1 standard can / 400ml / 13.5 ozlight canned coconut milk(no other milk will work) * see notes
2tablespoonsvegan yogurt , be sure it is one with live probiotic cultures. Almost all are but double check. Note that you only need store bought yogurt the first time you make it then you use your own homemade yogurt for subsequent batches
2 tablespoonsmaple syrup , or agave or the same amount of white or cane sugar (do not omit - and don't worry, the yogurt will not taste sweet)
Make sure everything you will be using is scrupulously clean. I run my glass jars, and lids through the dishwasher on the hottest setting. You can also wash them in hot soapy water and put them on a baking tray in an oven at 135 °C (275°F) for 15 to 20 minutes or clean the jars in hot soapy water, rinse them, then put them still drippy and wet into the microwave. Microwave them on high for 45 seconds (do not put metal lids in the microwave - Soak them in boiling water). I also wash my blender jar in hot soapy water, then rinse and fill with boiling water from the kettle, let it sit for a few minutes then pour it out.
Put the cashews in a small bowl and cover them completely with boiling water. Leave them to soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Don't skip this step.
Run a kettle of boiling water through your sieve then drain the cashews really well and add them to a blender. Add the coconut milk, yogurt and maple syrup, then blend until it is completely smooth.
Decant the mixture into clean and dry jars. Any combination of jar sizes that will hold a total of about 600ml (just under 3 cups). I like to use small ones so I have individual sized servings. If you plan on using an Instant Pot make sure before you start filling the jars that they will fit easily together inside the metal inner bowl.
If using an Instant Pot - Place the uncovered yogurt filled jars into the metal inner pot of the Instant Pot. Do not use the trivet and do not add any water to the pot. The jars should be in direct contact with the bottom of the pot and have no lids or other covering on them. Place the lid of the Instant Pot on and close it, then close the steam vent. Press the yogurt button (check that the display says "normal" and not "boil", then adjust the time depending on how long you would like your yogurt to ferment. I suggest a minimum of 10 hours. That will give you a nice thickness and a slight tang. 11.5 hours will give you a more pronounced tang and is how long I leave mine. Do not disturb the Instant Pot/yogurt during this time. You can check it after 10 or 11 hours though. Use a spoon to take a little bit from one jar (without stirring it up first)and taste it. Put the Instant Pot back on again for another hour or two if it's not quite tangy enough.
If you don't have an Instant Pot - Cover the filled jars with cheesecloth, clean fluff-free dish towels/cloths, any clean breathable fabric, or paper towels and elastic bands or string to hold it in place. To culture successfully you need to keep the yogurt at a consistent temperature of anywhere between 29 ° C (85 ° F) and 46 ° C (115 ° F). If your house is 29 °C (85 °F) or more you can leave the covered jars on your countertop away from direct sunlight.If your house is cooler than that, turn your oven to 200 ° C (400 °F) for just 1 minute and no longer. Then turn it off and turn the oven light on. Place the covered jars on a baking tray (for stability) in the oven on the top shelf, with just the oven light on. Do not open the door while it is culturing or you will let the heat out. Also make sure that no-one turns the oven on. A note stuck to the door is a good idea. Do not disturb the yogurt while it is culturing. At 38 ° C (100 °F) the yogurt will take between 10 to 12 hours to culture, thicken nicely and get a good tang. If the temperature is cooler than that it will take longer and if it's warmer then it will happen more quickly. I suggest testing it by scooping a tiny bit out and tasting it after about 10 hours have passed, then add on more time if you want it to be tangier. Remember that at anything much below a temperature of 29 ° C (85 ° F), culturing the yogurt could be problematic, and anything much over 49°C (120 °F) and the good bacteria will be killed. The yogurt will not culture if that happens. To be absolutely sure that conditions will be right I suggest having a practice run before. Check the temperature of your oven with a thermometer after your oven has preheated for the 1 minute and the light has been turned on. If you find it isn't in the right temperature range there are more suggestions in the recipe notes for ways to incubate.
Once the yogurt has incubated and has reached the right amount of tanginess for you, cover securely with a lid and refrigerate thoroughly. Do not stir it. For best results it needs to be undisturbed until completely chilled. It will thicken more as it chills and will continue to thicken the longer you leave it before eating.
Remember to save a few tablespoons of your yogurt so that you can use it to culture your next batch of homemade vegan yogurt.
If you prefer a sweet yogurt, add more sweetener after the yogurt has fermented and chilled.
