Probiotic Coconut Yogurt: Plain or Chocolate!

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breakfast / dairy free / dairy free option / dessert / egg free / egg free option / favourites / fermented / gluten free / gluten free option / grain free / lunch / nut free / snack / sweet / vegan / vegan option / vegetarian / vegetarian option

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Have you tried making coconut yogurt but haven’t had much luck? I get questions from a large number of people about the secrets to making a consistently good coconut yogurt that is tangy and thick and that doesn’t separate. My method is EASY and I get a perfect batch every time. You don’t need any fancy equipment and you don’t even need to have probiotic capsules on hand. This method uses leftover coconut yogurt which you can find in the supermarket for a lot less than a bottle of probiotic capsules (thank-you Hannah from the Facebook fermentation group for that bit of advice!). I have also included the probiotic capsules in the method too incase you have those on hand and prefer to use those. Also, please feel free to share any tips and tricks in the comments, as well as any other brands of coconut cream that you have had good and consistent success with. Knowledge is power and I am a firm believer in sharing it freely!

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All coconut creams and milks are not created equal. Some brands have added thickeners, emulsifiers and fillers while others have minimal ingredients in them. There are a few things to consider when buying coconut cream and I can give you three recommendations for brands available in New Zealand. Ayam Premium Coconut Cream, Kara UHT Coconut Cream (in the Tetra Pak), or Trade Aid Coconut MILK (sorry, no photo of the can) are three coconut products that work very well for coconut yogurt. There are a few pros and cons to each. I have also used Pams and Fia Fia brand in the past, but I found they had a funny aftertaste which was more than a little unpleasant.

AYAM – This produces the thickest yogurt (so thick it is like cream cheese). It is 100% pure coconut kernel extract and comes in an easy open tin. The flavour is beautiful. One of the cons is that it is possibly harder to find for some. As well,  at around $2.50-$3.50 per 270ml can it is the most expensive option.

TRADE AID – This coconut milk (which is the same as a cream) also produces a very thick yogurt and has minimal ingredients. I also like that it is a fair trade item and is also in a tin that can be recycled. It is slightly less expensive than the Ayam brand. One con is that, again, it can be harder to find for some.

KARA – This coconut cream is the easiest to find and is by far the best price point. It produces a lovely coconut yogurt but isn’t as thick as the previous two. However, in NZ we cannot recycle Tetra Paks and it has to go in the bin (or you can use it as a mould when making homemade soap!). This coconut cream also has more thickeners and emulsifiers than the other two, which is not ideal for some people.

There is some confusion as to whether a thickener needs to be added (such as xanthan or guar gum, or even tapioca and potato starch) to get a thick yogurt, but in my experience, I have never added anything to thicken it and I can stand a spoon up in the yogurt once it has fermented and then set in the fridge. I also try to avoid xanthan and guar gum as they can be an irritant to the gut. 

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Some of the common problems encountered when making coconut yogurt and what may have gone wrong:

  • It separated – this can be from overheating or over fermenting. Using an Easiyo is a classic way to overheat and get separation. With tweaking, this method can work, but I like minimal equipment in my kitchen so only use a jar on the bench top with nothing else. One tip I have for this method is to make sure your coconut cream mixture is at room temperature and only add HOT not boiling water to the Easiyo, or you may find that your mixture has separated a few hours later.
  • Separating can also occur when using a coconut cream which has water added to it. The water separates during fermentation and also as the cream rises to the top.
  • Using too many probiotics can also cause separation (4 billion microorgaisms per cup of coconut cream is a good amount – check your package for this info)
  • The coconut cream didn’t ferment – the probiotics are likely too old or dead, which also means they aren’t doing anything for your guts if you are taking them daily. This is a great way to test them!
  • The yogurt is tangy but didn’t thicken – I have found this comes down to the brand and ingredients/quality of the coconut cream, which is why I am only suggesting these three brands which I have made succesful coconut yogurt from many, many times over the past few years.

Basic Coconut Cream Yogurt

  • Servings: Makes around 500mls
  • Print

This recipe can easily be double or tripled for a larger batch of coconut cream yogurt.

