About 2 years ago I got a bee in my bonnet about making my own yoghurt. I know that a lot of people think that is crazy! There is nothing wrong with the commercially available yoghurt. My mother certainly thought that I had lost my marbles. But I went ahead and did it anyway. And I haven't looked back.
Now I get upset when I do end up buying my yoghurt. It may just be that it tastes better because I have put in a little effort to make it, but I do believe that my yoghurt tastes better and has a creamier texture than commercially produced yoghurt.
There was a lot of trial and error in my initial attempts.
- I made a lot of sour milk!
- I was not prepared to spend a fortune on a special yoghurt maker. It was meant to be an exercise that would reduce my costs, not increase them!
- I started off using recycled glass jars, but I couldn't keep the temperature right.
- And then I had a brainwave! Why not use a thermos flask? It is designed to keep things warm. And it worked very well. The only problem was that the texture of the yoghurt changed when I decanted it into jars to store in the fridge. It worked, but not well enough! (And my flask developed a funky smell)
- So, I spent some more time thinking about it. And then it occurred to me that a cooler bag was also designed to insulate the food or drink inside. It didn't have to keep things cool, it could just as easily keep things warm. I went back to my recycled glass jars and put them in a 6-pack size cooler bag lined with newspaper and… Voila! I haven't looked back.
Most of the recipes I looked at called for fresh milk. I tried. I really did, but the fresh milk just turned sour. I obviously wasn't getting my temperatures right and I wasn't destroying the bacteria that needed to be destroyed. Long life milk came to the rescue. Again, I haven't looked back. It works like a dream.
So, here is my DIY yoghurt recipe.
It works very well for me, but I take no responsibility for sour milk. You may not get it right the first time, but if you are prepared to keep trying, I know that you will get there!
You will need:
1 litre long life fat free milk
1/3 of a cup milk powder (preferably low fat)
1 to 2 tablespoons of plain yoghurt
Clean, empty glass jars with lids
Newspaper and/or clean dish towels
- Pour all of the milk into a medium sized pot.
- Stir in the milk powder.
- Bring the milk almost to the boil on medium heat.
- Remove the pot from the heat and allow the milk to cool to about 45*C (too hot to keep your finger in the milk for more than a second).
- In the mean time boil some water in the kettle and half fill each of the glass jars with boiling water. Swirl the water around and place the lid on .
- When the milk has cooled, add the yoghurt and mix well.
- Pour the water out of the jars.
- Fill each jar with the hot milk and close the lid tightly.
- Place your glass jars into the cooler bag and pack the newspaper or dish towels around them for extra insulation.
- Close the cooler bag and allow the milk to sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours (it needs to stand for longer in winter).
- You should now have yoghurt!
- Store it in the fridge and enjoy with smoothies, granola, in curries etc
- If you own a thermometer that you can stick into hot liquid, the ideal temperature for making yoghurt is 45*C.
- The reason you boil the milk first is to kill any nasty bacteria that may cause the milk to go sour instead of making yoghurt.
- I prefer to use long life milk because it has already been heat treated and the nasty bacteria has already been destroyed. (I have made sour milk from fresh milk a couple of times!)
- You don’t need fancy jars. Recycle your peanut butter jars. Just make sure that they are clean.
- Pouring hot water into the jars before adding the milk will help to sterilize the jars and warm them up to maintain the temperature of the milk so that the bacteria can flourish and make delicious yoghurt!