Finding proper plain yogurt without nasties in it such as carageenan/vanilla flavouring/corn starch etc is a bit of a nightmare, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have some. There are makes, like Sojade (soya, so out for those on the Barrier Diet), but, to be honest, it’s often cheaper to make it yourself and then you always have some to hand.
Making Truly GlutenFree Coconut Yogurt
You can make yogurt out of any kind of milk really, but let’s concentrate on coconut for now. CoYo have in fact made the first commercial coconut yogurt and it looks – and apparently tastes – great. BUT the culture they use for growing the probiotics is from rice. Bum.
The cheapest and easiest way to make yogurt is in a flask overnight. But, of course, I have a penchant for gadgets and pretty glass jars I can get out of my fridge when I fancy one, so I bought a yogurt maker with glass jars (none of your plastic nonsense, please!) You can see the one I use in my Favourite Products in Other Eco and Healthy Lifestyle Stuff We Like.
To make the yogurt, heat the milk up until you can put a (clean!) finger in it for 10 seconds without it being too hot. You can use a thermometer and follow the instructions on your particular machine – usually it has to be kept at around 110 degrees fahrenheit.
Avoid any coconut milk with carageenan in it. I use Biona Coconut Milk Light. You can even blend fresh coconut with water to make your own, if so inclined.
Take it off the heat, pour a little into a bowl and stir in either some plain yogurt from a previous batch or about a teaspoon (or capsule) of probiotic. For this, you need a good strong one like Biocare Bioacidophilus or something containing thermophilus eg. Allergy Research Group Symbiotics with FOS or Biocare Bulgaricus. This makes your yogurt a bit more expensive, but very live!
Coconut yogurt doesn’t thicken that brilliantly so it makes a kind of pouring yogurt, which is fine for dips and on top of curries. If you like your yogurt thicker, try adding a little tapioca starch and apple pectin as CoYo do. Or you could use some guar gum to thicken it if necessary (this is derived from guar beans and is therefore a lectin so don’t go mad.) There is some guar gum in the Biona coconut milk, which might help. Alternatively, some agar agar would work.
Stir that mix into the rest of the milk and pour into your flask or jars. Leave overnight sealed tight and switched on to maintain the right temperature if using your machine. It will keep warm anyway in a flask.
I have found that the yogurt produced varies so if it isn’t setting after about 4-5 hours, add a bit more probiotic. It can take up to several hours to make, so I generally make mine overnight, but it can take 24 hours; it’s not an exact science! The texture varies too depending on the milk and how much probiotic you use. Mine normally comes out like a set French yogurt when I use a whole capsule or teaspoon.
Either way, what you get is a beautiful plain yogurt you can use for sweet and savoury dishes. Then, when you are ready to make some more, you can use the yogurt you made as a starter and add less probiotic as needed, making it cheaper. I make a completely new batch using just the probiotic every third time to keep it as live as possible.
Once you have your yogurt, simply add honey or fruit to it, chopped cucumber, spices or whatever and use it as a dip, or on top of chilli or curry. SO useful.