Coconut milk yogurt – with or without a Thermomix6 min read

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I live with a yogurt addict!!

`It is A2 or Jersey yogurt though’, he says.

There’s definitely something about smooth, creamy foods that most of us enjoy in some form or another – cream, ice-cream, custard, and yogurt!!! Unfortunately, they tend to be dairy. And that’s a food that many of us paleo people either avoid totally, or at least aim to minimise our intake.

Last year I was introduced to coconut milk yogurt….which tastes absolutely amazing. But sooo expensive!!! Everything in me said, `I can make it much cheaper than that….and I’ll know exactly what is in it.’ So began my search for a coconut yogurt recipe……and the experiments with making it.

I found that there are quite a few coconut yogurt recipes around, many of which I have tried over the past six months. They include things like:

  • Add tapioca flour to thicken… Why add empty carbohydrates???? And it’s not particularly nice anyway.
  • Add sugar… Coconut milk doesn’t have the natural sugar content of dairy milk and they say it’s needed for the yogurt to set. Hmm, not sure about that one.
  • Use regular dairy yogurt as the starter… But dairy is what we’re trying to avoid here.
  • Heat the milk, cool the milk, and lots of other (sometimes complex) instructions or steps to take.
  • Add gelatin… Now that one makes some sense, providing you get the right gelatin.

I just need something quick and easy, that produces amazingly good coconut yogurt, and that doesn’t require me to buy more kitchen equipment.

I’ve made yogurt on a fairly regular basis for almost 40 years so have a pretty good idea of how it all works. Back in our farm days I used cow’s milk, then goat’s milk when we had goats, Later we settled for packet mixes from the supermarket (when we left the farm). But now….the quest is for a no-fail coconut milk yogurt – full of great probiotics.

So here’s what you need:

Equipment:coconut yogurt equipment

  • Something in which to heat the milk
  • A jar/pot in which to set the yogurt
  • Something to keep the yogurt warm while it sets

I use the Thermomix to heat and mix the milk, but you can do it in a saucepan on the stove. The Thermomix makes it easy to make sure that the milk is only ever at 37 degrees C. Just right for yogurt.

Then I use a jar to set and store the yogurt. I use a large Mason jar (750 ml), and it easily holds the 800 ml of yogurt. If you have a Thermomix the Thermo-server works really well to set the yogurt. I just prefer to set and store in the same container.

I use the flask part of an Easiyo yogurt making kit. I do this mainly because we already had it, but they are fairly cheap to buy from the supermarket or Kmart. Here’s where you may have to be creative. I’ve heard of people putting their jar of yogurt in an Esky accompanied by a hot water bottle and leaving overnight. You could pour the yogurt into a pre-warmed Thermos flask and leave till set. Many years ago I used to slide mine in beside the mattress of a waterbed – perfect temperature = perfect yogurt.

Ingredients

  • 2 x 400 ml cans coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon gelatin – I recommend Great Lakes Gelatin available online from GPA Wholefoods and Kehoe’s Kitchen  and
  • 1/2 teaspoon probiotic yogurt starter (non-dairy based). I get this online from Country Brewer. This is a nice mild flavoured starter that is dairy free and gluten free.

Instructions – Thermomixgreat lakes gelatin

  1. Put the butterfly into the Thermomix bowl and make sure it’s locked in place.
  2. Heat the coconut milk – 5 minutes, 37 degrees, speed 3
  3. Then stop and add the gelatin and probiotic starter – making sure it is not caught on the butterfly, but is on the milk
  4. Mix  for 10 minutes, at 37 degrees, speed 3  to ensure that the gelatin is fully dissolved
  5. Pour some hot water into the jar to warm the glass before putting the yogurt into it (If using Thermo-server do the same with it)
  6. Empty the water out and pour the yogurt into the jar (or Thermo-server)
  7. If using the Thermo-server, put the lid on it, wrap it in a towel and set aside.
  8. If using the Easiyo yogurt maker, fill the yogurt maker flask up to the bottom of the red insert with boiling water. You don’t want the hot water to actually touch the glass jar as it may cause it to become too hot and kill off the probiotics.
  9. Leave to set for about 4-6 hours until the yogurt is set. Leave for 12 hours to let probiotics grow in number.
  10. When set, put it in the fridge and allow to get cold through. The yogurt will become thicker as it gets cold.

Instructions (without a Thermomix)

  1. Put the coconut milk into a saucepan and heat gently until about body temperature (37 degree). I recommend yo use a thermometer to make sure you don’t overheat the milk.
  2. Stir in the gelatin and starter. Continue to stir at 37 degrees for a few minutes to make sure that the gelatin is fully dissolved.
  3. Pour some hot water into the jar to warm the glass before putting the yogurt into it.
  4. Pour out the water and put the yogurt into jar
  5. If using the Easiyo yogurt maker, fill the yogurt maker flask up to the bottom of the red insert with boiling water. You don’t want the hot water to actually touch the glass jar as it may cause it to become too hot and kill off the probiotics.
  6.  Leave to set for about 4-6 hours until yogurt is set
  7. When set. put it in  he fridge and allow to get cold through.The yogurt will become thicker as it gets cold.

