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The General Process

Yogurt is a wonderful food and a major ingredient of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Yogurt can be made with any mammalian milk and also there are non-dairy yogurts (see below). Refrigeration is a fairly recent phenomenon in the history of man. Before refrigeration, yogurt was one of the only ways to preserve milk for any length of time.

The basic principles are simple. The milk (or other substance) is heated to 185 degrees F (180 degrees F for goat milk) for two minutes to kill off any existing bacteria. Then it is cooled by letting it sit out or placing the pot in cold water until the liquid reaches room temperature. Some instructions say 'until it is below 100 degrees F.' Elaine wrote on page 155 (May 2010 edition) that to avoid temperature shocking your culture, it is wisest to cool the milk to room temperature before adding the culture. Note that the jump from 65 to 95 degrees F is similar to the jump in temperature from ingesting something so it should not necessarily be a problem for the bacteria.

'Room temperature' ranges between 68 and 80 degrees F or between 20-26 degrees C. SCD yogurt should be fermented between 100 degrees F and 110 degrees F or 38-43 degrees C. Elaine wrote (page 156 May 2010 edition) and it is generally agreed that this temperature is optimal for the bacteria that will be introduced into the yogurt process to grow. The bacteria feed on the milk sugar (lactose), multiply and populate the milk, blocking out the harmful bacteria.

Do not be afraid to make yogurt. After the first time, you will see that it is as easy as rolling off a log. Your grandmother or great grandmother probably made it everyday. Wendy's mother told her that in her mother's day, when a woman moved to a new neighborhood, one of the first things she did was to go next door and borrow (not the proverbial "cup of sugar") but a half a cup of yogurt to use as the starter for her own yogurt.

Why do we care about yogurt? Two basic reasons: 1. Yogurt is a delicious and versatile food and useful ingredient. SCD yogurt is used as a source of easily digestible dairy products. It is used to substitute for milk, cream cheese, dry curd cottage cheese, sour cream in recipes such as: sauces, salad dressing, baking, smoothies, etc. Yogurt made with half and half can be used to make icing for a cake 2. Yogurt is a beneficial, natural probiotic. Yogurt is the best source of natural probiotic. Carol has posted - SCD yogurt really is one of the most healthy foods you can find and it is an incredibly good value too. What else gives you 700 BILLION good bacteria per cup, lots of protein, vitamins, minerals, amino acids in an easy to digest, delicious tasting, incredible value, food?

Question - What is the difference between SCD yogurt and any other plain yogurt? Since, lactose must be avoided on SCD, SCD yogurt is processed for at least 24 hours to ensure that all the lactose has been consumed by the starter bacteria. Commercial yogurts are processed for much less time. Also, commercial yogurts add sugar and milk solids after the processing so they are unsuitable for SCD. You must make your own.

Yogurt is a wonderful and powerful probiotic, but it should be introduced with care. When you first try yogurt, do not scoop up a big batch and throw it in a smoothie. Try just a teaspoon at first and see how it goes. If that goes well, the next day, try a tablespoon. If that goes well, try a quarter cup. etc. Once you know that your gut can tolerate it, you can have more. Soon you will want a lot of it but too much of a good thing can be a problem. Observe the maximum amounts below.

Question - What is the maximum amount of yogurt that should be consumed in a day? Katy posted a recap of what Elaine Gottschall had recommended about maximum daily amounts of yogurt whether or not it was dripped (see below) or undripped. For adults beginning the diet who are unwell with poor digestion and absorption, 2 cups a day should be the maximum. For the average healthy adult 3 cups per day taken regularly should be the absolute maximum. More than this could be taken for short periods. For the average healthy child 2 cups per day should be the maximum.

Everyone is different. For each person, body mass and state of health should be taken into consideration and the amounts scaled back accordingly.

If the yogurt is used as an ingredient in baking, hot stews or in other cooking, the probiotic aspect of the yogurt is lost as the bacteria are killed off by the heat.

Yogurt Makers

There is No One Way

There are many ways to process yogurt and one does not necessarily need a yogurt maker. Elaine wrote about using an oven with a 60 watt bulb in it or an electric warming tray (page 157, May 2010 edition).

