Years ago my mother-in-law gave me a 1974 Salton Yogurt Maker. I used it a few times to make yogurt, but after making a few batches and having them all rejected by ToddlerPoppy the yogurt maker went into the basement for a years-long slumber.
I didn’t eat much yogurt before we did the elimination diet because it always gave me a stomachache, but of course once the elimination diet was over and I decided to stop eating dairy? I wanted a bowl of yogurt, granola and berries every morning. I didn’t care for the soy yogurts I tried, but the So Delicious coconut yogurt was perfectly acceptable. It isn’t quite as thick as dairy yogurt, but it works. It’s expensive, though, and when I ran into the ’74 Salton the other day it occurred to me that making coconut yogurt at home might be a possibility.
A bit of googling lead me to believe that DIY coconut yogurt definitely is a possibility. I’ve had great luck with recipes from The Kitchn before, so I gave their dairy-free coconut yogurt recipe a try.
After a scavenger hunt though the fancy healthy grocery store for some tapioca starch, I went home and heated two cans of coconut milk. I whisked the tapioca starch into a little bit of the heated coconut milk before stirring it back in. I added the yogurt starter when the specially marked 1974 Salton spoon-thermometer told me to do so and stirred in some honey, and then I poured the mixture into the yogurt cups and stepped away for 10 hours to let the gentle heat do its thing. The “yogurt” was very liquidy at the end of those 10 hours, but I figured it might set up in the fridge overnight.
I was wrong.
My DIY dairy-free coconut yogurt had a nice flavor, but it was not thick and creamy at all. It was more like a very luxurious coconut milk beverage, which meant I my breakfast was a bowl of granola and cherries with something akin to coconut half-and-half in it. That’s definitely not a bad thing, but it wasn’t what I was looking to make.
The Kitchn also suggested using agar agar as a thickener, which I may try once my supercharged coconut beverage is gone. Their other suggestion was using just the coconut cream to make the yogurt. I think that would end up making it even more expensive than the grocery store version and would thus defeat the purpose. Other recommendations I found included pectin (Epicurious and Oh Lady Cakes) and blending it up using a fresh coconut (Oh She Glows), which is a thing that I almost certainly will never do.
But then, I never figured I’d give up cheese and sour cream either, so I could be cracking coconuts before you know it.