400-540mls of coconut cream of one of the above mentioned brands (Ayam Premium, Trade Aid Coconut Milk or Kara UHT)

2 TBLS probiotic coconut cream yogurt (good quality store-bought or a previous batch)

OR 3-4 probiotic capsules (4 billion microorganisms approx per cup of coconut cream- check package for this info – I have had good luck with Bio Kult brand probiotics)

Method:

  1. Shake the can(s) or carton of unopened coconut cream well. Open and place into a clean glass jar. Place 2 TBLS of probiotic coconut cream yogurt OR 3-4 probiotic capsules  into the coconut cream and stir well. Screw on the lid and leave the coconut cream to ferment in a warm spot or on the kitchen bench out of direct sunlight. If left in a warm spot it will ferment more quickly and usually takes between 12-24 hours to develop a nice tang. If left on the kitchen bench it can take 24-72 hours to ferment fully. It should thicken up a little and you may see little tiny air bubbles on the sides, which is a good sign of active lactic acid bacteria.
  2. Open the jar and test it every 12-24 hours until you like the tanginess/flavour. It will also continue to get a little more tangy in the fridge.
  3. Place it into the fridge and allow it to chill completely before eating it. It will thicken up more once chilled.

Consume within about 7-10 days.

Chocolate Coconut Cream Yogurt

  • Servings: Makes around 500mls
  • Print

This recipe can easily be double for a larger batch of coconut cream yogurt.

400-540mls of coconut cream of one of the above mentioned brands (Ayam Premium, Trade Aid Coconut Milk or Kara UHT)

1 TBLS honey

60 grams of good quality dark chocolate – chopped into small pieces

2 TBLS probiotic coconut cream yogurt (good quality store-bought or a previous batch)

OR 3-4 probiotic capsules (4 billion microorganisms approx per cup of coconut cream – check package for this info – I have had good luck with Bio Kult brand probiotics)

Method:

  1. Place chopped dark chocolate into a mixing bowl. In a saucepan, combine coconut cream and honey and slowly bring to a simmer over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the coconut cream begins to show signs of simmering, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate in the mixing bowl. Swirl the mixing bowl gently a couple of times and then leave the mixture to soften and melt undisturbed for 3-5 minutes.
  2. With a whisk, gently move the mixture around. Once you can see that the chocolate is melting and swirling into the coconut cream, whisk it in a circular motion a bit more vigorously. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is totally melted and evenly mixed into the cream. It should look a bit like chocolate sauce. Cover the mixture with a tea towel and allow it to cool to about 40 degrees (if you dip your pinky finger into the mix it should feel warm, but not at all hot).
  3. Once the coconut cream & chocolate mixture is warm to the touch, add the 2 TBLS coconut yogurt OR probiotic capsules and mix well. Screw on the lid and leave the coconut cream to ferment in a warm spot or on the kitchen bench out of direct sunlight. If left in a warm spot it will ferment more quickly and usually takes between 12-24 hours to develop a nice tang. If left on the kitchen bench it can take 24-72 hours to ferment fully. It should thicken up a little and you may see little tiny air bubbles on the sides, which is a good sign of active lactic acid bacteria.
  4. Open the jar and test it every 12-24 hours until you like the tanginess/flavour. It will also continue to get a little more tangy in the fridge.
  5. Place it into the fridge and allow it to chill completely before eating it. It will thicken up more once chilled.

Consume within 7-10 days

Winter Solstice

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The winter solstice just passed exactly two hours ago. I love this day as it means the days will start to become longer again (here in the Southern Hemisphere, that is). Wellington is looking rather wintery today. I will be making some curry and fermented starchy goodness  tonight to warm our bellies (pictured, but I can’t share quite yet!). There has been plenty going on behind the scenes lately and I am looking forward to sharing some of this productivity very soon.

Until then, stay warm (or cool, for you Northern Hemisphere folk). Happy Solstice to all!