Using a Heating Pad

Elaine wrote that some used a heating pad with a towel. Detailed instructions on making yogurt with a heating pad are at the official website: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/knowledge_base/detail/yoghurt-how-to-make-with-heating-pad/

Using a Foam Box

Sandra Ramacher in her book, Healing Foods, writes about modifying her kitchen cabinet with a light bulb that she uses for making yogurt. Before she set up the cabinet, she used a foam box and a small table lamp (Healing Foods, page 19). Some have modified plastic picnic coolers to make yogurt - see below.

Using a Dehydrator

Marilyn uses her Excaliber dehydrator with the trays removed. She sets it at 105 degrees F. One Excaliber nine tray can make 8 quarts (nearly 8 liters) of yogurt at a time as the dehydrator can hold up to four - 2 quart containers. Besides the large capacity, Marilyn posts that the dehydrator temperature does not have to be monitored. Just set it and forget it.

Electric Yogurt Makers

Many of us use the Yogourmet yogurt maker that can be purchased from Lucy's Kitchen Shop. The key feature of this yogurt maker is that it does not have a timer so it is suitable for a 24 hours plus run. The Yogourmet can process 2 quarts (2 liters) at a time.

Using an Oven

Christopher posted -I have gone through all the ways of making yogurt and find the oven method the most efficient way to produce yogurt in the "industrial" quantities I prefer. I have made as much as 15 quarts of yogurt at a time this way. For heating large quantities of milk at one time, Chris uses two very large stock pots, one a little smaller than the other. He puts water in the outer one to create a double boiler. This prevents the milk from boiling over, prevents the milk container from scorching (which can be hard to clean). Using a double boiler assures a more even heating of the milk. You can do the same with two pots of any size that nest.

He pours the cooled milk mixed with starter into plastic containers and puts their tops on. He places the containers in the oven on the racks and lets the heat of the oven light heat maintain the milk temperature. He notes that one should incubate the milk/yogurt for more than 24 hours to take into account the time it takes to heat up the room temperature milk/starter mixture to the proper incubation temperature.

In an oven, the temperature may vary a little from the top to the bottom. He measures with a couple of different thermometers situated at various places in the oven and aims for a temperature of around 105 degrees F.

He advises that one can adjust the oven temp by using different strengths of light bulbs and cracking the oven door open various amounts or not at all. He finds that a 60 or 75 watt bulb with a partially propped open oven does the job. For some, the standard 40 watt bulb or whatever that is already installed in the oven, with a closed door, may yield 105 degree F in the oven. His oven is so big, the temperature will not change very fast. He can get the temperature to stabilize and then just leave the yogurt to itself for hours at a time, periodically checking on it every 8 hours or so.

Joe posted - "Remember to remove the 40 watt or 60 watt regular bulb when the yogurt is done. When we decide to use the oven to bake or broil again, a 40w or 60w regular light bulb is not designed to be used inside an oven, and it may explode making a dangerous mess inside your oven. Ovens normally have a small (25 watt) appliance light bulb with a glass shield covering it.

Anne posted - I tried the 60 watt and it got too hot. Maybe a 60 watt bulb works in a really big oven. The 40 watt in my small/medium size oven gets my yogurt to 115-118 degrees F, depending on how close to the light the containers are. It has been really nice to just stick the jars in there, right from the counter top and forget about them.

Using a Cooler

Linda posted - I took a small cooler, a 40 watt bulb that is plugged into a dimmer switch and a 2 piece, wireless thermometer. I played around with everything until I had a constant temperature of about 109 degrees F. I usually make 1/2 gallon, twice a week. It works really well.

Using a Slow Cooker

Carolyn posts - I have a 2-quart Rival crock pot. It does not get hot enough to bring the milk to 185 degrees, so I poured milk into the slow cooker crock, then set the crock in a saucepan of water on the stove. The pan acted like a double boiler and prevented the milk from sticking. I turned on the heat,stirred with a whisk occasionally and checked the temperature. When the milk reached 185 degrees, I lowered the heat and maintained it for two minutes.

