Thick and Creamy Coconut Yoghurt
After going dairy free, I discovered coconut yoghurt in a small tub in the supermarket. I was so excited. It was thick and creamy and it satisfied my cravings for tangy, probiotic-rich yoghurt. But at around $13 for a 500g tub, it was becoming a costly craving. I also discovered that the store bought version uses Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as an alternative to sugar. Whilst it is unrefined sugar and accepted in the Paleo community, I would much rather use a natural sweetener in small amounts, than a sweetener produced using an industrialised process. You can read more about the potential side effects or Xylitol here. I believe the brand in question now use stevia in their products but since I discovered how to make my own coconut yoghurt I haven't turned back.
Making your own coconut yoghurt at home is simple and delicious and costs a fraction of buying it at the supermarket. The main benefit is that you know exactly what you're eating. I use AYAM full fat coconut cream for this recipe, so the total cost to make almost 1L is less than $8. I have tried using homemade coconut cream (made by blending shredded coconut and water), along with several brands of coconut cream, including a number of organic brands.
AYAM brand coconut cream is the only one that works, without fail, every single time. It's not organic, but AYAM were able to confirm via email:
We can also confirm that we do not use any preservatives or chemicals at any part of the processing of our coconut cream, milk or its light variants.
Their coconut cream does not contain any additives or preservatives. Some brands, even the organic ones, add guar gums, carrageenan, or other stabilisers. The lining of the cans are also BPA free.
Thick and Creamy Coconut Yoghurt
Preparation time: 1 minute; Cooking time: 10 minutes; Total time: 11 minutes + 2 hours cooling time + 6 hours setting time
2x 400g cans of AYAM coconut cream*
1 1/2 tsp grass fed gelatin or 1 tsp agar agar powder for vegan version
1 1/2 tbsp arrowroot flour
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp maple syrup
contents of 2 probiotic capsules**
Add coconut cream, coconut oil, gelatin or agar agar powder and arrowroot flour to bowl.
Cook at 100C for 10 mins/spd 5.
Allow to cool until temperature lights no longer light up (<37C). This takes approx. 2 hours at room temperature. Alternatively, you can allow to cool slightly and then transfer to the fridge to cool faster.
Sterilise a 1L glass jar or several smaller jars with boiling water and allow to dry.
Once the mixture is cooled, add the maple syrup (this gives the bacteria something to eat) and add the contents of the probiotics capsules. Stir to combine (10secs/spd 5).
Pour the mixture into the sterilised jars and place in dehydrator on 40C.
If you don't have a dehydrator you can use a yoghurt maker or heat the oven to approx. 37C and turn off, but leave the light on to maintain the temperature.
Allow to ferment undisturbed to desired taste. It should have a sour yoghurt smell. This can take between 12 - 24 hours.
Transfer the jars to the fridge to set for 6 hours.
Stir and enjoy.
Keeps for approx. 2 weeks in the fridge.
Serving suggestions: straight up; with fresh fruit; for breakfast with your favourite granola; salad dressing; topping for desserts in replacement of whipped cream; as a replacement for sour cream. Use it any way you would use dairy yoghurt.
Heat coconut cream, coconut oil, gelatin or agar agar powder and arrowroot flour in a saucepan over gentle heat until the arrowroot begins to thicken (approx. 10 - 15 minutes). Do not allow to boil.
Continue instructions as above.
* We have tried several brands of coconut cream, including a number of organic brands. AYAM brand coconut cream is the only one that works without fail, every single time. It's not organic but it doesn't contain any additives or preservatives (some brands, even the organic ones, add guar gums, carrageenan, or other stabilisers). The lining of the cans are also BPA free.
** We use Prodophilus by BioCeuiticals because we like the taste it gives the yoghurt but any probiotic containing lactobacilli and/or bifidobacteria strains will do.