In an Instant Pot with a yogurt function, remove the seal from the lid. Clean the lid and the inner pot with hot soapy water, or place in the dishwasher, and dry thoroughly. Set aside. (see note)
Place coconut milk and cream in clean medium pot, reserving ¼ cup of the coconut milk in a small bowl. Heat coconut milk over medium heat until it has started to steam and bubble around the edges, to 180ºF (we like to use our Thermapen for this).
Meanwhile add Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin to the small bowl with coconut milk and stir to combine and let it soften.
Once coconut milk has reached 180ºF, take a few tablespoons of hot milk from pot and whisk into the bowl of softened gelatin until it is completely dissolved. Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the pot of coconut milk and whisk together.
Place the hot coconut milk in the Instant Pot inner liner, and let cool until it reaches 105ºF - 110ºF, about 40 minutes.
Once it has cooled enough, in a small bowl (you can use the same one as gelatin) add the live culture together with about ¼ cup of the coconut milk and whisk until it is fully combined. Add it back to the inner pot, add maple syrup and whisk until combined. (see note)
Press the Yogurt function on the Instant Pot until it displays a timer. Set for 8-16 hours, depending on how tangy you want your yogurt and close the lid (see note). Close the lid (without the inner seal). It does not matter whether you press sealing or venting.
Once finished fermenting, whisk the coconut yogurt until it is fully emulsified. It will not be very thick right now because the gelatin needs to set up.Transfer to containers and into the refrigerator to set up at least 4 hours.
Yogurt will keep in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
Read the entire article on How to Make Coconut Milk in the Instant Pot.
You want to make sure the Instant Pot is clean for two reasons: the first is because you are fermenting food and you want to make sure there is no bad bacteria on your Instant Pot. The best way to do this is to put all of your equipment through the dishwasher right before use, or wash with hot and soap water. The second is because if there is any smell leftover on your lid or inner pot, which is known to happen in an Instant Pot, it will likely transfer to the yogurt. So clean it really well.
We are heating up the milk in a pot on the stove because we have found that the milk can get burned when it is heated in the Instant Pot and results in chunky yogurt. If you wish to use the function on the Instant Pot that brings the milk to the proper temperature you can do that.
Coconut yogurt does not thicken the same as dairy milk. That is why you need the help of the beef gelatin. If you wish to skip this to keep it vegan the resulting yogurt will be thin and like a smoothie.
You want your cooled coconut milk temperature to be accurate before adding your culture because if it’s too hot, it could kill the live culture but if it is too cold it might disturb the fermentation. If you wish to speed up the process of the milk cooling down you can place the pot in a ice bath. Just make sure to watch the temperature as it will cool quickly, around 10-15 minutes depending on how cold the ice bath is. If you cool off the milk in the IP inner pot make sure to dry it off thoroughly before using.
There may be a thin skin that has formed on the coconut milk after it has cooled. This is normal, just whisk it together.
The longer you ferment the yogurt, the tangier it will be as the bacteria consumes all of the sugar and the more probiotic bacteria will grow. We tried the yogurt at 8 hours, which was not very tangy at all, to 16 hours which was a bit too tangy for us. We preferred the yogurt on the higher end of fermentation around 12 hours. However depending on the type of culture you are using it may give a different length of time, so be sure to check the instructions on how long to ferment the yogurt.
The finished yogurt will not be as smooth as dairy yogurt because it hasn’t been homogenized in a factory and there are no additives in it! If it does separate, you can whisk it together or use an immersion blender until it is smoother.
If at any point in the process your yogurt starts to smell bad, taste bad, or has any gray or pink liquid something has gone wrong and you will want to throw it out. Yogurt should be pleasantly tangy, but not taste “bad”. We have experienced the yogurt turning bad during one testing phase when we forgot to add the maple syrup and we assume it’s because the bacteria didn’t have any sugar to feed on so they died and the yogurt turned.