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You’ll need a 1 -quart preserving jar with a lid for this recipe. Wash the jar and all utensils thoroughly in very hot soapy water, then run them through a hot rinse cycle in the dishwasher to sterilize.
Put 3 tablespoons filtered water in a small bowl, sprinkle on the gelatin, and soak for 2 minutes.
Combine the coconut milk and vanilla seeds (if using) in a saucepan and gently heat, stirring with a spoon, over medium-low heat until just starting to simmer (200°F, if testing with a thermometer). Do not allow to boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. While still hot, mix in the gelatin mixture, then add the sweetener and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and set aside to cool to lukewarm (100°F or less).
Pour cup of the cooled coconut milk mixture into a sterilized bowl. Open the probiotic capsules (if using). Stir the probiotic powder or starter culture and lemon juice (if using) into the coconut milk in the bowl. Add the remaining coconut milk and mix well.
Pour the coconut milk mixture into the sterilized jar and seal the lid loosely. Ferment in a warm spot for 12 hours at 100–104°F. To maintain this temperature and allow the yogurt to culture, wrap your jar in a kitchen towel and place it on a plate in the oven with the door shut and the oven light on. The light’s warmth will keep the temperature consistent. Alternatively, place the kitchen towel–wrapped jar in a cooler, fill a heatproof container with boiling water and place it beside the jar – do not allow them to touch – and close the lid. Replace the boiling water halfway through the fermenting process.
Once fermented, the yogurt tends to form air bubbles and looks as though it has separated. Stir well and refrigerate for at least 5 hours before eating. If it separates after chilling, give it a good whisk. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
NOTE: Feel free to add in some spices, cacao, berries, or other types of in-season fruit that you love or some activated nuts and seeds (unless you’re doing Autoimmune Paleo). If you want to get serious about yogurt-making, you might like to look for an electric yogurt maker or dehydrator that allows for at least twenty-four hours of fermentation time.
Recipe excerpted from The Complete Gut Health Cookbook: Everything You Need to Know about the Gut and How to Improve Yours by Pete Evans and Helen Padarin (Weldon Owen, $24.95)