If you love the taste of yogurt, but can't tolerate dairy, this coconut milk yogurt recipe is a great alternative. It's gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, and if you use a vegetable-based gelatin, vegan. And it's much more cost-effective than buying single-serving yogurt cups.
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Making yogurt only requires getting the yogurt base — in this case, coconut milk and yogurt cultures — to the required temperature and then keeping it at a consistent temperature for the eight to 12 hours it takes for the cultures to do their thing. Yogurt makers are cheap and definitely worth the investment, as they cut down on the guesswork. However, you can make this recipe with nothing more than a large pot and a few glass Mason jars.
- 2 15-oz. cans organic coconut milk
- 1 packet gelatin (vegetable or animal based)
- 6-oz. container plain store-bought coconut milk yogurt or 1/4 tsp. dairy-free probiotic yogurt starter
- Medium-sized glass bowl (microwave safe)
- Medium-sized glass pitcher (microwave safe)
- Cooking thermometer
- Clean kitchen towels
- Yogurt maker or large pot with lid and two 1/2-quart Mason jars
Pour one can of coconut milk into a microwave-safe bowl. Pour the second can into a glass pitcher.
Sprinkle one packet of gelatin evenly over the milk in the bowl, and let it sit for a few minutes. Make sure the gelatin covers every inch of the top of the coconut milk.
Microwave the milk in the glass pitcher for approximately 30 to 45 seconds. Take it out to check the temperature. It should be 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If it has not yet reached the correct temperature, microwave it in 15-second intervals until it does. If the milk gets too hot, let it cool to 110 before mixing it with anything else.
Stir the coconut milk in the bowl until the gelatin dissolves. Then, pour most of the milk out of the glass pitcher into the bowl, and leave only a small amount — no more than 1/4 cup — in the pitcher.
Add one small container of plain store-bought coconut milk yogurt or 1/4 teaspoon nondairy probiotic starter to the heated coconut milk in the pitcher. Stir until the yogurt and milk are thoroughly mixed or until the probiotic starter dissolves. Add the mixture to the coconut milk in the glass bowl. Recheck the temperature and if it is not still at 110 degrees, place the bowl in the microwave and reheat it in 10-second increments.
Now that you have the properly mixed yogurt base at the correct temperature, you are ready to either pour it into a yogurt maker or Mason jars. If you're using a yogurt maker, follow the manufacturer's directions on using the machine and simply pour the yogurt base into the provided serving jars.
If you're using a pot and two Mason jars, pour the yogurt base into one of the jars and pour steaming hot water into the other. Place both jars inside your largest pot; make sure the pot is placed somewhere stable, where it won't be disturbed and will be able to maintain a consistent temperature. Surround the jars with clean kitchen towels you've warmed up in the dryer to help with the insulation. Put the lid on the pot.
Make a note of when you complete Step 6. Check back in eight to 12 hours to test the finished product. The yogurt is ready to enjoy when it has thickened to firmer consistency and a curd has formed. Immediately place the finished yogurt in the refrigerator for a few hours to firm it up and chill it.
If you decide to use a yogurt maker with a large container instead of small serving jars, your yogurt may take 12 to 15 hours.
If you don't own a microwave, simply heat the coconut milk in a pot on the stove and monitor the temperature closely with the thermometer.
Coconut milk doesn't need to be heated as hot as dairy to prepare it, so don't be concerned that other yogurt recipes seem to call for higher temperatures.