Making Yoghurt – A revelation!

Homemade Yoghurt

I am a big fan of yoghurt it has to be said. I love the organic ones you can buy in the supermarket in all sorts of flavours but I’ve never really taken to natural yoghurt, I’ve always found it too tart.  Some time ago Brian came home from a local car boot sale triumphantly holding a brand new yoghurt maker…I eat so much of the stuff he thought it would be a good way of saving money by making my own.

At the time I was not convinced that it was such a good idea but, never one to sidestep a challenge, I hit the internet, looking for ways to make flavoured and sweetened yoghurt…I wasn’t impressed I have to say! Other home yoghurt makers were either great lovers of keeping it natural or using things like milkshake powder or jam to flavour it, not a great way to convince me to leave behind my favourite organic pots.

So, the yoghurt maker was confined to the depths of a little used kitchen cupboard and quietly forgotten about. Until now.

In the spirit of doing more ourselves I am going to turn my hand to making yoghurt at home. As with all things made at home I can be sure of exactly what is going into it and therefore into me so that is a big plus point!

So, the yoghurt maker has been retrieved from the back of the cupboard and we are going to give it a go. It came with instructions and a recipe to make enough yoghurt to fill the little glass jars. The recipe calls for the addition of milk powder, but as I want as pure a product as possible (it does have to compete with some top quality organic yoghurts!) I am going to leave that out and just use whole organic milk with a shop bought organic natural yoghurt starter, keeping things as pure and simple as possible.

Now, I know that yoghurt is such a simple thing, just milk and bio-cultures so I am feeling very confident of good results! What I’m not so confident about is how it will taste!

So, here goes…

Ingredients yoghurt2

  • 1 small pot organic natural yoghurt
  • 700ml whole organic milk
  • …and that’s all!

How to make yoghurt

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The most important thing to do first is to sterilise the jars that the yoghurt will be made in. I did this with boiling water but I could also have put them in a low oven for a little while. The second most important thing is to plug in the yoghurt maker so it’s ready when you need it!

The milk is then put into a saucepan and brought up to boiling point.

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Just as the milk started to rise up the sides of the pan, I put the saucepan into a sink of cold water to cool it quickly to 43c (110F).

My yoghurt maker came with its own thermometer so the temperature was easy to gauge. A cooks thermometer will do the trick nicely though.

The pot of starter yoghurt was placed into a large jug and a small amount of the cooled milk was poured onto it through a sieve and stirred gently. The rest of the milk was poured into the jug in stages and the mixture stirred.

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All that remained was to pour the mixture into the little glass jars, pop them into the yoghurt maker and wait 4 hours for the magic to take place.

After the 4 hours, I put the jars of warm yoghurt into a bowl of cold water to cool them and then put them into the fridge to chill.

Finally, I got my chance to have my first taste. I decided that it would be best to taste the yoghurt in its most natural form before experimenting with different ways of adding flavours and making it sweet enough for my taste!

What I tasted was a revelation! Natural yoghurt that was creamy and subtle, not a hint of tartness at all! I ate a whole pot there and then, who would have thought! All I have to do now is make sure I leave one of the pots to use as the starter for the next batch.

So, for me there is no need for flavours or sugars but I have experimented with how I serve it. Fresh fruit is the obvious choice, any mixture of fruit works well.

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My favourite way is probably the simplest, with a sliced banana and drizzled with honey…sweet, tasty and creamy! Everything I wanted from bought yoghurt but much, much better.

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