cover the grains) in the fridge.
- Using Kefir Water
1 tin coconut milk
10% Kefir water
Kefir water comes from water that has been mixed with water Kefir grains (you can have water kefir grains and dairy milk kefir grains and non-dairy milk kefir grains. These are all different things, do not mix them up).
Pour off and weigh up 10% kefir water.
Add this to the coconut milk.
Leave at room temperature (or in a warm place on top of the oven etc. ) for 3 days.
Check daily to see how the consistency is, and whether there is any mould growing. Again depending on your environment this could be shorter or longer than 3 days so keep an eye on it.