Aside from the occasional ice cream, the one diary I miss eating is yogurt. I had been making my own cow’s milk yogurt for a while now. In fact, my recipe for home made yogurt was one of the first ones I posted when we started this blog last year. As I have mentioned previously, my kids are officially off dairy. Not to say that the occasional cheese on gluten-free pizza at a birthday party doesn’t happen, but dairy is not a part of their daily diet since we realized they were getting a rash from it. My daughter absolutely loves yogurt. It kills me to have to tell her no when she begs for some. She gets so sad that it breaks my heart, but I feel like a bad mom by deliberately giving her food that I know doesn’t agree with her just because I want to say yes. I bought her a vanilla coconut milk yogurt from Trader Joe’s to try out. She loved it. However, I didn’t love some of the ingredients and I certainly didn’t love that it is about $1.50 for a 6 ounce cup! I set out to make coconut milk yogurt. How hard could it be? I was already a pro a cow’s milk yogurt. Turns out it was pretty hard. I must have tried 5 different recipes and methods only to have yogurt tasting coconut milk. I literally cheered when I opened up the cover to my yogurt and saw the most beautiful, thickest yogurt I had ever seen. My best batch, back in the day, was still pretty watery although it tasted great. This recipe here is the fruit of my labor by trial and (lots of) error. I hope you enjoy it! Even my son, who isn’t a big yogurt eater, loved it.
10 g. yogurt starter culture (I use Yogourmet) or ¼ cup store-bought coconut yogurt
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. vanilla
Medium size pot
OR a thick bath towel, a glass jar(s) large enough to hold yogurt, & an electric oven with a light
OR a glass jar(s) large enough to hold yogurt & a cooler large enough to hold yogurt plus a water bath.
Pour coconut milk into pot & attach candy thermometer (mine has a clip so it attaches to the side of the pot.)
Heat coconut milk over low to medium heat, until it reaches 120° F, while stirring constantly with a wire whisk. (You do not want to burn your milk which can happen quickly.)
Once temperature is reached, remove from heat and slowly whisk in the gelatin & arrowroot powder. If you dump it in all at once it will form clumps and need to be fished out. When finished with the powders, mix in the honey & vanilla. Leave thermometer in. (Do not omit the honey in this recipe. The bacteria need the sugar in the honey to grow. Omitting the honey was one of my mistakes in the beginning.)
When the milk reduces to 115° F slowly whisk in yogurt starter culture. If you add the culture when the milk it too hot you will kill the culture (bacteria) and you will have ruined your batch.
For Yogotherm yogurt machine:
Fill plastic inner container of Yogotherm with boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Dump out water & pour in yogurt. Place into outer Yogotherm cooler.
Set it on counter and leave undisturbed to incubate for 14 hours. Be careful not to move or bump yogurt while it is fermenting. This will disrupt the process and ruin your batch.
Remove inner plastic container from outer cooler and refrigerate until cooled.
The oven method:
Fill sanitized jar(s) with yogurt and wrap tightly with the towel to block the light. Place in electric oven near light. Turn oven on and leave it on for about 1 minute. This is just long enough to heat up the coils. Leave light on and let yogurt incubate for 14 hours. Place candy thermometer in the oven to monitor the temperature. You want the oven to stay around 100°F. If you find that your oven is cooling down too much, turn it back on for a minute or so and then turn it off.
The water bath method:
Fill sanitized jar(s) with yogurt and place in cooler filled with water heated to 120°F. Place candy thermometer in water. You want the temperature in the cooler to stay around 100°F so use the smallest size cooler possible. If you notice that the temperature is dropping too low, empty some water out and replace it with hot water to bring the temperature back up.
I think the yogurt tastes fantastic just the way it is, but my kids like it with honey so I drizzle raw honey on it for them.
I have tried both the oven method and the water bath method when I was making cow’s milk yogurt. I had very little success. I remember being in my kitchen angry and disappointed that yet another batch of yogurt didn’t work and I wasted all that milk. My husband, Brent immediately told me to buy a machine. I felt defeated. The last thing I wanted was another kitchen appliance or tool. I spent a good amount of time researching which machine to buy. I decided on the Yogotherm for two reasons: 1. I liked that it made one big batch instead of a bunch of small jars, and 2. I liked that it required no electricity and was small enough to sit on the counter unnoticed. I bought mine at the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company’s website. Once I saw that they were a local company (South Deerfield, MA) I knew I would buy from them directly. I try to support local businesses whenever possible.
I hope you enjoy making your own yogurt and saving money in the process! Let me know if you have any questions.