The yogurt may separate a little as it gets cold. This is quite normal – just give a little stir or shake to mix through again.

Verdict: LOVE it!!!!

  • I love that this coconut yogurt has no added sugar (it has it’s own natural sweetness).
  • I love that the two cans of coconut milk contains a total of approx. 50 mls of wonderful coconut oil.
  • I love the cost. Even though the initial purchase of the gelatin (about $42 for large can) and starter ($7.50) may seem a lot, the overall cost of the yogurt works out to be less than half the price of what we buy in the shops.

Now it’s your turn to begin making this delicious paleo food and enjoying it.

44 comments

  1. Thanks for posting this. I LOVE coconut products and discovered CoYo yogurt recently. It’s very tasty but I found it so expensive. I just knew that someone else would have done the hard work before me and voila – here you are!!

    I’ll pass it on

    1. You’re welcome Jude. It took a while to get this one modified so that it isn’t too complicated. We love it!!!!

      Judith

      1. Hi,

        Just needing some help and advice. I purchased everything you recommended and tried my first batch last night. It’s been in yogurt maker for 10 hours. I live in warm sunny Brisbane so warmth is there. My milk was seperated. Water at bottom and milk at top. Is this right? What do I do? I have shakes it and it’s just like coconut milk. What went wrong or will it thicken in fridge. Thanks Chrisitne

      2. Hi Christine,
        It sounds as though you have done everything correctly. But remember, making yogurt is an art not a science. You are working with bacteria and there will be times when you do everything right and it just turns out all wrong. Pity it’s on the first try though.

        That said, you will sometimes get a little bit of separation – with about 1/2 to 1cm of lighter liquid at the bottom of the jar. I just give this a shake and it mixes in quite nicely.

        The yogurt should be the consistency of thinnish yogurt when it first comes out of the yogurt maker, and will thicken in more in the fridge. I’d say see how yours goes in the fridge.

        Please let me know how you go with it. If it still doesn’t work on your next go, let me know and we can do some more trouble shooting.

        Judith

        1. Hi Judith,
          Thanks so much for the advice. I went out today and bought the exact coconut milk you have pictured and made another batch. It came out a lot better with the same amount of separation you described and its thicker already straight out of the yogurt making container.
          Have placed lovingly in the fridge, and am looking forward to seeing what I have once home again after work. I love your site and thank you for giving such great ideas for those of us who have dietary limitations. Thank you

  2. Hi Judith,
    I am about to make some coconut yogurt and I was wondering if you can get whey from coconut yogurt and can you make coconut cheese?
    I love all the information on this site it’s fantastic.
    Cheers Glenda

    1. Hi Glenda,

      I don’t have an answer for this one. I don’t imagine that you would as the structure of coconut milk is quite different to dairy milk. I’ll have to try it when I get home though – just to check my theory.

      Thanks for the positive feedback too.

      Judith

  3. Hi

    Thank you for your wonderful information. I was wondering if it was possible to substitute the coconut milk with rice milk as I can’t have coconut due to it being high salycilates. Thank you

    1. Hi Pammy,
      I have to say that I don’t know the answer to your question. I’ve certainly not tried it as I am trying to reduce carbs in my diet and rice milk is very high in carbs. I wonder about whether it would have enough fat in it to make a creamy yogurt – though the gelatin would help that. I will ask on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/livingforlife.me) and see if anyone of our readers has some input for you.
      Bottom line – I suggest that you give it a try. I always find that the best way. let me know how you go with it.

      Regards,
      Judith

  4. Hi

    This is a great recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Just a couple of questions. I have some coyo here, just wondering how much I would use as a starter? Also, if I have a thermoserver, and use that to set the yoghurt, does that eliminate the need for the easyo or a waterbed or esky or similar?! May be silly questions but I just want to get this right!

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Danielle.

      I’ve not made this using Coyo as a starter, but I would think that you would use about 1/4 cup. I wanted to make my yogurt from a fresh starter – one that I know about the bacteria content. Because of the lack of sugar content in coconut milk you can’t keep on using some of the previous batch to start a new one. You need to start from scratch with a starter culture every two or three times. (All of that will depend on the conditions.)

      If you’ve got a Thermoserver then you don’t need any of the other things. I find that the thermoserver works really well, though I like to be able to use it for other things. I already had the Easi-yo so it was handy just to use it.