 

 

Giveaway: Sourdough Bread Kit

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baking / bread / breakfast / dairy free / dairy free option / dinner / egg free / egg free option / favourites / fermented / food / lunch / nut free / savoury / snack / soup / sourdough / vegan / vegan option / vegetarian / vegetarian option

 

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Photography by my lovely friend Virginia Woods-Jack

I get mighty excited about making bread. It is my favourite fermented food and I never tire of watching the dough rise slowly throughout the day or the smell it creates during baking. I love how unique each loaf is when it is finished baking and pulled from the oven. Over the past couple of years I have slowly saved up and purchased a few bread-making tools which have made the bread-making process easier and more enjoyable. I have been acquiring a few more of the same items slowly and today I am offering a giveaway for these, along with a beautiful sourdough starter culture (dehydrated), all purchased from a local fellow artisan bread maker.  Neville has recently been on Radio New Zealand sharing his wealth of knowledge in sourdough bread making. I highly recommend having a listen to it (Thank you Nicola for sharing!). This giveaway is open to all NZ residents and is not endorsed in any way. This is a giveaway purely from me to you because I want to share my love of bread-making and in return I would love for you to share my love of whole and fermented foods with others. Head below for the details.

On a different note, my friend Virginia (check out her Instagram too) and I have teamed up to work on some very cool projects that we both look forward to sharing with you all in the near future. Virginia is a talented and skilled photographer. I love her ability to capture light in such an honest way. These photos were taken by the window in the late afternoon with natural light.

:::: GIVEAWAY DETAILS ::::

Giveaway Now Closed – Thank you to all who entered!

Winner has been emailed

The giveaway includes a lame (super sharp razor tool for making lovely slash marks in the bread), a banneton (for the shaped dough to rise in), a Danish dough whisk (for mixing doughs), and a beautiful mature sourdough starter culture that Neville has been nurturing and passing on to others for many years. You must be a NZ resident to enter the giveaway. To enter the giveaway, leave me a comment below or on the Facebook or Instagram post, and tag 3 friends (on Facebook or Instagram). Feel free to enter the giveaway on all three social media platforms for extra chances to win. This is the first of a series of giveaways I will be doing and I would love for you to subscribe to the blog, ‘Like’ my Facebook page and follow me on Instagram for inspiration and recipes in fermentation and wholefoods and to find out when I will be doing more giveaways. There will be textiles involved in the future giveaways too! You will have until 6pm on Monday the 6th of June to enter and I will randomly draw a winner that night and announce it by Wednesday the 8th of June.

Images © Copyright Virginia Woods-Jack 2016

Textiles: Cotton gauze | Scoured | No Mordant Used | Beetroot with Privet Berry Over Dye

Rice Bowl with Kimchi

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breakfast / dairy free / dairy free option / dinner / egg free option / favourites / fermented / gluten free / gluten free option / lunch / nut free / savoury / Uncategorized / vegan option / vegetarian / vegetarian option

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This has been my go-to meal for the past 6 months. I posted about it half a year ago but thought I would give it a proper feature on the blog considering I eat it so often and never seem to tire of it. I will happily eat it at 6am for breakfast or as a lunch or even dinner. It is a versatile meal and loaded with nutrients. It is also very quick to make. A few friends have also served this over a bed of quinoa or millet for a different variation. The Kimchi recipe is fabulous and well worth the effort. We cannot live without this delicious fermented condiment in our kitchen. I have 12 litres of finished kimchi to empty out of the fermentation crock as I type this. Read More

Nut Free Muesli Bars

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baking / breakfast / dairy free / dairy free option / egg free / favourites / food / gluten free / gluten free option / guest post / lunch / nut free / snack / sweet / vegan / vegan option / vegetarian / vegetarian option

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I posted a biscuit variation of these nut free bars on my Instagram page a few weeks back. You can find the recipe over on my friend’s blog Love Mamas. Vic is a hugely inspiring mother and friend and dedicates her time to helping out other mothers through her fabulous post natal care and post natal doula services here in Wellington. Not long after having Ira 6 months ago I was fortunate enough to be given a beautiful meal from Vic. In addition to being generally awesome, she is also an incredible cook. How lucky am I to have her in my life! Hop on over to her blog for the recipe.

Read More

Slow Fermented Yeast Bread – Easy No Knead Yeast Version

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baking / bread / breakfast / dairy free / dairy free option / dinner / egg free / egg free option / favourites / fermented / lunch / nutrition / savoury / snack / soup / sourdough / Uncategorized / vegan / vegan option / vegetarian / vegetarian option

 

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This bread recipe is the version I make using instant yeast instead of sourdough starter. For any of you who don’t have a sourdough starter, or if you forgot to feed the starter before bread-making day, this recipe doesn’t require any preparation and still produces a beautiful bread with a great flavour and minimal effort. Read More