Home-made Yoghurt Recipe

Natural plain yoghurt costs about $3 for a small 500ml tub at Coles, but have you ever wondered if there’s a way to defeat those Washington fat cats and their milk monopoly by producing your own cultured milk products? Then read on… (If you have an Easi-Yo yoghurt maker, skip to the end)…

Ingredients and materials:

4 tablespoons of plain natural set yoghurt (from the shops – it must have live acidophilus culture listed as one of the ingredients)
1 litre of milk (which can be made from powdered milk, which is the cheapest, or powdered skim milk, which is the cheapest and healthiest)
Accurate thermometer
1 litre Thermos flask or casserole dish (must be very clean)

Procedure:

1. First, make 1 litre of powdered milk as per the instructions on the packet, or just use milk that hasn’t been powdered.

2. Heat the milk in a clean saucepan until it reaches a temperature of just over 45 degrees Celsius.

3. Mix 4 tablespoons of the warm milk with 4 tablespoons of yoghurt in a separate container (one that’s good for pouring) and let it sit for about 1 minute – this is now your yoghurt culture.

4. Gently mix the remaining warm milk (at 45 degrees) with the yoghurt culture, and then pour the mixture into your 1 litre thermos or into a casserole dish wrapped in a tea towel and left in the sun or placed in a warmed oven (not too hot). I usually rinse my Thermos with boiling water just before putting the yoghurt mix into it to make sure that it is sterile and nice and warm.

5. Leave your container somewhere warm for 8-12 hours. Do not bump it or move it about, because this will disrupt the reproductive efforts of our bacteria friends. Leaving the yoghurt for a longer time period (i.e. 10-12 hours) will result in more of a sour taste, and leaving the yoghurt for a shorter time (8-10 hours) will result in a more creamy taste.

Lactobacillus acidophilus - acid-loving milk-bacterium

Once you’ve made your new batch of yoghurt, you can put it in a container and place it in the fridge. Usually I can use that batch to make another batch of yoghurt, and another batch, but after that (i.e. by the third generation) the end product is a bit runny and doesn’t set very well, and then you need to use shop yoghurt for your culture again. To save money, I buy a 500ml tub of yoghurt and put one tablespoon of yoghurt into each compartment of an ice tray, and then I can defrost my cryobiologically frozen bacteria whenever I want. When devouring the yoghurt, feel free to mix in some berries or fruit, add some sugar or honey, or whatever you want – it’s your yoghurt now, and I can’t stop you from doing anything you want with it (but you can’t make more yoghurt with flavoured yoghurt – it has to be plain. Duh). And if your yoghurt turns out too runny, you can always make labna, which is a type of yoghurt cheese. Basically get your runny yoghurt and leave it to drain in a muslin cloth overnight. Mmm…

Variations:

One recipe I have says to 1) boil the milk 2) when a skin forms, remove it, and then mix 4 tablespoons of the warm milk with 4 tablespoons of plain yoghurt 3) mix the rest of the warm milk with the yoghurt culture when the milk temperature drops to 45 degrees 4) place the mixture in a thermos or whatever for 8-12 hours etc etc. I think this method may be more sterile (because boiling the milk kills off some of the bacteria that compete with Lactobacillus acidophilus), but it takes longer, so I’m undecided which is better…

If you have an EasiYo thing:

Add 4 tablespoons of natural plain yoghurt and just under 1 litre of milk (at room temperature) into the EasiYo container, and then do what you’d do for one of their super expensive packet mix yoghurts (i.e. fill the thermos thing with boiling water and leave it for about 8 hours). This is super easy and it usually comes out really well, and you can perhaps use more than three generations of the yoghurt for future cultures.

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6 thoughts on “Home-made Yoghurt Recipe

  1. mmm nice template.

    you know cryogenics isn’t just freezing things. so your post is technically incorrect. who should i contact about getting my money back?

  2. Yeah, I think the template is the best I’ve used so far, so I’m going to stick with it for a while. It’s a bit neat and clean looking, but I guess that’s a good thing (it doesn’t have the same homespun elegance as your blog).

    Ok, so it looks like the word I was actually after was cryobiology, but I believe the term cryogenics (“the branch of physics concerned with the production and effects of very low temperatures”, Oxford concise) is still applicable… I’m going to fix some other grammar problems I found…

  3. Hmm… What yoghurt are you using to make the culture? I think it has to be Pauls Natural Set Yoghurt, because maybe none of the others have live acidophilus culture in them. And what type of milk? I’ve only actually used powdered milk, but it should work the same.

    Hmm… So just checking – heat 1 litre of milk to 45 degrees (is your thermometer ok – i think it has to be pretty precise), mix 4 tablespoons of milk with 4 tablespoons of yoghurt (that’s 4 flat tablespoons) and leave this to sit by itself for a few minutes, reheat the milk to 45 degrees, then gently mix the warm milk with the culture and pour into a 1 litre thermos or a container left in a warm oven, leave the container for at least 8 hours in a warm place and don’t move it (at all).

    If it looks too runny, sometimes that means it’s either been too long or too short incubation (basically something is wrong with the bacteria) – maybe you could check at 6 hours or whatever and see how it’s doing (you can usually see when it’s set nicely). And it always comes out a bit runny, so you need to put it in the fridge to make it a bit less viscous (and it never quite reaches the hardness of shop yoghurt). Did it taste like yoghurt, but just a bit runny, or was it gross?

    Did you use really clean saucepans? And did you make sure your thermos or container is really clean? I usually put about a cup of boiling water into the thermos and swish it around for a minute to sterilise it and warm it up. Were you using a thermos or a casserole dish or something? I think it has to be quite sterile for the bacteria to really thrive.

    The other thing to try would be to boil the milk, wait until it gets down to about 70 degrees and then mix 4 tablespoons milk with 4 tablespoons yoghurt, remove the skin, and then when it gets to 45 degrees, mix the milk with the culture etc. This might be more sterile.

    Let me know how it goes…

  4. hmmm.

    we did all that. with a thermos (though we didn’t swish it with boiling water). we have a milk-frothing thermometer. it seems pretty trustworthy.

    both times we left it for 8 hours. it tastes like yoghurt. and i wouldn’t want to leave it any longer, because it comes out reasonably tart.

    might try heating the milk up even higher, then letting it cool down.

    maybe we’ll also try powdered milk. though it doesn’t seems to be cheaper enough than regular milk to be worthwhile?

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