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.
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
- Bring the coconut milk to ~125 degrees and remove from heat.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mix the paste with the remainder of the cooled coconut milk, honey and stir thoroughly.
- 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.
- Remove from oven and refrigerate.