Then, I removed the crock from the saucepan. I dumped the hot water out of the pan (be careful not to slosh the hot liquids). Then, I put cold water in the saucepan and set the crock back in the saucepan to cool the milk down to 100 degrees. I had to change the water a couple of times.

Once the milk is cooled, I lifted the crock from the saucepan, wiped the water off the bottom, and set the crock in the slow cooker. I put my yogurt starter in a small bowl, added some of the cooled milk using a ladle and stirred well. Then, I poured the starter mixture back into the rest of the milk and stirred.

I turned the slow cooker to the Warm setting. When I had tested mine, the crock pot had gotten warmer than 110 degrees F. To keep the temperature lower, I used a dimmer device (Home Depot or Digestive Wellness) and set it at the 50% mark. That kept the milk right around 105 degrees F.

Carolyn offers a useful website for crock pot yogurt:


Yogurt Starters

Elaine recommended Lactobacillus bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, and S. thermophilus in the book (page 156 of the May 2010 edition) for use as yogurt starters. Later, although it is not in the book, she added l. casei as an allowable starter bacteria. These bacteria make good yogurt and they are very beneficial for our guts.

She did not want starter mixtures containing yeasts or bifidus as they tend to over grow.

Elaine specifically recommended not using yogurt from the previous batch of homemade yogurt as a starter for the next batch as it might not be sufficiently populated. Commercial yogurt can be used as a starter if the active cultures are limited to the four allowable strains mentioned above. Dannon whole milk yogurt has qualified as an SCD permissible starter, but one should always check which cultures have been used.

Many people on SCD use commercial yogurt packets of starter bacteria. Yogourmet makes a SCD legal packet (LS9212) with the above bacteria available from Lucy's Kitchen Shop. If you buy the packets in the bulk box of 12 as it is more economical, it is best to keep the packets in the freezer. That will keep the bacteria as dormant as possible. Keep the box you are currently using in the refrigerator. When you plan to make yogurt, take out the packet(s) you need from the refrigerator right at the start to allow the bacteria to warm up a little before using.

Do not worry if there is lactose listed as an ingredient in the starter packet. The lactose is there to feed the bacteria while they are in storage and will be completely consumed in the yogurt making process.

SCD yogurt is always more tart than regular yogurt as no sugar is added and all lactose has been processed out. The lower the fat content of the milk, the more tart the SCD yogurt. Also, some believe that the Yogourmet yogurt starter produces a tarter yogurt than using Dannon or the GiProHealth starter. If you like things sweet when you eat your yogurt, just add some fruit and/or honey.

As a point of information, in order to be designated as YOGURT, the fermented product must have s. thermophilus and l. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus and/or l. casei. These are all permitted on SCD. Without the s. thermophilus and l. bulgaricus, it is a fermented milk product, not yogurt.

How to Make

You can use any type of milk to make yogurt. Cow's milk will be discussed here. See below for other milks. You can use powdered milk, skimmed milk, 1 percent, 2 percent, whole milk, and "half and half'(half milk with half cream). The more fat that is in the milk, the thicker the yogurt and the less tart it will be. Do not add extra milk powder. Do not add gelatin before processing.

Some chose different types of milk depending on the intended purposes. Wendy wondered what all the fuss was about on the post about half and half yogurt until she tried it. Wow! What joy! Even from having just a heaping tablespoon of it a day. Did you know that 90 percent of serotonin is manufactured in the gut? (The Second Brain by Michael D. Gershon, M.D.)

For cow's milk, heat the milk to 185 degrees F and maintain that temperature for two minutes. (See below for other types of yogurt). Stir the milk a lot to prevent scalding. A double boiler is useful for this as the water bath reduces the chance of scalding. After the milk reaches 185 degrees F, maintain for two minutes and then cool the milk down. To speed the cooling, you can set it in a dish pan with cold water. A dial thermometer with a long metal probe in the range of 50 - 200 degrees F is needed for making yogurt. These are available in any kitchen store. It is recommended to stir the mixture before measuring and hold the thermometer in place for 25 - 30 seconds to get an accurate reading.

Why Does One Heat the Milk?

