Making your own yoghurt is a very popular money-saving activity for thrifty cooks, but in this country we tend to stick to commercial thickening agents available on supermarket shelves to give us a home-made and cheaper alternative to the commercial yoghurts available.
Then I received an email from Lisa who describes the way her mother and grandmother routinely make their yoghurt and suddenly, I have done away with commercial yoghurts – and yoghurt-making premixed powders – for good.
And all for the cost of a litre of milk.
There’s all sorts of recipes out there – if such a thing as making yoghurt could be described as a recipe – and it can get as technical as you want, but blessedly Lisa has gone for the simple approach. There is no talk of thermometers here, no steaming or bottling, or any need for equipment that you don’t have.
There is some accumulated whey – the clear liquid that settles on top of yoghurt – that you can drain before eating or stir through as you want and it got me thinking about making ricotta, that twice cooked home-style cheese made from re-cooking the whey. Unfortunately, every reference I’ve looked at suggests the whey from making yoghurt is too acidic so doesn’t work. If anyone can tell me otherwise and supply a recipe I’d love to try it. My goodness, making your own yoghurt, making your own ricotta – what next, DIY mozzarella?
You never know.
Makes up to 3 cups of plain, thick, greek-style yoghurt
- 1 litre full-cream milk
- 1½ tbsp full-fat greek yoghurt*
*Use full-fat milk and yoghurt, NOT skim or reduced fat, which will make a very watery yoghurt. Use probiotic yoghurt containing acidophilus, NOT yoghurt made with artificial thickeners – you will need to use a small amount just to get your first batch started, but after that, you can continue using the last of each homemade batch to make up some more.
Place milk in a wide heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and bring it to the boil without burning the bottom of the saucepan.
As soon as it comes to the boil, remove from the heat and allow the milk to cool in the saucepan. It has to cool to the temperature of a baby’s bottle. Simply put your little finger in the milk and count slowly to ten. The milk should be warm, not cool, and you should be able to rest your finger comfortably in the milk for the slow count.
By now a skin will have formed on the milk. Carefully skim this skin off with a little of the milk into a smaller bowl and add the yoghurt. Stir well and mix thoroughly to remove all lumps, then add it back to the remaining warm milk and stir it thoroughly to combine.
Pour the milk and yoghurt mixture into a glass or ceramic casserole dish which has a lid. Put the lid on top and then wrap the casserole tightly in a small blanket or very thick towel and leave it overnight or at least for 10 hours. Do not move it or disturb it. It’s very important to leave the milk culture undisturbed and left to cool as slowly as possible.
The next morning, unwrap the casserole dish and transfer the yoghurt to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. You can either stir the whey which has accumulated on the top back through the yoghurt, or strain it off as you make a dish of Labneh.
Makes 2 – 3 cups plain, thickened yoghurt which you can then flavour with pureed or stewed fruit, honey, cinnamon or jam.
Yoghurt made this way will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Use the last of the batch to make your next yoghurt overnight.
$2.00 for 750ml plain yoghurt