Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Creamy, Tangy, Vegan, and Easy Coconut Milk Yogurt

Dear Turkey,

You need coconut
Milk and bacteria, but
No yogurt maker

Creamy, Tangy, Vegan, and Easy Coconut Milk Yogurt
(makes about a quart, adapted from minimalist baker)

- 2 cans coconut milk and/or cream. Use the full fat kind. It's worth experimenting with different brands to find the smoothest/least chunky ones. I used one can of milk and one of cream -- I think that 2 cans of cream might be a bit much, even for me. I also chose ones that have guar gum; it makes the yogurt a bit thicker but it's not required. There's plenty of discussion on the internet about how to use other thickeners like agar, but you don't have to thicken it at all. 
- Live active cultures. I used 4 capsules of this stuff, but any probiotic capsules with some strain of lactobacillus or its relatives should work (since there isn't even any lactose in coconut milk anyway). If you use probiotic tablets instead of capsules, you'll have to crush them first. Make sure your capsules don't contain PREbiotics! You can also use a scoop of regular yogurt from your fridge, assuming that the cultures are still alive. My anecdotal experience tells me that you will need to culture it longer and at a slightly higher temperature to get really good results from using yogurt as your starter. 

- Before you decide that this is too hard and technical: it's not! The hands-on time is less than 10 minutes, and you'll get way creamier, tangier, and cheaper vegan yogurt that you can find at the store. What if it goes rancid? You'll be able to tell...trust me...you're not going to make yourself sick with homemade yogurt. 
- Take a clean container with a lid (I used a quart jar), and empty your cans of milk into it (shake them well before you open them). I think it's worth it at this point to microwave the milk to get it to around 95-110 F; it will get things moving faster. 
- Open your capsules and dump them into the jar. The internet will tell you to never use metal utensils when making yogurt (it may disturb the live bacteria); since this isn't that hard to do, I followed that rule. Stir or agitate the jar until everything is mixed.
- Cover your jar with a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel and put the ring or a rubber band over it to hold it in place. You want air to be able to get in, but not bugs. 
- Let it sit for 24-48 hours in a warm place: you're shooting for between 78 and 100 F. You can always put it in your oven with the light on and the door closed. This isn't rocket science, but I moved my weather station next to my yogurt to observe the temperature. 
- You can stir (with a nonmetal spoon) and/or agitate (make sure you put the real lid of your jar on and not just a paper towel!) your yogurt every 8-12 hours, and also taste it and see how creamy it is. Mine was nice and tangy after 24 hours. 
- Before you decide that your yogurt is too thin and you want to strain it (which you totally can do: use 2 layers of cheesecloth over a colander and put a bowl underneath it just in case -- it may take a few hours and you can do it in the fridge), put the lid on the jar and put it in the fridge for at least 8 hours. The magic of coconut milk is that it will thicken a lot in the fridge. 
- This yogurt is awesome with some sweetener like maple syrup/fruit/pumpkin spice mix/whatever sweet things you want to add (the internet will tell you all about whether or not you want to put the sweetener in before/while you ferment -- I didn't just because this yogurt seems to work fine without sugar for the bacteria to eat, and I wanted it to be able to go sweet or savory), and it's also awesome plain on top of savory dishes or with herbs and/or veggies stirred in. 
- Store in the fridge and eat within 7 days. If you want, save some to use as a starter for your next batch.


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