Vanilla Bean Coconut Yogurt

You might think I’m a little crazy but I’ve started making my own yogurt! And… I love it!!! Honestly, it is SO much more convenient to buy it but there are so many potentially harming added ingredients in most brands you’ll find at the store. Even my favorite brand has carrageen in it. What is that you ask? It’s become quite the controversy lately in almond, coconut and other products. It is added to some food as an emulsifer but it has properties that can harm intestinal lining for some or other dangerous side effects. If there’s a food with a gut harming ingredient – I steer clear. I used to eat a small carton of yogurt a day for the probiotic properties but I would frequently complain to my husband that I thought it made me feel a little “off”. Guess what? Homemade yogurt doesn’t have that effect on me. Basically, I’m over the store bought and will only make my own! I did purchase this inexpensive yogurt maker since I’m a little leery with my oven temp and the crockpot method but the maker is totally optional. Here’s a link to The Spunky Coconut’s recipe that doesn’t use a yogurt maker. I’ve tried almond and coconut so far – both plain. The almond recipe needs some work but the coconut yogurt was so simple! This recipe is for Vanilla yogurt but leave it out for plain flavor. Makes about 45 oz (or 7 small containers of yogurt).

Vanilla Bean Coconut Yogurt

5 1/2 cups coconut milk (about 3 cans of milk)*see note below*
1 Tbsp raw honey or maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract (leave out for plain version)
2 vanilla beans (leave out for plain version)
4+ probiotic capsules *see note below*
2 tsp agar powder (or about 1 Tbsp guar gum for thickener) – optional
1/4 cup water (for agar powder – optional)

  • In a large stockpot, combine coconut milk and honey. Bring to just boiling over low-medium heat. Once milk begins to boil, reduce heat to as low as possible and cook for about 8 minutes.
  • Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, combine agar powder and water, if using. Whisk until smooth and powder is dissolved. Stir into coconut¬†milk mixture.
  • Split open vanilla beans, lengthwise and scrape out seeds into milk. Add in vanilla extract.
  • Let the mixture cool until it reaches 115F.
  • Once it is to 115F, pour in capsules of probiotic powder and stir. Do not pour in the powder at a higher temperature or the bacteria could die.
  • Prepare according to yogurt maker instructions.
    • My yogurt maker came with glass jars. I filled the jars with milk mixture and placed (no lids) in the maker. I used the maker cover and turned the maker on.
    • I left my yogurt in the maker for about 18 hours to get a nice tangy yogurt. You can leave it in for 8-24 hours, depending on how potent you want the yogurt to be.
    • The yogurt needs to stay at a constant warm temperature – about 110-120F to allow the bacteria to grow.
  • Once yogurt has cultured, refrigerate about 6 hours or overnight before consuming to allow mixture to set. Store in fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Add desired flavorings, such as pureed fruit, after yogurt has cultured.

Cherry Coconut Yogurt

*Agar powder is used as a thickener and is optional. I’ve made this yogurt several times and each time I’ve received different results in regards to thickness. Separation can also occur with coconut milk. You’ll just need to stir it up

*For coconut milk, I used 3 cans of Native Forest brand – found here. You can also use homemade coconut milk. Here’s a recipe I love from Elana’s Pantry.*

*I used a relatively cheap probiotic from Now Foods – found here. I wanted my yogurt to have a potency of about 100 billion organisms. When looking for probiotics, make sure you check the ingredients to ensure they are dairy free, vegan and gluten free if necessary.

 

 

*Post includes affiliate links to the products I use. If you purchase from these links, it helps support this blog and my efforts in spreading healthy recipes across the web. These links add no extra cost to you – just helps me share products I love!*

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