I eat yogurt every single day of my life. But I’m very particular about which kind I eat, very particular. I would prefer eating no yogurt over eating something that isn’t my favorite. And my favorite is Fage 2% Plain Greek Yogurt. I could very well be addicted to it. And I’m OK with that because I know it’s good for me. There are no fillers, (it’s actually made in the traditional Greek way-by straining- so it contains no starches to thicken it like other brands), it’s incredibly high in protein (naturally) and has no sugar or flavoring added. (When I eat it I mix it with some sort of fruit, usually dried, and that’s it.) I’ve joked before about how I think I could survive solely on Fage 2% and champagne. (And I’m up for the challenge if anyone wants to sponsor me!!)
So even though I wasn’t looking for a replacement for my favorite treat, I became extremely excited to try to make my own yogurt for the first time. I don’t own any of those special yogurt-making kits, (I know my mom did back in the day) and I’ve seriously never thought of making my own until now. But my mother sent me a link to something the other day that blew me away.
This woman was making yogurt out of canned coconut milk and probiotic capsules. That’s it. No storebought yogurt cultures…no heating of the milk first, just those two things mixed together. Amazing, right?!! So I vowed the next day to try it out. Only…the probiotic supplements I had on hand were in tablet form and therefore couldn’t be emptied into the coconut milk. Bummer. And the only other probiotics I had were already in yogurt form, and surely that wouldn’t work…I mean, that would just be too easy…
So after speaking to my mom about it, she said she heard someone say they had, in fact, used a spoonful of yogurt to inoculate their coconut milk and it worked perfectly.
And guess what? It did!!! It was one of the easiest things I’ve ever made and it was so exciting to do. My kids really got involved in watching it ‘grow’. And the best part was that after the end of the experiment, we had AMAZING, HOMEMADE and HEALTHY yogurt to eat.
It really is delicious. It tastes like coconut. It tastes like yogurt. It’s creamy and rich and delightfully tangy. And I know exactly what’s inside.
If you want it sweet (remember coconut milk has a delicate sweet flavor already, which works perfectly for my unsweetened taste buds), then add honey, agave or all natural fruit preserves/purée to yours.
If you fancy a yogurt-granola parfait, give my easy (and best ever!) granola recipe a try (made right in the microwave)-
Or just eat it plain. Like I was…just spooning it into my mouth like a kid in an ice cream, er, yogurt shop.
*Homemade Greek Style Coconut Yogurt
(Makes roughly 2 cups)
In a large (at least quart size) GLASS jar or container, combine the following:
–2 cans FULL FAT coconut milk (the milk can’t contain any fillers or thickeners, (although I’ve heard that guar gum is OK…I just can’t personally vouch for that.) My grocery store brand is what I used. Here’s the ingredient list:
–1 giant spoonful of all natural, organic, plain and FULL FAT yogurt
…Here’s what I mean when I say giant-
Using an immersion blender, blend everything until completely smooth-
(If you don’t own an immersion blender, no big deal! You can mix everything in a GLASS bowl and then transfer it to the GLASS jar. Even a simple whisk will do the trick.)
Cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and if your container has a lid, that too. Set it somewhere warm, but not hot, like the window sil on a sunny day, for 1-2 days.
The longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavor will be. I let mine sit next to the sunniest window and kept moving it throughout the day to keep it sunny.
Then at night I moved it into an oven that had just been turned on for a minute or two, and then turned off, with the oven light on.
After just a few hours, it had already started to thicken and bubble up- telling me it was working!
(This picture was taken after 6-7 hours. A thick layer of happy bubbles formed on the top and it began to smell slightly tangy-like yogurt.)
The next day, after spending all night in the lit oven, it looked the same but was more pungent in flavor and aroma. It tasted like… coconut yogurt! There was still a bubbly, thick layer on top and the rest was fairly watery. It was still pretty thin so I kept it sitting in the lit oven, except this time it had some company…
(I bake whole wheat sourdough bread every week, and these are the loaves during their second rise.)
28 hours later, I decided I wanted the yogurt to be ready. Now, whether or not the yogurt itself was ready to be done – I have no idea. I’m sure it could have become more yogurty if I waited longer but I’m just not good at that. It smelled perfect, tasted great, I just needed to get the consistency to my liking. I’m used to the thickness and richness of Greek yogurt so that’s what I set out to make.
I set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and covered it with a double layer of cheese cloth. I poured my yogurt mixture into the cloth/strainer and let it drain at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours until I had a thick and velvety yogurt.
(If you have everything else but the cheese cloth for this recipe, and you don’t consider yourself a cheese cloth-needing person, then you can use a clean t-shirt or white kitchen towel…even a coffee filter would work (it would just take longer).)
I also knew that, by straining my yogurt, I would be left with not only a thick and rich Greek-style yogurt, I would also have a probiotic-rich coconut liquid to use in smoothies or drink on its own (like a kefir). You will get 2 cups of liquid from straining.)
After the 1 1/2 hours of straining, I was left with luscious and creamy yogurt. When I came in to check on it and saw what it looked like, I did a little dance. I even think I squealed.
I mean- I just made yogurt. Made it. Without buying anything sold in order ‘to make yogurt’. I felt like I won something. I took that spoonful of creamy, coconut deliciousness and ran upstairs to my husband. I shoved it in his mouth before he had a chance to protest. And he was amazed.
It’s so good!!! And it was really easy. All it took was some time…but isn’t that how all the good things happen in life? With time?
I urge you to go try this in your kitchen- it’s so much fun!!