Coconut yogurt was something that took me FOREVER to master. I was using Minimalist Baker’s recipe to start out with, but I could never get it right. It would always end up too thin, and the flavor of the canned coconut milk tasted kind of “tinny” to me. Then one of you lovely readers told me about Miyoko’s recipe for vegan soy yogurt- she blends with cashews for thickness, creaminess and depth of flavor. I did that with my coconut milk and OMG! 100% success and perfection. I have tried this with Native Forest, Field Day, 365 Organics, and Thai Kitchen brands of canned coconut milk with great results, as well as homemade thick coconut milk from both dried coconut and fresh mature coconut. All the different brands yield slightly different results, so experiment to find which is your favorite. Check out my instagram for a whole story highlights reel showing the variety! For some reason the 365 Organic brand from Whole Foods sets up super thick, so I think that’s your best bet if you don’t want to use cashews, or using a canned coconut “cream” instead of the coconut “milk”.
I use this coconut yogurt mainly for burcha breakfasts, kids snacks, and easy crema/sour cream. Simply whisk some yogurt with a little lime zest, salt, and optional garlic with enough water to thin to your desired consistency. Add a little cucumber, garlic and dill for a great tzatziki. This makes the perfect dollop for curries, mujaradda, grain bowls, pureed soups, enchiladas, beans, tacos, you name it. The kids enjoy a scoop with homemade chia jam and fresh fruit + sprouted crunchy buckwheat.
the yogurt with fruit and crunchy seeds
The most important thing about this recipe is using the highest quality probiotics you can afford. If you already have store bought live culture yogurt in your fridge, you can also use a few tablespoons of that to start it instead of probiotics. What I’ve been doing to prolong my probiotics is saving a few tablespoons of my last batch to culture my new batch. I used this 90 billion count probiotic from a friend who kindly shared a few capsules from her bottle for me to try. I’ve made about 5 subsequent batches now from the resulting original yogurt, which is about as many as you can get from it before you need to start with a new batch adding fresh probiotics. I’ll probably buy a different one next, but stick within the 90 billion + count. Healthforce has a good looking one in glass with a metal cap.
The first time I tried with a lower count probiotic from my store and it did not work, but I tried again with extra capsules and it was good, but not as good as the 90 billion count. Sometimes stores also sell non dairy yogurt starters, and you can use that, too. If, for some reason, yours doesn’t set up properlyand is thin, don’t toss- save to add to smoothies, freeze in ice cubes to use later, or drink it!
simple coconut yogurt
1 can of coconut milk OR 1.75 cups fresh homemade thick coconut milk
1/4 cup cashew pieces, soaked in hot water for a few hours- if you have a vita mix you can just soak about 15 minutes
2 high quality probiotic capsules
Blend the coconut milk and the drained, soaked cashews in a blender until totally smooth. The milk should get a little warm from this process. Make sure it is not too hot or it will kill the probiotics. Empty the probiotic capsules into the blender (just the powder inside) and blend for a second or two just to combine.
Pour into a clean jar, making sure to leave at least 2 inches of space in case of expansion. Cover with a clean cloth napkin or kitchen towel and secure with a rubber band.
plain on the left and turmeric chili on the right
Leave out on the counter, away from direct light, in a preferably warmer place in the house- this will help it culture best. After 24 hours, check the taste and texture. My husband and kids prefers it at this stage, its mild and lightly tangy, like a regular store yogurt. If you like how it tastes now, simply put a lid on it and refrigerate! It will thicken more as it cools. I like it with a little more tang, so I let mine culture another 24 hours, which results in a sour, slightly funky taste which I really like. You can also do 36 or anywhere in between!
This will keep in the fridge about 2 weeks.
Et voila, homemade creamy coconut milk yogurt. I haven’t tried with almond milk or soy milk, but let me know if you do! I think it should still work but may not be as thick.