Tuesday, September 13, 2011
This was one of those experiments that rejuvenates my passion for cooking. This recipe took a lot of research, reading and pondering as to how I was going to try it. Essentially you heat up the coconut milk (to what temp is debatable, if it's fresh out of the can there shouldn't be any bacteria to kill off like dairy milk) but it needs to be 40ish degrees when you add the starter, then kept warm at the same temperature for anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. It has the same variables as making bread, in the winter it will take longer in the summer shorter. The starter grows the "good bacteria", it cools down then thickens and you refrigerate and it thickens some more.
I chose to follow this website as it seemed to be the most knowledgeable. I was out all night but constantly fretting about it and texting my flatmate (bless her) to take temperature measurements of the water bath. In the end I let it go but DID wake up at 4am out of anxiety to check on it (yeah yeah I'm special) anyway here is what I did (I strongly suggest you do a lot of reading on the subject, personally I think I fluked it, I wont know until I try again). The results by the way? Well look at the picture, you stuck a spoon in and it was thick like pot set Greek yoghurt. Unbelievable.
3 cans coconut cream
1/8 tsp dairy free probiotic* (I used Inner Health Plus dairy free)
1 tbs maple syrup
2 tsp agar powder
1. Steralise your yoghurt jars, bowls and anything that will touch the yoghurt with boiling water (I leave them submerged in the boiling water till it cools).
2. Heat coconut milk in a saucepan to 80 degrees (you will need a sugar thermometer) then add maple syrup and agar.
3. Let your coconut cream cool to 40-45 degrees, remove 1/4 cup of the coconut cream and mix in your probiotic, then combine back into the coconut cream in the pot.
4. Pour the coconut cream into your jars and cover with a lid (they say to not use metal lids) and let the coconut cream ferment at 40-45 degrees between 8 and 24 hours. How I kept mine warm was in a water bath in my crock pot. I used the initial heat from the coconut cream and some warm water to keep it warm/desired temperature. However I turned the crock pot on low at 4am as it had become almost cold and woke back up at 8am and turned it off but was convinced it had kept the milk too hot (the water was almost 60 degrees) so I thought I had destroyed the batch. The milk had separated into milk and water and was as thin when I started, I mixed it all back together but was pretty devastated. I went back and hour later to throw it away and it had set fully (like jelly) while it was cooling. I was blown away.
So maybe this was a fluke? Maybe using agar is the big difference from others experiments? *It wasn't as sour as I would have liked it to be so next time I'm going to bump up the probiotic - Ive seen as much as 1tsp per can of coconut milk. If you attempt this do let me know, I'd be keen to hear your variables and results. Actually now I would recommend adding a tbsp of soy yoghurt instead of inner health plus, cheaper and better results.