Marilyn posted - "The objective of the pasteurization of the milk is to kill off the competing bacteria. SCD yogurt is fermented a great deal longer than typical yogurt, and that includes typical yogurt made from raw milk. We do not want any of those competing bacteria reproducing during the long period of fermentation, and therefore, we sacrifice some of the great enzymes, etc. for that."

We pasteurize the already pasteurized milk again for the sake of safety, to prevent the wrong bacteria from reproducing in the milk. Using raw milk without heating to 185 degrees F first is especially risky. If there are harmful bacteria in the raw milk, they will reproduce in the fermentation process and this could cause severe food poisoning. Cow's milk should be heated to 185 degrees F. Goats milk is heated to a lower temperature (180 degrees F, see below).

Question - What happens if I overheat it and it goes above 185 degrees F? PJ has posted, "I have made the mistake of getting distracted and boiling the milk over. It makes a huge mess on the stove and gets a "skin" on top, but other than that, the yogurt turns out fine for cows milk. This would ruin goat milk." (See goat milk yogurt below).

Cooling the Milk

The BTVC book (page 155 in the 2010 edition) says to cool the milk down to room temperature (64-77 degrees F or 20-23 C); however, that is not critical. The mixture only needs to be down below 100 degrees. The jump from room temperature to 98 degrees F is the difference between picking up something at room temperature on one's spoon and ingesting it. Bacteria are quite used to that change.

After the milk has cooled down sufficiently, put the starter in the yogurt container. Use one packet of starter or one quarter cup of commercial yogurt per liter (quart)of milk. Add a little of the processed milk and stir it up to get the starter well blended. Then, add the rest of the milk and stir thoroughly to blend well. Put the cover on the yogurt container and place the container in the yogurt maker, dehydrator, oven or whatever you are using. If you have not done so already, turn on the appliance. Some people turn on the appliance while the milk is heating to warm up the equipment.

Put on the outer cover. Make a note of the time and plan to process for 24 to 26 hours. If you goof,forget about your yogurt and let it run past 28 hours, the yogurt will still be good but it will not last as long - maybe only a few days. The bacteria have been stressed out.

After at least 24 hours of processing, refrigerate for at least 8 hours to let the yogurt settle and to slow down the bacterial activity. We want to preserve that bacteria for our guts. Depending on the quality of your refrigerator, yogurt will last for at least several weeks.

Yogurt Temperature Control

This is the critical part of making yogurt that many beginners worry about. During the 24 hour process, it is key that the yogurt not get too hot and kill off the processing bacteria. The ideal range for making yogurt is 100 - 110 degrees F. At 120 degrees F, the bacteria will be killed off and you do not want that. Since yogurt makers were not designed for a 24 hour run and do not have thermostats, some people use dimmers to cut back the power after the first few hours. Lamp dimmers are available at local hardware stores or at digestive wellness.com. The heat can also be modulated by adjusting or removing the outer cover. (Always keep the inner cover on to keep the mixture clean).

Dehydrators are easy in this regard, just set it and forget it. With a new yogurt maker or any other new device, it is suggested that you do a trial run using water, measuring every few hours to see how it behaves. Once you see the heating pattern of your device, you can adjust accordingly. Since the temperature of the room may be a factor, you may need to vary your procedure for summer and winter.

Lucy of Lucy's Kitchen Shop and someone who knew Elaine Gottschall well, has posted that Elaine called LyoSan (the company that manufacturers the Yogourmet yogurt maker and yogurt starter). They told her that the bacteria grows best between 105-115F (if it goes a little above or below this range it is OK). What is recommended is to avoid going over 120F. If you find your yogurt maker is running over 115F, then run it with the outer lid off. That will allow a certain amount of heat to escape.

Lucy explained that in the Yogourmet yogurt maker, the heating elements are in the walls of the yogurt maker, and none are in the bottom, so the water in the outer container is being heated from the sides only. Running it with the lid off does not allow as much heat to build up within the yogurt maker. You do not need to take the lid off and on, just leave it off from beginning to end if you want the cooler temperature. It will not get too low.

Keep in mind that running a yogurt maker in a very warm room tends to make it run warmer. Elaine used a Yogourmet, and recommended it all the time, knowing the temperature range it runs at. So, once again, if your yogurt maker runs over 115F, just run it with the outer lid off. A lamp dimmer can also be used.

