Coconut yogurt has a sweet, tart flavor with an utterly creamy texture. It pairs well with berries and tropical fruit as well as a little swirl of honey or maple syrup for added sweetness.
What is it?
Coconut yogurt is a dairy-free alternative to yogurt. As with traditional milk-based yogurt, coconut yogurt is inoculated with a starter culture that contains beneficial bacteria and then allowed to culture. As a result, some of the coconut's natural sugars are transformed into acids, giving the food a pleasant sweet-tart flavor.
What's in it?
This coconut yogurt contains three fundamental ingredients: coconut meat, coconut water, and starter culture.
While many recipes call for coconut milk in lieu of coconut meat, it tends to produce a thin yogurt that needs a thickening agent such as starch, gelatin, or agar agar. By using coconut meat, the yogurt will be naturally thick and have a fresher flavor and improved texture.
Tips for making yogurt
Making yogurt is an easy process, provided you have a way to keep a consistent temperature for a period of several hours. The best way to keep that consistent temperature is to use a yogurt maker; however, you can also culture coconut yogurt in any place that is consistently between 108 F and 112 F. Here are some more tips to keep in mind:
- Use coconut meat, not milk. The meat from young, green coconuts produces a better texture and flavor than coconut milk which typically requires an additive for thickening. You can find frozen young green coconut meat in the freezer section of well-stocked health food stores and online.
- Coconut water gives a little sugar to feed the beneficial bacteria in your starter, and it helps loosen the coconut meat for blending. You can also substitute water.
- Keep your temperature consistent. The best way to do this is to buy a yogurt maker which is designed to keep a consistent, slightly elevated temperature that yogurt requires to culture effectively. You can also put your yogurt into a mason jar and allow it to culture in a dehydrator set to 110 F, or in the oven with a pilot light on; however, these methods may produce inconsistent results.
Make it with coconut milk. If you can't find coconut meat, you can substitute 1 quart coconut milk to make a cultured coconut milk. To thicken it, consider adding agar agar or gelatin.
To increase the coconut flavor, consider swirling some coconut extract into the finished product.
Add vanilla extract to the yogurt, for a subtle floral quality.