      Also, since writing up the blog post I have discovered that, whilst the yogurt will culture in the 4 to 6 hours, there is more growth of the beneficial probiotics if you leave it for longer. We are now leaving ours to culture for about 12 hours. It’s a little bit more `tarty’ in taste, but still that creamy, yummy taste as well. Yogurt making is definitely an art, not just a recipe!!!

      I’d love to hear how you go.

      Regards,
      Judith

  5. Hi, I am just giving this a go 🙂 I have left the yogurt in my thermosever for 6 hours and have just put it in a container to set in the fridge. The consistency is like thick coconut milk? I have a feeling it is not going to turn out right! Not sure what if anything I have done wrong? I am off to do a nightshift now so will check in the morning, hoping for a nice surprise!! Thanks for the recipe x

      1. Oh dear. Sorry to hear that Tracy. As I said though, yogurt making is an art, not a science. There are so many variables that could affect the outcomes. Here are some of my thoughts:
        * the consistency should be like a nice creamy yogurt – but not thick and `lumpy’
        * I wonder if where you left it was too cold. When using the Thermoserver I always put hot water in it to warm it before I pour the yogurt in. If it’s cold where you are, it may help to wrap it in a towel.
        * Did you remember to put some gelatin into it?
        * Was the starter fresh and stored correctly? The one I get must be stored in the fridge to keep it fresh.

        Bottom line: drink that mixture – you’ll still get the benefit of the probiotics – and try again.

        Hope you have success soon.

        Judith

    1. That’s a great question Steve. It never lasts long enough for us to test that. LOL. I expect that, just like the coconut milk, it will keep for quite a few days in the fridge.

      Judith

  6. Hi Thankyou for your great tips. My first batch of coconut yogurt was a big fail. I made it based on instructions from the yogurt culture supplier and they were a bit vague!. I used a combination of coconut and almond milk and it did not set. My son is allergic to cows milk and soy so we cant use the easiyo satchets anymore. To make this vegetarian and free of sulphites I have used pure pectin instead of gelatin. Will let you know how we go!

    1. Hi Christina,

      I’ve now tried making yogurt with almond milk – sadly, with no success. I have no idea how pectin would work either, but will be very interested to know. I did see that earlier this year, Queen released a vegetarian gelatine. I haven’t checked int eh supermarket though. Here’s a link to their info: http://www.beyondthesquare.com.au/media_files/File-54.FINAL.pdf?PHPSESSID=edd096a17d775246ed0a876e449a6f77

      Regards,
      Judith

  7. Hi Judith,

    I’m looking forward to trying your coconut yogurt recipe. It sounds amazing. Just a quick question. Can you use some of your previous batch as the starter for the next batch? If so how many times would that work before you need to start again with new probiotic yogurt starter? Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Fiona,

      Sorry I missed your comment/question last week. That’s what holidays with grand-children does to me!! LOL.

      I have tried to use some yogurt from a previous batch as a starter for the next one…..with very little success. I don’t think that the coconut milk has enough natural sugars to carry over…??? Anyway, I’ve been happy to use a fresh starter each time. It costs so little that it’s not an issue.

      Hope you’re enjoying the yogurt.

      Judith

  8. Judith,
    Good news. It worked perfectly!! I now have thick beautiful yogurt. I’m so happy as now the one thing I missed most is back in my daily food. Thank you so much. yeah I found the art

  9. Hi LivingForLife girls,
    Just wanted to say thanks a million for this recipe! I made it with great success & I reckon it tastes even better than CoYo! So creamy – yum!!
    Thanks again & keep up the great work!

  10. I am determined to make creamy coconut yogurt. Thank you for all your guidance.
    I have had 2 unsuccessful attempts, I just drink the yogurt, and will keep trying.

    I wrote to CulturesForHealth and they mentioned warming the gelatin to 45 degrees. How do I do this with TM? Here are their instructions and direct response to my email:

    http://www.culturesforhealth.com/dairy-free-yogurt-recipe

    “How is your yogurt after 24-48 hours in the fridge? Gelatin needs to be warmed to 40-45 degrees C and then it needs to be chilled after culturing in order to set fully.

    So it sounds like heating your milk and gelatin a bit higher would help. There is also a possibility that you have too much culture. The vegan yogurt starter is designed to culture 4-8 cups of milk. Too much bacteria can interfere with culturing. Increasing the amounts to 4 cans of milk and 1 tablespoon of yogurt, along with increasing the temperature a bit on that first step, should give you great results!”

    1. Hi Denise,

      How are you going with that yogurt?

      I’ve not had any problem with the gelatine on 37° and I’m not sure how you would get it to exactly 45° in the Thermie. Maybe just put it on 50° for a minute…so that it doesn’t get to that.