The Yogourmet yogurt maker comes with a thermometer. Since it is a Canadian product, they give the best position to the Centigrade scale. The Fahrenheit scale is compressed pretty tightly and cannot be read as accurately. If reading it is a problem, buy another thermometer that shows Fahrenheit clearly.

Question - What do I measure, the milk or the water? When you are heating the milk to 185 degrees F, you have to measure the milk. When you are processing the yogurt and monitoring the temperature, it does not matter which you measure; however, measuring the water bath is more convenient. If you measure the water, you do not have to wash off the thermometer stick each time and you do not have to lift the inner lid. Keeping the thermometer in a clean glass nearby during the process is handy. Some leave it wedged between the inner and outer containers.

Dripping and Draining

To drip or not to drip? That is the question. Dripping or draining are totally optional. Many people like to drip it to remove some or all of the cloudy liquid in the yogurt, called the "whey."

Reasons to not drip:

  • I do not want to be bothered with the process. I just spoon off the excess.
  • I want a more fluid mixture.
  • I like my yogurt to get a little more tart as time goes by.

Reasons to drip:

  • I like a thicker yogurt.
  • I want to make yogurt cheese (can be used as a substitute for dry curd cottage cheese (DCCC).
  • I want to reduce the amount of galactose that my liver must process and most of the galactose is located in the whey.
  • I want to harvest the whey to use to ferment vegetables. See fermenting with whey below.

How long do your drip? Answer - That is totally up to you and what you want to accomplish.

If you decide to drip, you can use cheese cloth, coffee filters or cotton handkerchiefs in a colander. Marilyn is a champion yogurt dripper. Here is Marilyn's post on the subject.

"The following directions are for dripping cow's milk yogurt. I drip ALL my yogurt, and since I use a LOT of yogurt, only the best mass production methods work! I find that I get the best results from dripping yogurt which has been chilled at least eight hours (for a two liter / half gallon batch) in the refrigerator.

I bought a dozen inexpensive all cotton handkerchiefs at an outlet store for dripping yogurt. I wet one, and line a colander with it (wetting it makes it stick to the sides of the colander so it doesn't go FLOP just as the yogurt goes PLOP) and then scrape the yogurt into it. I cover it and set it over a bowl. And then fold the handkerchief corners up over the top of the bowl. (If you don't, they will wick the liquid up and over the side of the bowl, says the woman who came back to find a counter covered with yogurt drippings...)

When dripping a half-gallon of half and half yogurt, I only get about 2 cups of liquid out of the half gallon, whereas with regular whole milk, I get 4 cups liquid to throw away. It takes anywhere from 4-6 hours to get the yogurt dripped the way I like it. Dripped or drained yogurt is also called yogurt cheese.

The advantage to the handkerchief is that after a couple hours, I can remove the cover, gather up the corners of the handkerchief, and hang the package from a string on my cupboard door to finish draining. When it is drained, I can open the handkerchief, and turn the dripped yogurt into a storage container, and use a spatula to scrape the remaining yogurt off the handkerchief. Then I can easily wash the handkerchief, and, if desired, rinse it in bleach water to sterilize it. (Personally, I think American / Canadian reliance on antibacterials is absurd: hot water and soap get rid of as many bad buggies as most of the commercial antibiotic products.)

I keep meaning to sew some bias tape along the edges of the handkerchiefs to create self-strung yogurt drippers, but somehow, I'm always trying a new recipe, instead of doing that!"

Question - Will my yogurt spoil while it is dripping?

No. Kim posted, "I routinely leave my yogurt dripping into a bowl on my kitchen counter (in a cool, dark corner) when I go to work, so it is 8 to 10 hours before I get home again. That gives me a more solid, drier texture. It also has the advantage of removing more galactose. If I am dripping yogurt on a weekend, then I tend to leave it out for 6 or 7 hours.

It doesn't hurt the yogurt to be at room temperature for a number of hours. It does not go bad unless you leave it at room temperature for a number of days -- or you happen to live in a extremely hot house in an extremely hot climate. My dripped yogurt always lasted at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator after my usual 8 to 10 hours room temperature dripping process."

