yogurt kefir sour cream

You’ve probably heard that fermented foods are great for you, and they are, if they are made with good quality ingredients, and include a healthy, healing mix of probiotic cultures, and they don’t have sugar in them. But products that meet all those criteria are not easy to find in grocery stores! So I’ve put together this set of instructions to guide you in making your own yogurt, kefir, and sour cream – it’s super easy, and the end results are so delicious and good for you, you might never want to go back to store-bought!

While these instructions will work using dairy products, for optimal health, I recommend using coconut milk or coconut cream instead of dairy. Be sure to choose coconut milk and coconut cream that do not have any additives or thickeners such as guar gum (which is a gut irritant for many).

Yogurt

Directions

  • Pour 2 cans of coconut milk into a saucepan and heat to 145 degrees, stirring frequently.
    • If you don’t have a thermometer, that’s fine, just heat the milk until it is just barely starting to bubble/simmer.
  • Note: This gentle heat treatment helps to create a neutral bacterial environment into which to introduce the specific bacteria we want to create our healthy homemade yogurt.
  • Remove from heat, cover (to keep out bacteria from the environment), and let sit and cool gradually until it is around 100°F (= slightly warm to the touch).
  • If you are in a hurry, you can speed up the cooling process by putting the saucepan in a cold water bath and then stirring the milk frequently.
  • When the milk is ~100°F, gently mix in 1/2 packet (~1T) of powdered probiotic starter into the slightly warm milk, gently stirring or whisking until it is well mixed in.
  • Pour the mixture into glass jars, put lids on, and keep at ~100 degrees, undisturbed, for at least 24 and up to 36 hours. [Here’s a quick how-to on prepping your jars in 60 seconds.]
Methods for keeping mixture at ~100°F degrees:
  • put in a yogurt maker
  • sit them on top of a heating pad kept on low
  • put in the oven with the incandescent light bulb on
  • keep in the oven turned on lowest setting beforehand and then turned off and kept closed
  • while still warm, wrap in a towel and place in an insulated cooler or in a high, warm cupboard
Voila! Done.
Place yogurt in fridge and enjoy some every day. If you like it thicker, strain it through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to remove some of the excess liquid.

Kefir

Easier to make than than yogurt, kefir is a fermented milk beverage that, when homemade with the right ingredients, is full of wonderful, gut-healing probiotic power!
Pour 2 cans of well mixed, full-fat coconut milk into a glass jar, loosely covered, and leave sitting out on counter until it is at room temperature (65-75 degrees).
Add 1/2 packet of powdered kefir starter, mix well, cover the jar opening with cheesecloth or a paper towel rubber-banded to the opening, and leave it sitting on the countertop at room temp for 1-5 days. It will thicken some (though not as thick as yogurt) and get slightly sour and effervescent. It will get more sour as the days go by – taste it each day along the way. Put it in the fridge when it gets to the level of sourness that you like, and enjoy some every day!

Sour Cream

Pour 2 x 14 oz cans of coconut cream into a sterilized quart glass jar.

Mix 1/2 packet (~1 Tablespoon) of Body Ecology Culture Starter into the coconut cream, and let it sit out at room temperature, undisturbed, for 1-2 days in cooler months, or 12-24 hours in summer.
After 12 hours, check it every couple of hours to see if it is starting to solidify. Once it has thickened some, place it in the refrigerator, and enjoy. It will keep in fridge for 1-2 weeks, and will thicken more as it sits in the fridge. And, like with the yogurt, you can also strain it through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag if you’d like it to be thicker.
* Why do I specifically recommend Body Ecology’s culture and kefir starters? Because they are made especially for balancing the gut microbiome and contain a precise mixture of cultures for creating a healthy, diverse gut flora, which is essential for optimal health! 😊