Friday, June 7, 2013

Homemade Coconut-Cashew SCD Yogurt (dairy free, paleo, cane-sugar free, gum free w/ vegan option)

I have had a long somewhat frustrating run at homemade yogurt. The last batch I attempted was a runny mess and grew red mold inside (somehow) and I threw my hands up.  Last month I was really craving some yogurt, and felt motivated to try it again.  This time I turned to Kelly's blog, The Spunky Coconut, for assistance.  She uses gelatin to thicken her yogurt and I was like, YES! This is it!  I took some time to experiment with the gelatin.  I was looking for a creamy texture, one much like store bought.  The two teaspoons of gelatin is PERFECT!  The texture is spot on!  I know you will love this recipe.  I am pleased with the outcome and happy to say I have been enjoying creamy, tangy (dairy-free) yogurt and loving it!  I also experimented with a vegan version for my vegan peeps out there.    
Homemade Coconut-Cashew SCD Yogurt 
Recipe Modified and Inspired by Kelly @ The Spunky Coconut 
paleo, dairy free, gum free, cane-sugar free  

-2 cups cashew milk   
-2 cups coconut milk this or this
-2 tablespoons honey
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
-2 teaspoons pure gelatin (plus 1/4 cup room temp water)
-5 capsules of probiotics

How to Make Cashew Milk:
-Soak 1 cup of raw cashews over night (8 hours is great).  Strain and rinse.  Blend with 4 cups of filtered water for 45 seconds. Let sit for 15 minutes.  Scoop off any excess foam.  Stir and use 2 cups for the yogurt.  Save the other 2 cups for a thousand different uses.  Cashew milk/cream rocks!  


1.  Add the milks, honey, and vanilla to a large, heavy pot and heat until 185 degrees.  Stirring often, taking care that the milk does NOT burn on the bottom.  A very gentle, slight simmer is fine.  I like to use (and thus recommend) a dutch oven to heat the milk.  

2. In another large pot, add your jars and lids, water to cover, and bring to a boil.  Simmer jars and lids for 10 - 15 minutes.  Set a clean towel on the counter somewhere and carefully remove the jars to cool when they have been properly sterilized. 

3.  After the milk comes up to 185 degrees, remove from the heat and allow to cool.  To speed up the process, I pour the milk into a 4-cup glass Pyrex and line my crock pot with ice packs and put the Pyrex with the ice.  

4.  In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup ROOM TEMP water and mix in the 2 teaspoons of gelatin.  Then add it to your milk, use immersion blender to incorporate the gelatin.  I usually add the gelatin between 110 - 120 degrees.    

5.  When the temp drops to 100 degrees, give the milk another good spin with the immersion blender.  Break open the 5 probiotics and add them to the milk.  Use the immersion blender again to fully incorporate the probiotics.  

6.  Transfer the milk into a sterilized 4-cup glass container (or 2 smaller containers), or bunch of little yogurt containers. Place in your yogurt maker for at least 12 hours.  Do not shake, move, or disturb in any way while the milk cultures.  Please see below for how I use my yogurt maker for this process.

7.  After culturing for 12 hours, remove the jars from yogurt maker and give the jars a good shake.  My jars always have a liquid in the bottom, so give it a good shake. Let them cool for about an hour before you place in the fridge.  Refrigerate at least 8 - 10 hours to allow the gelatin to set up and thicken the yogurt.  


*Gelatin contains many health benefits.  See HERE

*I cannot offer any milk subs here.  Cashews are great in that they thicken naturally, so I'm not sure how this would work with, say, just almond milk.  You would need to increase the gelatin, but not sure by how much.  

*Vegans use maple syrup instead of honey and 1/2 teaspoon agar agar.  After the milk hits 185 degrees, remove a 1/4 cup of the milk and stir in the 1/2 teaspoon agar agar.  Then add it back in the milk and whisk until well incorporated.  When the temp drops to 100 degrees, add in the 5 capsules of probiotics.  Proceed as suggested above.  The agar agar yogurt will be thick after culturing. Place in fridge until cool.  Vegans might also want to experiment with pectin or sunflower lecithin as thickeners.  I personally stay away from seaweed based thickeners (such as agar agar), as it can exacerbate IBD symptoms and cause inflammation in the intestines.  I stopped ingesting carageenan long ago for this reason (it's actually why I started making homemade nut milk 5 years ago).    
It's extremely important to sterilize your jars.  I also sterilize anything that will touch the milk.  I even clean out my blender with a little hydrogen peroxide before I make the cashew milk. 
Here is the milk coming to temperature (185 degrees) in my dutch oven. 
After it reaches 185 degrees, I transfer into a sterilized 4-cup Pyrex. 
Okay, the most annoying thing about making yogurt is waiting for it to reach temp, then waiting for it to cool down.  So I make yogurt in the evening after the kids are in bed, and I watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother or Arrested Development on Netlifx to pass the time.  Win-win! 
Here is the gelatin mixed with water 
I like to use these large 4-cup glass jars 
To culture the yogurt I use an ice chest.  
I simply put the bottom part of my yogurt maker in there, fill with jars, put a makeshift lid on it, and close the large lid.
(I use the bottom part of my salad spinner as a lid). 
The ice chest heats up inside just fine and keeps temp. 
Here it is before I close it up
Here is the yogurt.  So creamy and perfect.  Not ONE gelatin lump found in this recipe!  
Shared on: Allergy-Free WednesdaysWhole Food Fridays,


  1. Heather @Gluten-Free CatJune 8, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I am so incredibly in awe of you! To go through that entire process for dairy-free are incredible! And I love that you watch AD and HIMYM during the process! Love you even more!!! xoxo

    1. Oh, you're too sweet Heather. Thanks. And see we have yet another thing in common - loving awesome shows!! :-)

  • I still have a yogurt maker from my daughter's SCD days (we're both now Paleo), but we haven't used it because neither of us drink dairy anymore. So, I am excited to try this alternative. Sounds great! I'm going to try to make my own coconut milk first, if I can find the time.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a happy, healthy day!

    1. Thanks Dawn.

  • I have made this a couple of times and it is delicious. This last batch I did something really stupid. I left the yogurt on the counter to cool before putting it in the fridge. I then forgot about it until 8 hours later. Is the yogurt ruined? I thought maybe because it is made with a non-dairy milk and a non-dairy yogurt starter, it might be okay. Any ideas?

    1. Thanks for the feedback! So glad you are enjoying the recipe. In all honestly, I think it should be fine. Go ahead and put it in the fridge until it sets up and give it a sniff. If it smells like good-ole' yogurt than you're good. I think you're fine. Good question though. I am totally paranoid about leaving stuff out. Ha ha.

  • If you don't have a yogurt maker, then how can you maintain the heat for the culturing?

    1. Put it in the oven with the oven light on. Or use a heating pad inside a cooler. Any heating element will work. I don't use my yogurt maker in the traditional way...I simply use the heating element to culture. You can read more about that in the post. Hope this helps!



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