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October 15, 2008

RECIPE: Coconut Milk Yogurt (from canned milk)

As promised in the Home-Made Yogurt post, today I'm writing about Coconut Milk Yogurt.

A kefir or yogurt can be made with fresh young coconut juice, blended young Thai coconut meat, or even dried coconut, but this particular recipe is for canned coconut milk and is yogurt-culture based. We'll start our cultured coconut milk discussion with canned coconut milk yogurt since it's easy, and the canned milk is readily available. Then, maybe later we'll go pro with a fresh coconut recipe and slap a kefir on yo ass and shit. (Sorry Mom, I just signed up for this and, well, those words just slipped out.)

Coconut milk, by the way, is not the thin liquid found inside the coconut itself; that's called coconut water. Coconut milk is a product made by steeping equal parts shredded coconut meat and warm water. The meat is pressed or mashed to release as much liquid as possible, the mixture is strained, and the result is coconut milk.

Coconutmilknaturalvalue I only have experience with one brand of coconut milk—Natural Value, the non-organic and full fat version made from Thai coconuts. There are a few reasons why I use the non-organic and full-fat version...

Non-organic—The organic version has guar gum, a thickening agent. Guar gum makes the milk taste yucky and creates homogenity so that you don't get the separation between the cream and the lighter coconut milk. It's unfortunate that they add guar gum in the organic version.

Full Fat—I don't recommend "lite" coconut milk. You're paying mostly for water and won't get enough of the fat, which is where you'll find the most flavor and nutrition.

No Preservatives—Natural Value Coconut Milk does not contain the preservative, sodium metabisulfite like the Chaokoh* or Mae Ploy brands do, which is unfortunate because Chaokoh was highly rated by the Cooks Illustrated testers as being the creamiest, tastiest and lowest in sugar and Mae Ploy is prized by Thai chefs as well.

Coconut Milk Yogurt is a terrific substitute for dairy-based yogurt and is incredibly delicious and probiotic-rich. As made below, it's a little thinner than commercial yogurt, but it has no preservatives or thickeners. Try it with fruit, cereal and in soups and curries. (And by the way, If you're afraid of the fat in coconut milk, read I'm Cukoo for Coconuts.)

Ok, enough ado, here's the recipe from CoconutLover#1 (me):

Coconut Milk Yogurt

3 14-ounce cans coconut milk

1/4 cup good quality commercial plain yogurt (or previous home made batch)

1-2 tablespoons honey

Candy thermometer

  1. Bring the coconut milk to ~125 degrees and remove from heat.
  2. Cover and cool to about 110 degrees. It is very important that you allow the temperature to drop so as not to kill the bacterial culture you are now ready to introduce.
  3. Remove about one-half cup cooled coconut milk and make a paste with one quarter cup of good quality commercial yogurt. The commercial yogurt you use should be unflavored and unsweetened. You could use a starter but why spend the extra bucks? Commercial yogurt works fine. You can use your home made yogurt as a starter for your next batch.
  4. Mix the paste with the remainder of the cooled coconut milk, honey and stir thoroughly.
  5. Pour milk into any appropriately sized shallow glass, enamel or stainless steel container (I use a Le Creuset pot), cover and let stand for 24 hours at 100-110 degrees up to a maximum of 29 hours. To keep the correct temperature for the culture, I use a 60 watt bulb in my oven and leave the light on. No other heat is needed. Remember, too high a temperature will kill the bacterial culture; too low of a temperature will prevent the activation of bacterial enzymes.
  6. Remove from oven and refrigerate.

Comments

Sounds tasty! After my batch of raw milk yogurt finishes, I'm going to try this :)

Ah! Thank you so much for this recipe! We are dairy/soy free, and I've been searching in vain for a coconut milk yogurt recipe. I'm going to try this out tomorrow :)

Thank you, thank you for the coconut milk suggestion. I cannot find any locally in D.C. that does not have guar gum or nasty preservatives in it! I know I could make it myself, but I confess that I make enough other thigns myself that the thought of adding one more thing just isn't attractive right now! I stumbled upon your blog doing a search for cocnut custard and I am grateful!

