April 9, 2011

Coconut Yogurt! Mmmm...

Do you really need to find a reason to eat more coconut milk?!? Of course you do! I tried my first attempt at making coconut yogurt. How fun! It gave me an excuse to use my food dehydrator while fulfilling my hankering for a tart, creamy treat.
Oh coconut, I think you're swell.
The fat content of coconut milk used to deter me from even looking at a can of coconut milk let alone cook, bake, or straight up spoon it into my mouth. I'm now (mostly) over my fear of fat, a struggle I endured for many 'a years with much failed results. Note, abstaining from fat doesn't make you a strong, lean, fighting machine. In fact, it does quite the opposite. Fat is at the very core of your existence, it holds your little cells together! Without good cell health, you can repair! If you can't repair, you can't get stronger! See, good quality fat is GOOD for you! Yes, FAT is GOOD. 
I want to take a moment to thank the USDA, FDA, AMA, American advertising, etc. for filling my head with a bunch of nonsense about the dangers of fat and the promotion of a low-fat diet. Nonsense. I'm currently reading Gary Taubes' Good Calories, Bad Calories to gather more information on how we turned from a fat-eating society to a grain-based, higher carb diet. It's time to hear the other side of the story. 
On to the delicious coconut yogurt! This is based on a recipe from Mark's Daily Apple cookbook, The Primal Blueprint. Now this cookbook is full of relatively easy recipes but I have to say the pictures are absolutely atrocious. I love cookbooks. There are really two requirements for them. They need to have great recipes (a given), and if it has pictures they need to be damn gorgeous. This cookbook, not so much. However, if you pick it up don't be deterred by the pictures. Buy it and give a try. I think you'll be pleased. I also consulted Small Footprint Family . This is a cute little blog I just stumbled upon. The auther suggests making your own coconut milk, but at this stage in my life (commute, schedule, obligations, new to Paleo), I'm taking it as a sheer miracle that I'm making homemade yogurt in the first place. If you have the time or inkling to make it from scratch, go on with your bad self! 
Coconut Yogurt:
2 14-oz. cans full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup non-dairy/coconut yogurt (from previous batch or store bought. I actually used coconut kefir for this first attempt)
1 Tbsp honey, agave, or natural maple syrup
Candy or other thermometer.
Place the coconut milk in a small pot and affix the thermometer to the side. Bring the coconut milk to approximately 125 degrees over low-med heat, stirring often. Pull off the burner and allow the milk to cool to approximately 105/100 degrees. Place 1/4 cup of already made coconut yogurt in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the slightly cooled coconut milk and stir. Stir in the sweetener and return to the rest of the cooled coconut milk and stir. Please note that you need a little bit of sugar in order for the good bacteria to grow. The sugar, like in kombucha, should be mostly eaten by the bacteria leaving a deliciously tart yogurt. Place coconut mixture into sterile glass jars and place in the dehydrator between 105 - 115 degrees and leave alone for at least 24 hrs. I left mine in for approximately 29 hrs because it was still a bit sweet for me at 24. This could have been due to the kefir I used or the temperature. Basically, if you taste if and like the taste, it's ready!
Please note that both MDA and SFF suggested using GIProStart yogurt culture starter from GI ProHealth if you're looking for a non-dairy based culture. I may give this a shot next time. 
Off to enjoy some homemade coconut yogurt/kefir over apple chunks and cinnamon! 

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