A couple of months ago I started making our own yoghurt. I can't believe it took me so long to get around to doing it. There is no turning back now.
1. It's so easy
2. It's so yummy
3. It's so much cheaper
We sometimes go through 2 litres of yogurt per week, depending (school lunches, breakfast, yoghurt dips, curries, smoothies and baking) We buy organic, so that is $18.00 per week. Now our weekly yoghurt bill is a meagre $4.50. Sounds like good economy to me.
I had read many different ways to make yoghurt; some people leave it in a low oven overnight, others in a slow cooker (which I don't have), most people I read about, wrapped it in a blanket and put it in the corner of the kitchen to set. This may sound a little pedantic, but I just didn't want a large woollen blanket sitting on my kitchen bench a couple of times a week.
I like things neat and tidy. So when my cousin suggested getting a yoghurt maker from the op shop, it seemed like the way to go for me. I got my yoghurt maker for $5:00 at my local Lifeline. On the day there were 6 to choose from and I also got the container to go with it. However, having said that, always the practical one, my cousin also suggested I buy a round one litre 'Decor' container, that fits perfectly inside the yoghurt makers. This was harder to find than an op shop 'Esiyo'. I went to five shops before finding them at a large 'Big W' store. I bought two.
I didn't know it at the time, but this was a good idea, as the container that came with my yoghurt maker holds only 900 ml, so the quantity below makes too much yoghurt for the container. Now my 'Esiyo' container has taken on another life in my kitchen as a measuring jug. I alternate between the two 'Decor' containers for making my weekly batches of yoghurt.
Barambah Organics is (was?) my favourite yogurt, so I have used it as my starter. And with the absence of a house cow in my small suburban backyard, I used either this milk or this milk from local dairies to make my yoghurt.
I put my milk on the stove top and bring it up to the required 80-82 degrees. I measure out 2 tablespoons of last weeks yoghurt and put it into a bowl. I also boil my jug ready to fill my yoghurt maker.
After the milk has been heated up, then cooled down and mixed with the yoghurt, it is time to pour it into the container. Once done, take the lid off the yoghurt maker and take out the red shelf. Pour boiling water into yoghurt maker, it is to come up to the bottom line.
Put the red shelf back into the yoghurt maker, "This side up" should be written on the shelf.
Sit your container of yoghurt into the yoghurt maker and put the lid on. Move it to a part of the kitchen where it can be left undisturbed. I usually make my yoghurt at night. It is easy to keep an eye on it while either, preparing for, or cleaning up after dinner.
"Is it ready Mum?"
This picture was taken the first time I we made yoghurt. Up bright and early the kids were eager to see if it had worked (or maybe that was me?)
It looked like yoghurt.
This is when I did a little 'happy yoghurt' dance. I can't tell you the excitement. My kids, naturally, thought I was crazy, but really, I was that proud of myself!
"Is it yummy?" I asked
I suggest that you put your newly set yoghurt in the fridge before you try. Warm yoghurt is not actually very nice.
A few hours after this photo was taken, the kids were enjoying our homemade yoghurt with fruit and honey in their school lunches. Making yoghurt has quickly become part of our weekly routine. The kids know that if we run out, then I need to make some more. Buying yoghurt just doesn't seem like an option anymore.
Here is my recipe. My sources for making yoghurt were from all over (as usual): "Saha", "The Real Food Companion", "A Greener Life", "Down to Earth" and this amazing person. Mrs Gooseberry's yoghurt maker tips were invaluable. Thank-you. Thank-you. xo
makes 1 litre
• 1 litre full cream milk
• 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
Heat the milk in a saucepan over a high heat until it starts to froth at the edges, but hasn't quiet boiled. It should be heated to 80 - 82 degrees. Remove from the heat and leave to cool to 42 - 45 degrees. (This is when I boil my jug for the yoghurt maker) When the milk has cooled remove any skin that may have formed on the surface.
Put the yoghurt into a large bowl (either glass or earthenware) and add a few tablespoons of the hot milk, mix well with a whisk. Add the remaining milk and whisk again. Pour the yoghurt into a plastic container and put it into the 'yoghurt maker'. Leave in a warm place, undisturbed for at least 8 hours or overnight. The ideal temperature for this is 20 degrees and never below 15 degrees. The yoghurt should thicken. Transfer the yoghurt to the fridge where it will keep for up to a week.
To continue making yoghurt from this batch, reserve a little to make another batch within 4 days.