Question - Does one refrigerate the yogurt before or after dripping?

A recent line of questions concerned the subject of whether one should refrigerate yogurt before or after dripping. Most responses said that it did not matter but that one would get more and better yogurt if it was refrigerated first.

Assuming that the objective is to make the best probiotic formula, if one looks at the principles of the yogurt process, it is clear that the yogurt should be refrigerated immediately after it has been processed and before dripping. Elaine said to refrigerate for eight hours but she did not explain why. Let us examine the process. We process the milk at 100 - 110 degrees F as this is the optimum temperature for the starter bacteria to be most active. "Active" for bacteria means eating voraciously (in this case lactose) and multiplying rapidly. We want both parts: the lactose consumption of a sugar we cannot digest properly and lots of good bacteria remaining to consume to keep our gut happy.

The reason we keep our yogurt starter bacteria in the refrigerator is so that the bacteria will be much less active and not over consume their starter food in the packet. Now, after 24 hours, of processing at 100 degrees F, the yogurt bacteria are at maximum population, but they have consumed all of the lactose (that is why we processed for 24 hours in the first place). If we do not cool our yogurt immediately to slow down the bacteria to a quieter state, they will keep charging forward when it has run out of food.

The bacteria population will start to die off for lack of abundant food. Losing beneficial bacteria is not good from a probiotic point of view. These are the very bacteria that we want to be plentiful when we consume the yogurt to populate our gut. It is important that we use refrigeration first to put on the brakes and preserve our yogurt in the optimum probiotic state.

Using the Whey

Fermented vegetables is an advanced food but our SCD veterans love them. Save the whey in the refrigerator. To make sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, cut up or shred the vegetable, put it in a jar, add salt and whey with water to cover (leave some space at the top). Leave on the kitchen counter for two days, maybe giving it a little stir or shake now and then. Refrigerate and store in the refrigerator. To give you an idea of the quantity of whey needed, a half a cup of whey will process a small head of cabbage and a tablespoon will process a carrot.

Goat Milk Yogurt

The process for goat milk yogurt is very similar to the method for making cow's milk yogurt. Goat yogurt is more delicate so note the lower heating temperature below. Goat's milk yogurt is more runny than yogurt from cow's milk.

Rina and Mara recently posted about their experiences in making goat yogurt.

Make sure to warm the yogurt fermenting container. If you sterilize it with water prior to use, that should help. Wash the yogurt fermenting container then put it in the oven while the oven (or yogurt maker or cooler) heats and the milk cools.

Heat the milk to no more than 180 degrees F and maintain that temperature for two minutes. Then, let it cool to at least below 110 degrees F, better if cooler. Be sure to let the starter come to room temperature first, otherwise the bacteria will be shocked at 110 degrees F and will start slower. Elaine suggests having the milk cool to the 70-80 degree F range. As with cow's milk yogurt, do not overheat. Above 112 degrees F, the starter bacteria will be killed.

Rina uses the GI Pro Health yogurt starter as it is dairy-free and SCD permissible. The GI Pro Health yogurt starter directs using 1/8 teaspoon per 2 quarts of milk and that produces a really loose, drinkable yogurt. Rina likes to make three quarts at a time using 1/2 teaspoon of starter (more than double potency of the directions).

If you wish to add gelatin (unflavored is permissible), add it after the yogurt has fermented because with dairy yogurt; the gelatin can interfere with the fermentation. Add any unflavored gelatin after fermentation and before refrigeration.

Pour the cooled milk into the warmed fermentation crock (Rina uses the insert to a slow cooker/Crock Pot) or into your yogurt container and place in the warmed oven/yogurt maker, etc. and process at 100 - 105 degrees F. Do not stir during or after the 24 hour minimum fermentation period. After 24 hours, chill the yogurt in the refrigerator for at least eight hours. Avoid the temptation to sample it! The space created by removing some yogurt allows the rest to get lazy and wiggle around to fill the gap. When the goat yogurt has chilled, it should be able to be spooned into a bowl with a big serving spoon. If shaken or stirred at that point, it would loosen up.