Carla, where do you buy this brand of coconut milk? I have not seen it at Whole Foods.

Cheeseslave, I get it at Rainbow market here in SF. I'm not sure where you would find it in LA. Find the company's website and see if they have a retailer listing. It really is good.

once you find it, let me know so i can announce it.
~carla

I found the Chaokah brand as a coconut milk powder at, of all places, Food 4 Less. No preservatives, except it has a bit of milk product added. Says it is equal to 1 whole coconut.

No one in Portland, OR is carrying the Natural Value non-organic, so I am going to try the regular. My first batch was barely Kefir, but I had lost this link and didn't add the honey to feed the bacteria, so I am trying again!

I have been making my own cow milk yogurt for 2 years, but need to drop dairy from my diet. Thanks for the info, I am very excited about this.

I found the Chaokah brand as a coconut milk powder at, of all places, Food 4 Less. No preservatives, except it has a bit of milk product added. Says it is equal to 1 whole coconut.

No one in Portland, OR is carrying the Natural Value non-organic, so I am going to try the regular. My first batch was barely Kefir, but I had lost this link and didn't add the honey to feed the bacteria, so I am trying again!

I have been making my own cow milk yogurt for 2 years, but need to drop dairy from my diet. Thanks for the info, I am very excited about this.

I found the Chaokah brand as a coconut milk powder at, of all places, Food 4 Less. No preservatives, except it has a bit of milk product added. Says it is equal to 1 whole coconut.

No one in Portland, OR is carrying the Natural Value non-organic, so I am going to try the regular. My first batch was barely Kefir, but I had lost this link and didn't add the honey to feed the bacteria, so I am trying again!

I have been making my own cow milk yogurt for 2 years, but need to drop dairy from my diet. Thanks for the info, I am very excited about this.

Do you know of a way to make this without using regular yogurt? My son loves eating coconut milk yogurt from the store, but it is $2 a cup!!! I would love to make it at home, but he is allergic to milk.

Any ideas?

Niki, instead of yogurt you can use a yogurt starter like GI Prostart by GI ProHealth.

Carla~ I am sorry about the multiple posts, I don't know how that happened!

I tried to make coconut yogurt from the powder I mentioned, used 2 pkg. of powder in a quart of water. I just got Kefir, it did not thicken up the whole quart. I cultured 12 hours, which is what the GI Prostart recommends (using that for starter).

I simply cannot afford to make coconut yogurt using 3 cans of milk, except to an occasional treat. However, my cow's milk yogurt is not bothering my tummy now that I am using the GI Prostart and culturing a full 24 hours. I can make excellent organic yogurt for $1.60 a quart, which is hard to beat!

Thanks for the recommendation to GI Prohealth, I am so pleased!

Tay, yes, culturing for a whole 24 hours makes a big difference. So glad that worked for you! Supposedly the lactose is consumed by the bacteria (not you!) and the casein is denatured in such a way that it becomes easier to digest.


Is there any reason I can't use coconut milk yogurt purchased from the store to be the starter for more coconut milk yogurt per your recipe? Thanks.

Babett, yes, you can use existing coconut milk yogurt as the starter. as long as the culture in it is still thriving.

I'm about to try your coconut milk yogurt recipe and wonder... do you think it is okay if I use agave nectar instead of the honey? Is it to feed the bacteria or to add some sweetness?

Also wondered if I could link your recipe to my food website, all rights to you of course.
Thanks!
Jen

thank for your recipe.
Actually we made a yogurt using your recipe.I just have one question i think our yogurt is not as thick of the usual yogurt what can i use in order to have the right thickness of my yogurt?

Apple,
You can strain the yogurt with cheesecloth to get the extra liquid out.

carla

Great post!
Is the honey for taste, or does it add to the process of making the coconut yogurt? I would rather avoid any extra sugars.

Thanks.

Darnit, honey
Is it necessary for the consistency or is it just to taste? If I made the yogurt without honey do you think it would be ok?

I'm vegan, and I also don't just want to add all that sugar in there. `

Thanks so much.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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