I avoid dairy due to a casein sensitivity and because I don’t think humans should consume it in adulthood. As we age, our production of lactase enzyme decreases, making dairy increasingly difficult to digest. The exception is fermented dairy, preferably organic kefir, which is an amazing source of gut healing probiotics. Some people with dairy sensitivities can tolerate small amounts of fermented dairy, but I am unfortunately not one of them, and I sure do miss thick and tangy yogurt.
I picked up one of the So Delicious coconut milk yogurts at the store the other day and was shocked to see that (among the unsavory thickeners and emulsifier additives) an 8 oz container had over 20 grams of sugar! Thats about 5 teaspoons of sugar. No thanks.
I decided to take on the task myself and have perfected a coconut milk yogurt that is thick, creamy, delicious, and remarkably similar to cow yogurt with just a trace amount of sweetener in the form of raw honey (which you could exclude). Coconut milk yogurt is remarkably easy to make in just 24 hours, AND I added gelatin to thicken it and give it a little protein. Gelatin has amazing gut healing properties. Win-win-win. The probiotics AND gelatin make this homemade coconut milk yogurt a gut healing superfood.
How to Make Homemade Coconut Milk Yogurt
- 2 cans coconut milk
- 1-2 tsp grass fed gelatin (see notes, below)
- 1 tsp raw honey (optional but also enhances fermentation)
- 1 tsp powdered probiotics (or you can just break open 1-2 capsules). I use this powdered probiotic for ease.
- 2 16oz Ball jars
WHAT TO DO:
First off, chill your 2 cans of coconut milk in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours. You want the cream to separate and rise to the top, leaving the water behind (dump or use in a smoothie). After they’ve chilled, open the cans and carefully scrape off the hardened coconut cream into a medium-sized saucepan on the stove.
Heat the coconut cream carefully over medium-low heat, whisking constantly to get rid of the lumps. When it’s warm and uniform, whisk in the 1-2 teaspoons of gelatin and keep whisking to make sure no lumps form. You don’t want lumpy yogurt! Then whisk in 1 tsp of honey (see notes, below). Remove from heat and let it cool.
Once cooled, whisk in 1 tsp of probiotic powder and mix thoroughly. Don’t do this if the coconut milk is hot, or the heat will kill the probiotic.
Transfer to jars. I used 2 Ball jars. It will grow a bit as it ferments. Screw on the lids, then transfer to a cold oven with only the pilot light on. This will incubate the yogurt enough to ferment but not hot enough to kill the beneficial bacteria. You basically want it to incubate at 100-110 degrees.
Leave it in there undisturbed for 24 hours. This will yield a nice tangy yogurt.
It will also be much thinner and more watery than when you started. Shake it up and put it in the fridge to set. I have also added 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract or almond extract at this stage which makes the final product extra delicious.
Let it thicken for about 2 hours. It will be pretty thick and dense, which is what I prefer. Stir. You can whip it with a hand blender and it will turn really smooth and creamy, like this.
It’s ready to eat! Enjoy. This makes a little over 2 cups of yogurt.
- I like a very thick yogurt. If you wanted yours on the thinner side, you can add just 1 tsp of gelatin or leave it out altogether, which will yield you a more kefir-consistency yogurt.
- You can leave out the honey or increase it, depending on your desire for sweetness. This is perfect in my opinion, but my taste testers declared it a bit “tangy” for their taste and said it could benefit from more honey. You could also just use stevia.
- I often add vanilla or almond extract after I shake it and refrigerate it. So delicious.
- Use this exactly how you’d use regular yogurt! It’s great with fruit, in smoothies, for a snack with some cinnamon, or atop grain free breakfast porridges.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.