• TheSimpleCountryCreative

Simple Food: Make Your Own Yoghurt

The best way to know exactly what's in your food is to make it yourself. Luckily, it's often easier than you might expect! As an added bonus there are less food miles, less packaging and you often save money.


Yoghurt is delicious, has lots of healthy probiotics to improve your gut flora and can be used in many sweet and savoury ways (freeze as icy poles in summer!).


Basic theory behind making yoghurt.


When yoghurt cultures (the right kind of bacteria) are added to milk, the cultures start to eat the lactose or any other sugars in the milk. This happens most effectively at a temperature between 37-43 degrees celsius. Above 45 degrees, the cultures will die.

Most yoghurts are made spending about 10-12 hours at that desired temperature. If you extend that time, more sugars are consumed (and acid is produced as a by-product), making the yoghurt more tart. So you can extend your fermentation time if you like your yoghurt more sour.


Yoghurt thickens due to bonds formed between the proteins. It’s important not to jiggle or stir the yoghurt while it is forming or it won’t be as thick. Yoghurt can be thickened additionally by adding milk powder at the start or by straining the whey out afterwards (turning into “Greek-style” rather than “Natural” yoghurt.


The ingredients are super simple, but the technique requires care. Temperature and cleanliness are key. You’re creating the perfect conditions to breed bacteria, so you want to make sure you are growing the right ones. Make sure all your equipment etc is sterile.


How To Make Dairy-Based Yoghurt


Making Yoghurt With My Yoghurt Maker


My No-Fuss method uses the Davis and Waddel Yoghurt Maker/Fermenter a little electric machine designed to keep the incubation period super-consistent for a more regulated result. There are a number of similar machines on the market, this simply fit my requirements the best: relatively cheap at around $40-60 (2019), fairly robust, holds over 1L milk and is easy to clean.

One hour to go...

Ingredients:

1.5L of UHT milk* and 2g powdered culture (I use Mad Millie culture)

or 1.45L of milk and 150ml of natural, plain fresh yoghurt with active cultures and no thickeners.

1-2 Tbsp milk powder (optional - gives a thicker, creamier result)


*UHT milk is already heat treated, so the normal, bug-killing first step of pre-heating the milk is NOT required.


Method:


Load it up: Place ingredients into sterile machine container. Stir well. Turn on machine, set program and go about your life.

Come back in 10 hours when machine shuts off (or sometime after that). I often leave it overnight.


Strain (optional): For thicker “Greek-style” yoghurt, pour yoghurt into included strainer basket and let it drain in the refrigerator for about 6 hours. If you want extra thick yoghurt, allow the mixture to strain overnight. Discard the whey that drains out of the yoghurt or save it and use it in recipes that call for “buttermilk” like pancakes, cupcakes and muffins.


Store: Transfer your yoghurt to some sealed storage container(s) and refrigerate about 3 hours until cold. I also save 150ml and freeze it as the starter for my next batch. You can do this for about 6-7 consecutive batches until it's best to start with a fresh culture (new powdered culture or some shop yoghurt).


Add flavourings (optional): After the yoghurt has fully set and cooled, you can add flavourings and mix-ins! Or, store it plain and add your flavours before serving.


Making Yoghurt With No-Fancy-Equipment


I love using my machine as I make yoghurt regularly and it is super convenient, but if you want to try making yoghurt, there's no need to drop money on a machine. Here's how to do it.


Major Equipment:

A heavy-based saucepan for the stove

A cooking thermometer that doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot (clip-on is ideal)

Large bowl (or sink) with cold water and an ice brick/ice in it

Storage containers - covered glass, ceramic or plastic

Cheesecloth and colander for straining (optional)

Incubator


Choosing your incubator. Your around-the-house options may be:

A thermos pre-warmed by swishing around hot water and emptying, then wrapped in a blanket/towels.

A jar(s) in a small esky or cooler bag filled half-way with warm water. This water can be temperature-tested and have hotter water added/substituted when needed.

An oven. Warm to about 50-60 degrees C then turn off. Alternatively, some ovens have a “yoghurt” setting.

A slow cooker. Heat to 50 degrees C (or until warm) then turn off. Wrap your yoghurt pot in a towel and place inside. Alternatively, some slow cookers have a “yoghurt” setting.

A microwave. Some microwaves have a “yoghurt” setting. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


Ingredients:

1 L full cream milk

2 Tbsp natural, plain fresh yoghurt with active cultures and no thickeners*.

1 Tbsp milk powder (optional - gives a thicker, creamier result)


*You can also use a purchased powdered yoghurt culture - follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine the correct amount to use for your quantity of milk.


Method:


Heat the milk: Add the milk to the large pot, and place over medium heat. Heat the milk until it reaches at least 80 degrees Celsius (or just begins to boil).


Cool the milk: Once the milk reaches 80 degrees C, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to around 40 degrees.

To speed the cooling process, place the large pot in the cold water bath, stirring the milk occasionally.


Add the starter: Once the milk reaches 43 degrees, combine about 1 cup of the warm milk with the yoghurt starter (and milk powder) and stir to combine. Add the yoghurt-milk mixture to the pot and stir gently until fully combined.


Incubate: Pour or ladle the warm mixture into the thermos (if using), jar or other covered heat-safe container (if using a microwave, oven or slow cooker). Set it in your chosen incubator. Leave it for about 10 hours and do not disturb it. It can be “ready” in as little as 5 hours or left over night. The longer you leave it, the more tangy it becomes. Taste it and see what you think! You now have “Natural” yoghurt.


Strain (optional): For thicker “Greek-style” yoghurt, spoon the yoghurt into a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it drain in the refrigerator for about 6 hours. If you want extra thick yoghurt, use a double layer of cheesecloth or a coffee filter, and allow the mixture to strain overnight. Discard the whey that drains out of the yoghurt (or use it for recipes that call for “buttermilk” like pancakes, cupcakes and muffins)


Store: Transfer your yoghurt to your storage container(s) and refrigerate about 3 hours until cold.


Add flavourings (optional): After the yoghurt has fully set and cooled, you can add flavourings and mix-ins! Or, store it plain and add your flavours before serving.


#simplecooking #simplefood #homecooking #homemadeyoghurt #yoghurt




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