Update on Coconut Milk Yogurt
Well, this experience was definitely interesting and a total learning process!
As I mentioned in my OP, I found a recipe for making coconut milk yogurt on a blog with a luscious picture that made my mouth water. Only after starting did I notice that Mark has a recipe in his cookbook too (how did I not notice? lol), luckily they were nearly identical.
Making the yogurt is truly not rocket science, but I felt it needed a lot of babysitting unless you have specific equipment. After you mix coconut milk and yogurt starter/premade yogurt, you have to keep it between 110 and 115 degrees for 24 hours. I really struggled with this! One method is leaving it in the oven with the light on (but no heat) and that worked really well...except I needed to use the oven, twice. However, if you have a yogurt-maker, dehydrator, or don't use your oven a lot, keeping the right temperature might not be such a PIA.
The end product was a thin, kind of sour, coconutty, yogurt. It tastes like plain dairy
yogurt, but with a coconut twist. As Mark comments in the cookbook, the consistency is thinner than traditional yogurt--more like a Kefir. Overall, I wasn't thrilled. I enjoy raw coconut milk in my smoothies enough that I don't think I would use this and this stuff just wasn't good enough to eat solo (IMO). Even when I added half a mashed banana to half a cup of it I wasn't digging it. I kept thinking I could have just put the same amount of coconut milk and banana in a blender and enjoyed drinking that more, haha.
So basically, while the flavor wasn't for me, for those who cannot tolerate dairy and desperately want a thicker, yogurt like concoction this might be a good option. If you want to thicken it up, maybe geltin or xanthan gum might do the trick. I'm also straining some of mine to see what that does to the texture, so that's a possibility too. I'm glad I made it, because now I feel more confident dairy yogurt from home, but I doubt I'll be making coconut milk yogurt a staple in our house!
What yogurt starter did you use and where did you get it?
Instead of yogurt starter, you can use 1/4 cup of yogurt from a prior batch or store bought (this was on the blog and in Mark's book) so I bought So Delicious Plain Coconut Milk Yogurt from WF.