*The milk you use must be light canned coconut milk. Light coconut milk gives the best and most consistent results. You absolutely cannot use homemade coconut milk, coconut milk from a carton, diluted full fat canned coconut milk, or any other type of plant milk for this recipe. They will not work. I do not recommend using full fat canned coconut milk because it tends to cause separation issues and makes the yogurt way too thick (almost solid) when chilled. For slightly thinner yogurt you can safely increase the amount of light coconut milk to 480 ml / 2 cups. Use glass jarsFor this recipe I recommend incubating the yogurt in glass jars. I do not recommend you make it in one big pot, like the Instant Pot's inner pot. This is because this yogurt gets the very best texture when it is completely undisturbed while it incubates and chills. If you stir it or disturb it you will lose the lovely thick, creamy texture. TemperatureIf you don't use an Instant Pot or yogurt maker which will control the temperature and keep it consistent, I would highly suggest you check the temperature of the yogurts location with a thermometer. It is really important that the yogurt stays consistently between 29 ° C (85 ° F) and 46 ° C (115 ° F). Here are some suggestions for ways to keep your yogurt warm so it incubates successfully:
Warm house? - If your house is around 29 °C (85 °F) or more you can leave the covered jars on your countertop away from direct sunlight and in a spot where they won't be disturbed.
In your oven oven - Preheat your oven to 200 ° C (400 °F) for 1 minute then turn it off. Sit your jars on a baking tray for stability then place them in the oven on the top shelf with the oven light on.
Use your home heating - Place your jars of yogurt near (but not too near) the furnace, radiator, fireplace, stove.
On top of your fridge/fridge freezer - This is usually a nice warm spot and works well if you don't have built in appliances.
In the airing cupboard - If you are in the UK in an older style house you might well have one of these.
A warm closet - I have forced air heating in my house and the closets have vents into them and get really warm.
To culture successfully you need to keep the yogurt at a consistent temperature of anywhere between 29 ° C (85 ° F) and 46 ° C (115 ° F). I recommend checking the temperature is ok with a thermometer if you can't use an Instant Pot or yogurt maker. Success Tips
Follow the recipe exactly. Vegan yogurt is finicky. If you make any changes at all it might not work as well or even at all.
Be sure to soak the cashews even if you have a high powered blender. We want this super-duper smooth.
Canned light coconut milk should be used to make this vegan yogurt recipe. I don't recommend using full fat coconut milk as it will make the yogurt too firm and also tends to separate. Don't be tempted to buy full fat canned coconut milk and dilute it yourself to make "light" coconut milk. That does not work in this recipe.
Blend everything absolutely thoroughly.
Do not omit the sweetener. It is necessary for the bacteria to feed on. Don't worry, your yogurt won't taste sweet because it's all consumed by the time the yogurt has fermented.
Ensure the yogurt you use to "seed" your yogurt is a cultured/live one. Most are but double check. If you don't like the results using a particular brand of yogurt try another one next time. Better quality yogurts will give better results.
Makes sure everything is very very clean.
For this recipe I recommend incubating the yogurt in glass jars. I do not recommend you make it in one big pot, like the Instant Pot's inner pot. This is because this yogurt gets the very best texture when it is completely undisturbed while it incubates and chills. If you stir it or disturb it you will lose the lovely thick, creamy texture.
If using an Instant Pot do not set your jars on the trivet. They need to be directly in contact with the inner pot. Don't use the trivet at all.
Don't use metal utensils, pots or bowls as there's a small chance prolonged contact with them could harm the bacteria in the yogurt.
Try not to disturb the yogurt in the jars. It gets much thicker if you leave it well alone.
If you've got an Instant Pot with a yogurt function use it. It makes this process so easy!
I like to make my yogurt just before I go to bed. That way the incubation time happens while you sleep.
If separation occurs There is a chance that despite your best efforts you might get some separation occurring. If it's a just a really small amount of separation in the bottom of the jar, just stir it in and pop the jar back in the fridge. Often that's enough to get it to stay nicely homogenized. If there's a lot of separation you have 2 options:
Scoop off the creamy top and put it in a clean jar and discard the watery part.
Strain it. Line a sieve with cheesecloth and sit it over a bowl. Pour in the yogurt and cover the top with a clean, fluff-free cloth or more cheese cloth. Place the whole thing in the fridge for 24 hours. The liquid will slowly drip down and out into the bowl leaving you thick and creamy yogurt in the sieve. Once 24 hours have passed, scoop the creamy yogurt into a lidded jar.
Nutritional information is calculated without the optional maple syrup