Be Green and Make Your Own Yogurt

When I was cinematographer on the documentary film, Bag It, about plastic proliferation, I learned how much oil is used to make plastic. It is estimated that about 12 million barrels of oil a year are used in making plastic bags. I think plastic containers and water bottles are the enemy and I'm all about putting these containers out of business. Years ago, I stopped eating yogurt for two reasons.

  • I can no longer eat dairy, it immediately bloats my stomach and causes congestion in my sinuses, so that's a no-brainer.

  • Yogurt containers are not recycle-able, at least not in my town of Jackson, Wyoming. They are either shipped to China or thrown in a land fill.

For awhile I've been looking for a simple and yummy yogurt recipe and I'm sharing a great one from the Minimalist Baker. All you need is coconut milk and probiotic capsules. The Minimalist Baker has delicious vegan and gluten free recipes that are super easy to make.


This is a 3-step process:

  • Empty coconut milk into a clean glass jar or bowl.

  • Top with probiotic and stir.

  • Cover with cheesecloth and wait. Once your yogurt has activated (24-48 hours), simply refrigerate to thicken / cool and then enjoy!

If you have separation, that’s OK! Either stir it in, or put it in the refrigerator separated, then scoop off the creamy top layer. Suggested for best yogurt consistency: 1 can 365 Whole Foods Full Fat Coconut Milk + 2 Renew Life 50 billion probiotic capsules.

MINIMALIST BAKER YOGURT RECIPE

  • 1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk

  • 2 capsules vegan-friendly probiotic* (they need to be capsules, not pills, which have to be crushed / capsules can be easily opened and emptied)

ADD-INS optional

  • Maple syrup, stevia, or agave nectar for sweetening

  • Vanilla extract or vanilla bean powder

  • Fruit and / granola

INSTRUCTIONS

  • It's important to select a coconut milk that's creamy and smooth (not grainy or clumpy) to ensure that the yogurt is creamy and smooth.

  • Shake your coconut milk well. Then open and pour into a clean, sterilized, dry glass jar or bowl.

  • Empty your probiotic capsules into the yogurt and use a wooden or plastic spoon to stir, not metal, as a metal spoon can react negatively with the probiotics. Stir until creamy and smooth, pushing the probiotic up against the side with your spoon to evenly disperse.

  • Cover the mixture with cheesecloth (or a very thin, clean dish towel - something that lets air in but keeps bugs out) and secure with a rubber band.

  • Let the yogurt activate for at least 24 hours and up to 48 hours in a warm place. The longer it rests, the tangier the yogurt will become.

  • Once the yogurt has reached the right amount of tanginess and thickness for your liking (be sure to sample with a wooden spoon), cover securely with a lid and refrigerate until cold. Refrigerating will also thicken the yogurt even more, almost to a Greek yogurt consistency (depending on the brand of coconut milk you used). For even thicker yogurt, line a fine mesh strainer with two layers of cheesecloth and set over a mixing bowl. Pour in the yogurt, then loosely cover with a lid or plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator overnight or for 12+ hours. It should thicken up quite a bit more.

  • You have coconut yogurt, which can be enjoyed plain as I prefer it, with fruit. You can also add a bit of sweetener or flavor at this point, such as maple syrup and/or vanilla extract.

  • Store covered in the refrigerator for several days. You'll know it's gone bad when the smell is off-putting or there is mold.


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