The yoghurt conspiracy

I’d always assumed yoghurt would be difficult to make. The good stuff costs a fortune, there seems to be a stack of it on store shelves, so it must be hard, right? Otherwise everyone would be making it.

Turns out it’s actually pretty straightforward. All you need is a few basic kitchen utensils, a thermometer (this is important) and some nice organic milk. Oh, and some good quality yoghurt to use as a starter.

Yoghurt is insanely good for you, especially when it’s home made. That way you know exactly what’s in it. There’s no added sugar in this version (although I’m sure you could sweeten it, if you must) and I’ve recommended going organic with the dairy. Best of all, since you’re fermenting it yourself, you know that this yoghurt is guaranteed to have only the finest gut-loving bacteria roaming around in it. None of that cheap, store bought, additive laden nastiness.

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Straining prepared yoghurt

HOME MADE YOGHURT

2 litres milk (ideally organic, I use whole milk, but you can use lower fat)
1/2 cup unsweetened, unflavoured active pro-biotic yoghurt, the best quality you can find

  1. Pour the milk into a large, heavy based dutch oven or stove proof casserole dish with lid
  2. Heat gently, stirring occasionally to stop the milk catching on the bottom
  3. Turn off the heat when the temperature of the milk reaches 97°C. This temperature is when the structure of the protein molecules change to allow for fermentation and thickening. Reaching this temperature is essential!
  4. Remove from heat, cover and cool until the milk reaches 38-40°C (around blood temperature). The milk will form a skin on the top, but you can either stir it in or eat it (it’s quite nice). Any hotter than this and you’ll kill the bacteria. Any colder and mixture won’t ferment.
  5. Whisk the yoghurt with a little of the milk to thin down, then stir into the milk until well combined. It’s important to use active yoghurt to ensure the culture grows. You can begin to use your own yoghurt in this step to make the next batch.
  6. Wrap the dutch oven in towels and leave somewhere warm for 12 hours.
  7. When you unwrap the dutch oven, the yoghurt inside should be set, with a small amount of whey around it.
  8. If you want thicker yoghurt, take half of the yoghurt and pour into a seive lined with a clean tea towel, set over a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap (or another tea towel) and place in the fridge for up to 4 hours so the excess whey drains from the yoghurt. The remaining whey can be used in other ways.
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