NOTE: Coconut milk is not particularly thick when made without a thickening agent such as tapioca starch,gelatin or agar agar. Since it has a different chemical structure than animal milk, it simply behaves differently when cultured. Without the added thickening agent, coconut milk yogurt will generally be rather runny and more similar to the consistency of kefir. If using a thickening agent isn’t an option but you still prefer thick yogurt, it is also possible to strain some of the liquid from the coconut milk yogurt by placing the finished yogurt in a tea towel or similar tight weave fabric and allow the mixture to hang over a bowl to drain some of the liquid resulting in thicker yogurt.
Yogurt is a very healthy, mildly fermented food which contains one or more strains of friendly gut bacteria. This fermentation process also improves the nutritional quality of any milk you use (coconut, rice, almond, cow, etc.), resulting in about 20% more protein, and lots of enzymes that can help your digestion. Making your own yogurt is easy, fun, delicious, and cheap!
Most people use canned, high-fat, organic coconut milk for this recipe. You can find this at Whole Foods, better grocery stores or online. However, one major drawback to buying canned coconut milk is that, like almost all canned foods, there is toxic BPAin the lining of the can which can leach into your food.
Another option is to get coconut milk in Tetra paks or cartons. But you should know that many of these products contain natural guar gum, carageenan, and fortified vitamins and minerals, if that presents an allergy or digestive problem for you.
Also beware that many coconut milk “beverages” in Tetra paks (the kind that are meant for pouring over cereal) are too thin to make good yogurt. You can find thicker, fattier coconut milk flash-frozen or in Tetra paks at any good Asian grocery store.
You will need a yogurt starter culture to introduce the fermentation bacteria to the milk. You can also use 2-3 capsules of any high-quality, dairy-free probiotic that contains L. bulgaricus, S. themophilus and L. casei.
I just blend the meat of 2 Thai Green Coconuts with enough coconut water to make a yoghurt-like consistancy, then add 1/2 a probiotic tablet and blend again. Then I sit it on the bench overnight in summer or on top of the fridge in winter. By the next morning or sometimes afternoon the yoghurt is perfect – I just add fruit to taste just before I eat it. So simple and I’ve never had a failure yet. I sweeten with pureed apples or just fruit.