Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Home-made Yoghurt

It gave me so much joy to eat this breakfast - home-made muesli with home-made yoghurt - absolutely delicious!

I got a yoghurt-maker late last year, and I thought making my own yoghurt would be a nice healthy and cheap option for the family.  I've been making it ever since, using the sachets from the supermarket.  It's easy and everything - but it's not that much cheaper than buying the tubs.  One day, a couple of weeks ago, I was making up a batch of vanilla yoghurt.  I was emptying the sachet into the canister and thought how it was a distinct colour - and how, even though I'm "making it myself", most sachets still contain additives and colours and preservatives and who knows what else!

So, onto Google I hopped and found out that it's not actually hard to make your own yoghurt from scratch.  I also received some wisdom from my friend Naomi, who has also recently started making yoghurt herself.  I've done a few batches now - it has such a smooth and mild taste, and none of the tang that you often get from natural yoghurt.  We definitely prefer it strained, and therefore thicker and creamier. I often just dollop it on some chopped up fruit for the kids, or have it with muesli.  Sometimes I'll add vanilla or cinnamon or honey, or just enjoy it plain.

I'm a pretty busy person, but with a bit of planning, I really don't find it any hassle to make yoghurt from scratch.  I usually do it while I'm cooking dinner or something else, so it's no extra time in the kitchen.  It's so cheap, because you only use milk - so you can make this for as little as $1/litre!

I've had to do a bit of trial and error as a couple of batches didn't have the same creamy consistency as others - but it's worth even checking out other recipes or You Tube clips and getting some ideas.  It's also interesting to read about the bacteria and why you heat it and cool it to a certain temperature.  And how satisfying to give your kids a real, sugar-free, additive-free, home-made product.

1 litre milk (can be skim or full-fat)
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt (with live cultures)

Pour milk into a large saucepan and heat gently until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit/80 degrees celsius.  I use a thermometer so I know I'm getting it right!  Hold at that temperature for a few minutes then remove from heat.

Cool the milk to 115 degree Fahrenheit/45 degrees celsius.  You can simply leave it out, or help the process along by putting the saucepan in a sink of cold water.

Remove 1 cup of the milk and thoroughly mix in the yoghurt.  Then add back to the milk and mix it all together well.

Pour into jars or canister and keep warm - I use my Easiyo maker for this (it uses boiling water in a thermos-type contraption) - or you can keep it in a warm oven, or look online for more ideas!  Keep warm for about 7 hours, until it starts to thicken.

Refrigerate until cold and set.  You can either use it at this stage, or strain through piece of cheesecloth or muslin (I cut up an old baby wrap), until thick and creamy (about 2 hours in the fridge - put strainer over a bowl to catch the whey).  It's a good idea to take out 2 tablespoons of your finished yoghurt straight away and put in an air-tight container, ready to use for your next batch.


Sharna Brown said...

If you don't mind the whey it is better to keep it as it contains a lot of protein and other good stuff. If you really prefer it strained then look into some recipes to use this too.

Karen Schultz said...

You should check out Caspian Sea yoghurt (also known as Matsoni yogurt). Just mix 100ml of the yoghurt with 900ml milk, leave it on the kitchen bench overnight and voila! Amazing yoghurt. I'm down for meetings the next 2 nights. I'll try to remember to bring you some to use as a starter.

Vanessa Gibson said...

That's great Sharna, it would be good to use the whey rather than throw it out!

Wow Karen, that sounds fab! :-)