Making non-dairy coconut milk yogurt isn't rocket science. If this is your first time, have no fear. I promise, you'll be licking your spoon and doing a happy dance in less than 24 hours!
If you've done some research, you've probably found that most coconut milk yogurt recipes use straight full fat coconut milk. I love the creamy result of these recipes, but at the rate our family eats yogurt, I simply cannot afford to make it that way. So just like grandma used to do, I had to stretch it. Adding water and thickening with a bit of tapioca starch and agar agar is the solution I came up with to reducing the cost of ingredients without sacrificing all creaminess.
If you are new to yogurt making, you might want to give this post a good read first.
I hope this yogurt becomes a staple in your home. Yogurt parfaits, yogurt-based smoothies and even frozen yogurt are back on the table. Enjoy!
Coconut Milk Yogurt
Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free |Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan
Makes: About 5.5 cups or 44 ounces
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 16-20 hours
3/4 teaspoon AGAR AGAR powder (not flakes or bar)
1-1/2 tablespoons organic CANE SUGAR
2 cans full fat COCONUT MILK (such as Thai Kitchen®)
3 tablespoons TAPIOCA STARCH/FLOUR
Allergen-Free YOGURT STARTER or Allergen-Free Probiotic Capsules
Important: Follow the recipe exactly for guaranteed results. Do not make substitutions, do not alter measurements. Do not use milk beverages such as Silk or SoDelicious. Use pure coconut milk with the only additive (if there is one) being guar gum. Do not add flavorings or added sweeteners until AFTER culturing and before transferring to the refrigerator. Do not omit sugar, this is provides food for the bacteria. They will consume most of it.
1. Sterilize cooking utensils, bowls and fermentation containers by dousing in boiling water. This is a very important step.
2. In a small bowl, mix tapioca starch and 1/2 cup water to make a slurry. Set aside.
3. Add 2 cups filtered water to a large pot. Sprinkle agar agar powder over surface. Bring to boil and gently simmer 3-5 minutes or until agar agar is completely dissolved.
4. Give the tapioca slurry a good stir and whisk, along with sugar, into the agar agar mixture. Return to simmer, stirring constantly 1-2 minutes.
5. Whisk in coconut milk. Heat just until steam rises from surface.
6. Allow milk to cool to 95-100˚F. This can take a while.
7. Sprinkle yogurt starter (use manufacturer's recommended measure) or approximately 40-50 billion CFUs of probiotic powder over surface of cooled milk. Whisk very well.
8. Transfer to fermentation container(s) and then to heated yogurt maker. Leave undisturbed to ferment 8-10 hours (no longer).
9. Transfer to refrigerator and chill 6-8 hours. Yogurt will set as it cools.
Cooling: Allow milk to cool at room temperature. Do not cool using a water bath as the agar agar will begin to set. Give it an occasional whisk. The mixture may look clumpy (this is the agar agar setting). A good whisk will smooth it out again.
The Starter: Nut/seed milk yogurts are best made using a yogurt starter. Unlike animal-based milks, a scoop of yogurt with its live cultures may not be effective. Many natural food stores carry yogurt starters which contain skim cow's milk powder. So just be cautious when purchasing a starter or probiotic for use in culturing if you are dairy allergic or intolerant.
The Yogurt Maker: I prefer using a yogurt maker. I rest assured knowing that the yogurt is fermenting at a safe and consistent temperature. However, you may choose to ferment in any container, preferably glass, in any environment that is kept at a constant 105-110˚F (on a heating pad, in the oven, in a dehydrator, etc). Check out my post on Yogurt Makers and Essentials.
What is Agar-Agar? Agar-agar is a plant-based gelatin derived from seaweed. It helps set the yogurt and firm it up. I get consistent results with agar powder versus flakes or bars. Agar powder may be purchased in packets at Asian grocery stores, from larger natural grocery stores and from Amazon.
Trouble Shooting: If there are any hints of pink, gray or black on the surface of the yogurt, throw the batch out and start again. This suggests the equipment was not thoroughly sterilized, that the yogurt starter was “dead” and, that foreign “bad” bacteria colonized the batch, and/or that the milk was hotter than 110°F when the starter was added.