      If you’re using the culture that I use, the measurements in the recipe are correct. The Cultures for Health people may be referring to an American culture. e.g. one they sell.

      Remember, making anything that is fermented (including yogurt) is an art, not a science. Your conditions may vary to one or anyone else. You will get it!!!

      Judith

  11. Hi there, I tried this last night and followed the directions, using my oven on dehydrate setting of 110 Farenheit (in US)) and this morning it smelled wonderful when I opened and tasted fine, but it has separated. I did use probiotics supplements, but was careful to check they were the same ones recommended for yogurt and they were refrigerated. I added more, according to my research and put it back in the warmer, but it is separating again. So my question all you yogurt pros…does that mean my culture was dead, or something else?

    1. Hi Karen. It sounds as though you have done all the right things and I would think that your culture is working fine. I’ve found that this yogurt does sometimes separate a bit, even though it has set properly. I just give it a good stir and put it in the fridge.

      Remember, this is an art not a science. Though I sometimes feel as though I have a bunch of science experiments happening when making cultured foods. LOL.

  12. I am all set to make this yoghurt (I’ve got all the ingredients) and so looking forward to the finished results – I love Coyo, but hate the price tag!! But I have a query – in step 9. for TMX the recipe says ‘Leave to set for about 4-6 hours until the yogurt is set. Leave for 12 hours to let probiotics’. Does that mean to leave it warm for 4-6 hours and then leave it in the fridge for 12 hours before using? I’ve read through all the comments, but nobody else seems to have had this query – obiously I’m a bit ‘finicky’! Thanks.

    1. It didn’t work!! I didn’t use the same brand of coconut milk as you use – I used Honest to Goodness organic coconut milk (it doesn’t have gums or thickeners), so maybe that was the problem?!? The finished product just looked like coconut milk – watery with a layer of solid coconut cream on the top, and that was after sitting in the Easiyo for 12 hours.
      Never mind, I’ll use this batch in smoothies and try again with a different brand of coconut milk. Is the TCC coconut milk really white with the whole can the same consistency or does it separate into water & cream? Thanks.

      1. Hi again Jenny. How did you goo with the TCC brand of coconut milk? It is quite white, and as with most coconut milk can separate to thick cream on top…especially if it’s in the fridge. But keeping it at room temperature and giving it a good shake or stir will usually have it at the same consistency throughout.

        I can’t really tell why your yogurt would not have worked. There are so many variables to consider. I’d suggest you don’t give up. Have a few goes at it.

    2. Hi Jenny. You’re not being too finicky – you’ve picked up an error. Thank you. That should read `Leave for 12 hours to let the probiotics grow in numbers.’ It’s not necessary to leave it, but the longer you leave it the greater the probiotic benefit.

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    1. Hi Kristy,

      I am unsure as I do not have the TM5. I think as long as the temperatures are correct and is basically the same….then its worth a try. – Sharon

  14. Hi Judith
    I’ve just tried you recipe and the mixture has not thickened after being on the bench in a Thermo flask and wrapped in a towel for the recommended time. When putting it in the fridge I see it’s already starting to separate and is watery at the bottom of the glass container. I have used coconut milk without any gum or thickeners as I’m on a strict diet for SIBO gut issues and can’t have any thickeners. Have you tried making this yoghurt without thickeners or are you just using the brand shown which appears to have a thickener? I wonder whether adding more gelatin would solve the problem……? Cheers Christa

    1. Hi Christa,
      I’m presuming that the ‘gum or thickeners’ that you have left out are the “Probiotic Yoghurt Culture’? This would account for the yohgurt not thickening. The only thing in the culture that maybe a problem for you is the maltose. With it being a sugar it may feed the SIBO instead.

      However, having said that, the maltose is what the bacteria need to feed off to grow and help thicken the yohgurt. So there would be little to none left after the process was completed. Especially since there is no lactose in the coconut milk and that is what the bacteria would further eat to help it grow and thicken. With there being no lactose that is why we add the gelatin in. To give it a thicker consistency.

      You could use more gelatin however it would be a case of trial and error. You wouldn’t want to add too much other wise you would have a massive ‘Gummy’ and too little it would continue to be runny. I’d love to know what you think and what you end up doing. – Sharon

  15. Hi, is it possible to use probiotic tablets as a starter? If so, how many would you recommend? Can you have too much?

    1. Hi Krystal,

      I have never used a probiotic tablet as a starter so Im not 100% sure if it can be done or not. I would use the same bacteria as what is shown on the packet in the picture.
      Regarding the quantities…again I am unsure. It would depend on the strength and qualitiy of the tablet that you are using. To get it close to this receipe you would have to have similiar quantities of bacteria. However, when you are looking at how much bacteria is in the tablet. You are looking for no less than 10 million CFU’s.

      I hope that helps a bit. – Sharon

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