15 December 2013

Recipe: How to make your own yogurt

I recently learned how to make delicious natural yogurt at home thanks to some great friends of mine who taught me how. It's extremely easy and will save you lots of money. You don't need any fancy equipment either. This recipe doesn't even require a thermometer and has so far given me great results every time.

2 litres of milk (cow's milk, any fat concentration)
2-3 tbsp natural yogurt as starter (your yogurt must contain live and active cultures, just check labels on the yogurt at the grocery store if making yogurt for the first time or if you have run out of starter culture)

Pot for heating the milk
Large spoon for stirring the milk
2L plastic container
Small spoon for spreading the starter culture

Pour the milk into a pot and heat on the stove top on medium heat, stirring often and keeping a close eye so the milk doesn't scald.
Once the milk has boiled and looks foamy on top like cappuccino, turn off the heat.

Protip 1: If you have a larger pot and a smaller pot, you could instead create a water jacket effect with some water in the larger pot and place the smaller pot in the water. This is a gentler way to heat the milk with less chance of scalding.
Protip 2: Add milk powder to the milk while it's heating up if you like thicker yogurt.
Protip 3: Longer boil times will also increase the thickness of the yogurt.

Heating milk to make yogurt

Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool. To speed up the cooling process, you can fill a sink 1/4 of the way with cold water, carefully pour the milk into a large bowl, and place the bowl in the cold water. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the surface as the milk cools.

Cooling milk to make yogurt

You'll know the milk is ready when you dip your finger in and it's warmer than room temperature, but not hot. Next, spread 2-3 tablespoons of the yogurt inside a 2L plastic container.

Pour the milk into the plastic container, put the lid on and wrap it in a towel to keep it warm (in winter or in cold climates, use a warm blanket instead of a towel to keep more heat in). Place the wrapped container into a dark cupboard and leave for approximately 7 hours. After about 7 hours (leave it an hour or two longer if using low fat or skim milk), the culture will have multiplied and when you lift the lid, voila! Beautiful homemade yogurt for a fraction of the cost!

Homemade yogurt!

Place the container in the fridge and enjoy! Just remember to save a small amount of the yogurt as starter (don't eat it all) so you can make a new batch. The yogurt will last for a week in the fridge. You can also add fresh fruit and/or honey to make it sweet. If I had known how cheap and easy it was, I would have started making my own yogurt years ago.

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