Yogurt is easy to make. It’s rich in nutrients, calcium, B12, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and high in protein. Most importantly for healthy eating lovers, natural yogurt contains probiotics that are good for your gut and strengthen your immune system. There’s some evidence it’s also helpful for weight loss.
Homemade yogurt is sweet-tasting, delicious, and easy to make. Read on for 7 yogurt-making tips to produce your first batch of homemade yogurt…
7 Yogurt-Making Tips For Delicious Yogurt
You Can Use Any Type Of Milk
Fresh unpasteurized milk is wonderful but you can use any full-fat fresh milk. You can even use milk powder and low-fat skim milk powder works just as well.
Use 2 pints of milk (1 liter). Pasteurized milk needs to be heated to just below boiling point and then taken off the heat immediately. (Watch for tiny bubbles around the edge of your pan). For unpasteurized milk just warm it to body temperature.
If you’re using milk powder, blend with bottled water (you can use tap water but let the water stand for 24 hours to get rid of the chlorine taste). This blend also needs to be heated to body temperature.
The Milk Needs To Cool To Blood Heat (Body Temperature)
This is one of the most important yogurt-making tips. Leave the milk to cool down until you can dip a finger into the milk without discomfort. It should feel neither hot nor cold.
Rinse Your Container With Boiling Water
You want to sterilize your container to avoid adding any foreign bacteria. It will also warm the container and help with incubating the yogurt.
Add Your Starter
You can buy a starter or just use some shop-bought plain natural yogurt. Check the labels and make sure it doesn’t contain sweeteners, flavors, additives, or thickeners – just pure yogurt.
Once you’ve made your first batch, you can use some of your own yogurt as a starter. (It’s a good yogurt-making tip to take a fresh starter after 6-8 batches or your homemade yogurt can start to taste sour).
You need two heaped tablespoons of yogurt starter for two pints of milk (1 liter). Make sure your starter is at body temperature. Blend with a little of your milk, then stir carefully into your blood-heat milk.
Rinse Your Utensils In Boiling Water
Before stirring in your starter, make sure you’ve rinsed the spoon you’re using in boiling water. Stir your starter in thoroughly. You want to distribute the bacteria evenly – otherwise, it can end up watery.
Place The Lid On Your Container
You can also cover it with cling film. Yogurt culture needs oxygenless conditions to work. Put the container in a warm place and leave for 5 to 6 hours. If it hasn’t worked in this time, you can leave it for longer.
The process should not take longer than 10 hours. If it’s not working, experiment with different ways of getting the temperature right.
You can use a thermos to keep the temperature constant, wrap it in a blanket, use a hay box or splash out on a yogurt maker. A yogurt maker does make it easier to control the temperature. The ideal temperature is 32-40 deg Celsius (90 – 105 deg Fahrenheit).
Keep In The Fridge
Your finished yogurt will keep in the fridge for up to a week. If it’s watery the first time don’t worry – it still tastes delicious and will get thicker the next time you make some.
Control Temperature With A Yogurt Maker
You don’t need to use a yogurt maker. Follow the yogurt-making tips and you can manage without one. Just make sure you keep the temperature constant while you’re waiting for the culture to work. Yogurt makers just make life easier.
Add Flavor To Your Homemade Yogurt
You can easily add flavor to your yogurt with fruit puree. Just whip up some soft fruits in a food processor or blender. Mix into your yogurt before serving!
If you’re struggling to follow these yogurt-making tips, getting the temperatures right is the most likely cause. I used to find it a lot easier living in a hot country! Instead of struggling, I find a yogurt maker is the best solution. Love to know how you get on…
Top tip: homemade vegan yogurt makes an excellent egg substitute for baking recipes!
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s keeping the temperature constant that makes the biggest difference. If you’re struggling to get your yogurt to set properly a yogurt maker can help. Use milk with high fat or high protein content to produce a thicker yogurt. You can add dry milk powder to increase the protein content.
The minimum time is 5 to 6 hours. I leave mine overnight for the best results. If you leave yogurt too long to set it can taste sour.
Too much starter means there are too many bacteria feeding on the fermenting milk. The bacteria can run out of food before the fermenting process is complete leaving you with thin, runny yogurt.