Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Our Homemade Yoghurt

Back when we were dreaming of this country life, top of the list of things I would do once we moved was make my own yoghurt. I'm not sure why I felt I had to relocate in order to begin. I'm sure in even the sleekest designer city kitchen with the most fast-paced, peak-hour lifestyle, it would be possible. But it just feels like a country thing to do.

We used to go through one, sometimes two, 2kg tubs of natural Greek yoghurt a week, at $10 a pop. My girls eat it every night for dessert, I often have it at breakfast, and it makes its way into cakes and alongside our favourite pitas and cheesy triangles quite often.

Apart from the first couple of weeks, since moving here over eight months ago (eight!), I haven't bought yoghurt once. And I've read all around blogland of people who use yoghurt makers and powdered starters, or who strain their yoghurt to thicken it. I do none of that. This really is so easy. I referred to Soulemama's method the first time, and just adapted it slightly as I went along. My original starter was an organic yoghurt from the health food store. I added powdered milk in a few batches at the beginning because I read somewhere that it helps thicken it. In the end I decided it made no difference.

The thing that does make a huge difference, I've found, is the milk. I tried once with a supermarket brand (before I learnt all about permeate and the woes of dairy farmers - we don't buy that milk anymore) and it refused to become yoghurt. I also had a failure once with a major national brand, who recently started emblazoning its labels with a bright yellow 'permeate free' banner. But after reading this post at Little Eco Footprints, I clicked along and discovered that the milk sold at my local general store, and at the supermarket in a nearby town, is local, ethical and additive free. And it tastes better. And it makes beautiful yoghurt.

For this method, you will need a thermometer, an insulated cooler bag (or esky) and two hot-water bottles.

Heat two litres of milk in a saucepan until it reaches 90 degrees Celsius. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to 40 degrees. I speed this process up by putting the saucepan of milk into the kitchen sink filled with cold water. It still takes about 10 minutes.

Once it has reached 40 degrees, whisk in about a quarter of a cup of your last batch of yoghurt. If it's the first time you've made it, choose something unflavoured, natural and organic with live cultures. Pour it into your chosen container. I know lots of people use glass jars (and I will soon when I get around to finding some the right size) and sterilise them beforehand, but I just use the old 2kg plastic tubs we used to buy our yoghurt in, and run them through a hot dishwasher before storing them.

The next step involves keeping the warmed milk at 40 degrees for several hours. Soulemama puts hers on an electric heat pad. Others put it in a thermos, or into an esky filled with warm water. I've had faultless luck with an old insulated bag I got from the fish markets a while ago (designed to keep fresh fish cold) in which I place two hot-water bottles filled with boiling water. I snuggle the tub of yoghurty milk in with the hotties cuddling it, zip up the bag and put it in the warmest part of the house. And it rarely takes longer than five hours to set.

Then I put it in the fridge to cool before we eat it.

There's always a bit of whey in the tub but not enough to bother any of us, so I've never tried to strain it. And by the time we get to the bottom, it's generally a lot runnier and sloppier - all the better for stirring your frozen raspberries through to make it pink. But for the first few days, when scooped from the top, it's the most delicious, tart, creamy, thick yoghurt, as good as, if not better than, any I've bought in a shop anywhere.



  1. Yum!
    I think some yogurt with honey might be on the menu for dessert here!
    I would love to try make yogurt!

    I keep meaning to read more about milk...it is one of those things that I am very curious about but every time I sit down to research additives I get distracted and end up looking something else up!

  2. Yogurt is one thing I havent made yet. Making kefir each day has been enough work ;) Great post thank you - shall be bookmarking- try with some raw milk if you can get your hands on any! x

  3. wow, is that all it actually is?! i'll definitely be making some! thank you :)

  4. Ooer, if it's this easy I should be doing it already! That said I've just worn myself out making apple jelly so yoghurt will have to wait a day or too. Thanks for the hot water bottles tip :D

  5. I have never attempted to make my own yogurt as it seemed too technical and not the sort of thing I could make. I thought you needed loads of fancy kit. But apparently not! I am intrigued and might have a go at making my own now, you've made it look easy and quite fun, so thanks! x

  6. Thanks for this! Yoghurt and sourdough are two things that I really want to make. They're both so yummy (and expensive!) and we go through lots of them like your family x

  7. Ha! I've just been experimenting with yoghurt after i found an easiyo thingo in the oppie. I've tried the powdered milk recipe twice, first batch was great, second a bit weird. Will try it with proper milk next, I think. off to follow the links to find out more about milk- thanks! :)sarah

  8. Hello Greer, thanks for calling by at my blog. I see you have a lovely blog over here and I look forward to reading more. The yoghurt looks great, I've always wanted to do this and never done it! Heather x

  9. clever you! I've experimented with making kefir from raw milk and culture but no joy- nothing happened AT ALL. I don't know what went wrong, and I also tried cheese from raw milk with same level of failure (maybe Natalie can offer some tips?) But I still feel courageous enought to try yoghurt, and your instructions are great- thanks!

  10. We go crazy over yoghurt here and were also spending a phenomenal amount each week until I started making it myself. I was thrilled at how easy it actually is to make and do a batch every other day.
    It was through trial and error that I found the method I currently use which is in my slow cooker...I do strain some from time to time to make a cream cheese, so delicious.

  11. We use similar yoghurt making methods - but i use a rice heat bag in my cooler bag.

    I'm glad you have access to ethical and additive free milk.

    And I love that you made yoghurt making look so beautiful ;-)


I love comments. Thanks for yours!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...