The topic of gut health has become very popular (thankfully!) in mainstream media, emphasizing the importance of a healthy microbiome in order to achieve good health and vitality. I will go into more detail regarding the microbiome and its role in autoimmune diseases in a later blog post, here I just wanted to share one of my favorite gut friendly recipes. 

The importance of probiotic foods has been known for centuries, almost all nations have their own traditional ferment, let it be fermented milk product (yogurt, kefir, matsoni, etc) or fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh, etc). Fermentation is a great way to preserve food, and the added benefits of consuming living bacteria makes it an excellent culinary technique with amazing health benefits. 

Unfortunately, I cannot eat dairy products, no matter what form I try. Occasionally when I just cannot say no to some cheese or kefir, I still pay the price afterwards, even though its not as bad just drinking commercial, pasteurized milk (which is just yucky in my opinion). If you only have lactose intolerance, you can try to ferment your own dairy yogurt, make sure however to use organic milk and allow fermentation to take place for at least 24 hours. This will allow the bacteria to use up all the lactose in the milk. Traditional yogurt recipes don’t call for such long fermentation process, but creating your yogurt at home this way is still healthier than buying commercial lactose free yogurts. 

For the coconut milk I recommend using canned, additive and BPA free, organic coconut milk. Make sure to read the label, as some companies add thickening agents to the canned products, which can be very harmful for the gut. In Dubai I buy the Organic Larder brand from the Organic Foods and Cafe. They have multiple discount days in each month, so I tend to stock these up in my pantry and always have them on hand. 

I use the yogourmet stater which you can order from amazon or iHerb. Some people use probiotic capsules, by emptying out their content to use as a starter, but I have not tried this.

You will need to add a carbohydrate source to the ferment, so bacteria can grow (this is not necessary when fermenting regular milk for a dairy yogurt, the lactose in the milk serves this purpose). I recommend to use coconut sugar or maple syrup. Of course organic is preferred. 

The coconut milk will not solidify after fermentation, as regular milk would. To achieve the desired, thick consistency, I mix gelatin in the mixture beforehand, which will allow the final product to be thick and creamy once placed in the fridge. Gelatin also has some amazing gut healing benefits. Again, make sure to use pure gelatin, and avoid products with thickening or anti-caking agents.  

The trickiest part of making this yogurt is to provide adequate temperature for the fermentation. This can be achieved if you have a yogurt maker at home, or an electric pressure cooker with a yogurt setting or a dehydrator with a temperature gauge. Another way to achieve a constant 38 degree Celsius (or 100 Fahrenheit) temperature is to turn on the light in your oven, but not the heating and place your yogurt bottles wrapped tightly in a cloth inside. I suggest to use a thermometer for this latter technique to make sure you achieved the adequate temperature.

Both me and my husband love this coconut milk with some fresh fruit, nuts, honey or mix it in smoothies or savory dishes that call for sour cream or yogurt. The ready yogurt keeps in the fridge for 5-7 days, so I usually just make a batch on the weekend that lasts us the week. It is important to use clean dishes and equipment to prepare the yogurt, as you don’t want any harmful bacteria or mold overgrow in the coconut yogurt. For such purpose, I sterilize all the equipment I need to use in boiling water ahead of time.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, let me know if you guys make it or if you have any questions!

Love, Nora

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons gelatin
  • 1 package Yogourmet yogurt starter
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar or maple syrup

EQUIPMENT:

  • Whisk
  • Saucepan
  • Glass containers with lid
  • Food thermometer
  • Yogurt maker or dehydrator or electric pressure cooker

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Empty the coconut milk in a sauce pan, and whisk in the gelatin and the coconut sugar (or maple syrup).
  • Heat on the stove top until the mixture starts to simmer, or if you have a food thermometer, until it reaches 85 degrees Celsius (or 180 degrees Fahrenheit). This step will ensure that all other bacteria dies before we start the fermentation process.
  • Allow the mixture to cool down to 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) and whisk in the yogurt starter.
  • Pour the mixture in previously sterilized glass jars and place the lids.
  • Allow the mixture to ferment on 38 degrees Celsius (or 100 degrees Fahrenheit) for 8-12 hours. Please refer to the post above to see what options can be used for this.
  • Place the ready yogurt in the refrigerator and enjoy it cold.

 

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