Hye Thyme Cafe: Homemade Coconut Yogurt

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Homemade Coconut Yogurt

Homemade Coconut Yogurt : Hye Thyme Cafe

Having made plain yogurt several times now, it seemed as though making Coconut Yogurt would be a no-brainer, but that was not the case. It took a number of attempts to get to this version, and from my perspective, as much as I like this one, it's still a work in progress - I'd like to get it to where it's thicker, without having to use powdered milk or strain it, much less resort to a commercial yogurt maker.

The first batch was a complete disaster. I thought that adding sweetened-flaked coconut to the milk while it heated would allow the sugar to melt and the flavor to infuse into the milk. What I ended up with was something that pretty much looked like a cheese sauce - very thick and almost gluey. I kept going and added 1T of coconut extract like I would with vanilla in my regular version, but you could barely taste any coconut at the end.

For the second batch, instead of adding the coconut up front, I waited until stirring the fresh batch into the starter. I also increased the extract. I basically had the same end result. There is something about the sugar in the coconut that seems to react poorly with the hot liquid and makes it gummy.

For the third attempt, I had read about several versions that incorporate coconut oil. I have a jar in the pantry, so I decided to give it a try, but that was an even bigger disaster! The coconut oil separated while it set and formed a hard shell on top. No thanks!

I do have one more idea up my sleeve before resorting back to milk powder or straining.  In the meantime ...

1/2 gallon whole milk
single-serving container of yogurt (w/live active cultures)
1 T agave nectar
1 T coconut extract
1 c sweetened-flaked coconut

  1. Whisking frequently to prevent scorching, heat the milk to between 185-200°, maintaining that temperature for a few minutes to allow some of the water in the milk to evaporate.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool to 110°.
  3. In a large bowl with a cover, whisk together the starter yogurt (sing-serve container), agave nectar if using for a bit of sweetness, and extract.
  4. Temper the mixture by whisking in a cup or so of the hot milk, then slowly add the rest.
  5. Put the cover on the bowl and wrap the whole thing in a large towel.
  6. Stow it away somewhere warm for 5-8 hours or so (it's flexible, so don't stress over it). I like to make my yogurt before I go to bed, stick it in the oven (with the light on if I have one) and then retrieve it when I get up in the morning. If you're oven doesn't have a light, that's fine - it will work without any additional heat. If you want, another option would be to pre-heat the oven to it's lowest setting and turn it off when you put the bowl in.
  7. Run a knife through the coconut to break it up into smaller pieces if desired, then stir into the yogurt before transferring to the refrigerator to chill for several hours. Adding the coconut at this point avoided that gumminess I spoke of in my earlier attempts.
Homemade Coconut Yogurt : Hye Thyme Cafe
Stir in rest of warm milk
Homemade Coconut Yogurt : Hye Thyme Cafe
Carefully heat to 185-200°, then
reduce to 110

Homemade Coconut Yogurt : Hye Thyme Cafe
Whisk together starter, sweetener,
and extract

Homemade Coconut Yogurt : Hye Thyme Cafe 
Temper with 1c warm milk


Stir in chopped coconut and chill
As you can see from the last picture, the yogurt came out thick enough to stand up to that pile of coconut. However, if you compare the pics below with the granola and crushed pineapple to my original yogurt post, you will see that this one is a lot thinner. See how the original yogurt with the honey and almonds forms more of a mound? That's why this version is still a work in progress.

Homemade Coconut Yogurt : Hye Thyme Cafe
Crushed Pineapple / Pina Colada
Homemade Coconut Yogurt : Hye Thyme Cafe
Golden Girl Granola with cranberries,
coconut, and almonds

Homemade Madzoon (Yogurt)
Granola is one of my favorite yogurt toppers. I just happened to luck out and receive some review samples from Golden Girl Granola after making this batch. I guess I do have good luck every now and then. ;)

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