With regards to goat milk brands, Rina found Meyenberg (in the purple quart at most groceries) to be very strong tasting and the most expensive. Rina felt that it did not set particularly well, but that was early in her goat yogurt making experiences. She found that Trader Joe's goat milk was more mild tasting, the least expensive and set just fine. Mara thinks that Meyenberg makes runny yogurt milk and other brands make thicker yogurt.

Almond Milk Yogurt

Commercially available almond milk is not permitted as it has added sugar, gums or other non-permitted ingredients. You must make your own almond milk by beating up almond flour and water. Page 153 of Breaking the Vicious Cycle (May 2010 edition) has a recipe for almond milk. Take one and one half cups of almond flour, 3 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of honey (optional) and blend for several minutes in a blender or food processor. Drain through a cheese cloth. If you like thick almond milk, you can leave some of the residue in it.

The process is the same general procedure as dairy yogurt. Heat the mixture to 185 degrees F and maintain that temperature for two minutes. Any SCD permissible yogurt starter packets can be used. For those avoiding dairy, Marilyn posts that GI ProStart from GI ProHealth is a SCD permissible non-dairy yogurt starter.

Since there is no lactose, the processing time is only 7 to 12 hours to give the probiotics time to multiply. Gelatin and or vanilla may be added if desired either before or after fermenting.

Coconut Milk Yogurt

Because ready made coconut milk has additives such as gums, there is no permissible commercial source of coconut milk. You have to make your own from coconut and water (see below).

Coconut milk yogurt uses the same general process as cow's milk yogurt. Heat the mixture to 185 degrees F and maintain that temperature for two minutes. One can use the same starter packets as for cow's milk yogurt.

Mara posts that coconut milk yogurt only needs 7 to 12 hours to process, the time it takes to allow the probiotics to sufficiently multiply. The reason that coconut milk yogurt does not need 24 hours is the same as for almond milk, there is no lactose in the milk. The small amount of lactose in the standard yogurt starter packet is to feed the bacteria while they are in storage. Those who are avoiding dairy do not have to worry about the lactose in the starter packet as it will be completely consumed in the process. Marilyn posts that GI ProStart from GI ProHealth is a SCD permissible non-dairy yogurt starter.

Isabelle recently shared a coconut yogurt recipe that she likes very much:

5 cups of shredded dried coconut
8 cups of water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon of honey
yogurt starter sufficient for making 2 quarts (2 standard starter packets)


1. Place shredded coconut in a large pot.
2. Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
4. In batches, put in blender or food processor and run for 3 minutes.
5. Strain mixture thru a nut milk bag into a large bowl.
6. In a separate small bowl dissolve the gelatin and honey in some of the mixture.
7. Add yogurt starter to gelatin honey mix.
8. Pour gelatin/starter/honey mixture into the large bowl and mix well (by hand).
9. Process for 10 hours in a yogurt maker or dehydrator at 110 degrees F.
10. Refrigerate for 6 hours.

Isabelle notes that coconut yogurt typically separates; however, once it has chilled, you can mix it up and it will maintain a smooth texture.

Note: Isabelle's procedure uses a blender after the liquid has cooled. Ruth's procedure blends the liquids when hot.

Ruth cautions to please be very careful when using a blender filled with hot or boiling water, because, when it is filled too full, centrifugal forces can force the boiling water to shoot out the top, and cause burns. Use less water than you normally would with cold liquids. Hold the top down with several dish rags or silicone mitts.

Ruth uses 2 and 2/3 cups of shredded coconut, 2 tablespoons of honey and 3 dates (chopped)for each quart of boiled water. She blends this mixture for five minutes, lets it cool, strains it, adds the starter and begins to ferment. She does not reboil the mixture unless there is a time lapse between the making of the coconut milk and commencing the yogurt processing.

Ruth likes to add gelatin and vanilla after the fermenting process is complete. She notes that coconut yogurt is even runnier than goat yogurt. She chills the mixture for 6 to 8 hours. As with Isabelle's method, the yogurt water will still be separated from the yogurt cream. Like Isabelle, Ruth's last step is to stir it up.

Since Coconut is an advanced food, it is recommended that you test small amounts of coconut to see if coconut is tolerated by you before making a whole batch of yogurt.

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