Probiotic Coconut Yogurt

Lisa Ganora, CSCH Director

If you love live-culture yogurt, rich in beneficial probiotics, but would like to make it dairy-free and seriously affordable, try this simple recipe. Coconut yogurt is every bit as creamy and delicious as the dairy version, and perfect for lactose-intolerant, casein-intolerant, and vegan folks! I like to add berries and pre-soaked Chia seeds to the finished product for a delicious pudding-like treat; or use it in your smoothies instead of regular yogurt.

A couple of months ago I wrote this about the Fermented Purple Pro veggie recipe, but it applies equally to this creamy coconut yogurt: We are learning more every day about how a healthy microbial ecology in the GI system is important for nearly every aspect of health, from improving digestion, to healthy weight maintenance, to cooling chronic inflammation, to building immunity and even for helping with mood and brain health.

It’s super easy to make Coconut yogurt at home with a few common kitchen tools. Using the recipe below, you can add another vigorous probiotic source to your daily health routine.

You’ll need:

  • Kitchen equipment under #2 below
  • Granulated probiotics (I like to use the HLC Synbiotic Intensive product from Pharmax) – but you can use any live granules that you like. If you don’t have granules, open probiotic capsules and sprinkle the contents out). I suppose a liquid probiotic source could work as well, but I haven’t tried it.
  • 2 cans of full-fat organic Coconut milk (I like Native Forest Classic)
  • Lukewarm water bath: a pot of warm water (or a crock-pot used as a water bath) or … something to keep the yogurt at about body temperature. This will still work even if you don’t have so much warmth … it will just take a day or two longer, and the result may be less creamy.

To make:

(takes about 30 minutes including sanitizing, creating & cleanup)

  • The key to success is sanitation: be paranoid about germs and you’ll avoid contaminating your lovely yogurt with random bacteria, mold, etc.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands and the following things with natural dish soap and a clean scrubby. Rinse well, then lay them out on clean paper towels:
    • Half-gallon wide-mouth Mason jar and its two-part metal lid
    • Can opener
    • Whisk or slotted spoon
    • Metal tablespoon (for digging the Coconut milk out of the can)
    • Scissors (to open probiotic packet)
  • To the clean Mason jar, add 2 cans of Coconut milk (wash those cans too!)
  • Stir the Coconut milk in the jar with your whisk or slotted spoon until the creamy and watery parts are completely blended
  • Slowly sprinkle in 1 rounded Tbsp (or half a package of HLC) of granulated probiotic organisms
    • Keep stirring as you do this so that the granules don’t clump up
  • Tighten the lid and shake the heck out of it for a full minute to mix the granules and the Coconut milk thoroughly
  • Loosen the lid just a tad so that the carbon dioxide can escape as the yogurt ferments, but not so much that schmutz can get in; if your ferment gets super excited, it may fizz out of the top a little
  • Set the jar in a lukewarm water bath – these organisms love human body temperature, so as close to that as you can get … not too hot, or you’ll kill them
  • Will be ready in a couple of days. You’ll know when you smell the tart, fizzy yogurt-like aroma
  • Often, you’ll get a thick, creamy consistency, but sometimes it ends up more like kefir; both are delicious

When your Coconut yogurt is ready, pour it out of the big jar and into a sanitized quart-size Mason jar for daily use (keep this in the refrigerator).

Since the yogurt you just made is teeming with live probiotic organisms, you can use it as a starter for the next batch, without the need for more probiotic granules. Leave about an ounce of fluid in the bottom of the big jar, and use this to start another batch right in the jar. This way you keep the big jar clean to use as a fermenter, and you can start quite a few batches just by saving some of each batch as starter. Every time you open this jar, carefully wipe the threaded top with a clean paper towel to get the greyish oxidized yogurt off. I’ve started up to ten batches of Coconut yogurt with a single tablespoon of probiotic granules.

If pink dots appear on the surface, that’s a mold – compost time. Pay more attention to sanitation next time to avoid this problem. And if your product smells funky/moldy/rotten, and not happy/tart/fizzy, compost it and try again.