Yogurt is easy to make. It’s rich in nutrients, calcium, B12 , phosphorus, magnesium, potasium, and high in protein. Most importantly for healthy eating lovers, natural yogurt contains probiotics which are good for your gut and strengthen your immune system. Studies claim it’s also helpful for weight loss.
Homemade yogurt is sweet tasting, delicious and easy to make. Read on for 7 tips to produce your first batch of homemade yogurt…
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You Can Use Any Type Of Milk
Fresh unpasterized 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 litre). Pasterized milk needs to be heated to just below boiling point then take it off the hear immediately. (Watch for tiny bubbles around the edge of your pan). For unpasterized milk just warm 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)
Leave the milk to cool down until you can dip a finger into the milk without discomfort. It should feel neither hot or cold.
Rinse Your Container With Boiling Water
You want to sterilise 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, flavours, 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 normally best 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 litre). 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 well. You want to distribute the bacteria evenly – otherwise it can end up watery.
Place The Lid On Your Container
You can also cover 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 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.
You can easily flavour 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, getting the temperatures right is the most likely cause. I used to find it a lot easier living in a hot country. A yogurt maker could be the best solution. Love to know how you get on…