Making your own fizzy yogurt is weird and fun
When I had just a few spoonfuls left in my $25 jar of Coconut Cult, the coconut yogurt that is so filled with probiotics it’s effervescent, I realized I wasn’t ready for the end of my fizzy non-dairy experience. I then remembered some advice from Instagram. Lee Tilghman, also known as Lee From America, a blogger who I recently spoke with about overflowing smoothies, is a major Coconut Cult fan. Tilghman explained in an Instagram post how to turn just a few tablespoons of the yogurt back into a nearly full jar. Wanting nothing more than another bite of that weirdly addicting fizzy yogurt, I decided to give it a try.
Tilghman recommended starting the Coconut Cult regrowth process when there was about 2-3 of tablespoons of yogurt left in the jar. As with all other yogurt-making, adding a bit of premade yogurt acts as a starter (just like a sourdough starter), which kickstarts the fermenting process. Tilghman then says to then add 1 can of well-shaken organic coconut milk to the jar, then to dump in the contents of 2 probiotic capsules. Finally, combine the mixture well with a wooden spoon, to cover with cheesecloth fixed with a rubber band, and to place the jar in a sunny spot inside for 2 days. She promises that after 48 hours, you can once again have a full jar of coconut yogurt.
I’ll admit I was a bit nervous to leave an unattended, semi-exposed container of warm yogurt on my kitchen table (I live in Manhattan; critters happen), but Tilghman had a suggestion for that too—to leave the yogurt in a closed oven with the light on instead.
The first time I tried to make the yogurt, it halfway-worked. I think my biggest issue was combining the mixture directly in the jar, as it was tricky to evenly combine the coconut milk with the probiotics in such a small space with just a small wooden spoon.
I covered the jar with a dish towel and stuck it in the oven. Ultimately, it did produce yogurt, but as I’d left a few bits of probiotic on the surface, the mixture grew a few pieces of spooky dark mold over the top, and I had to toss it.
For my second (and successful) try, I got a new jar of coconut yogurt and poured most of it into an ice cube maker to freeze and save for later. I mixed the remaining couple tablespoons coconut yogurt and a can of coconut milk together in a large bowl, and then mixed in the probiotic tablets. It’s important to note that while a metal whisk would be really helpful here, Tilghman recommends mixing with a wooden spoon—metal can sometimes react with the bacteria in the probiotics and with the lactic acid in the yogurt which can weaken the culturing.
I’ll also make it known that in my first batch I used the last 2 probiotic capsules in a jar that was a bit old, and fresh capsules in my second batch. While both were active, it’s likely that you’ll get more yogurt action from a fresh, refrigerated probiotic. I scooped the mixture back into the coconut cult jar. Instead of a dish towel and rubber band, this time I used the jar’s original lid (barely screwed on), as some research on yogurt-making sites and a call with my friend who ferments things as a hobby convinced me that would be fine. I placed the jar on a plate in case things got messy, and popped it in the oven.
After about 15 hours, things got messy. The mixture was so delightfully active it sputtered out of the jar. I cleaned everything up and put it back in the oven.
After 48 hours, the yogurt was fizzy and thick with no signs of scary mold. Not really ready to eat warm yogurt, I popped the jar in the fridge overnight, where it got super thick and creamy.
The end result was tangy and coconutty, but not quite as thick as the original. The coconut water and cream also separated quite a bit, making only about 7 ounces of super thick yogurt and 8 ounces of fermented coconut water. The best way to deal with this is to gently mix up the super-thick yogurt on top and incorporate just a bit of the coconut water each time you go for a scoop. Regardless, I basically made $15-20 of yogurt for the price of a $4 can of coconut milk and 2 probiotic pills. It’s practically robbery. Of course, DIY yogurt brings on less of a rush than shoplifting, but it’s infinitely more rewarding.