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Homemade yoghurt recipe

I only discovered a few years ago that you could make yoghurt at home and as it coincided with my quest to eat less processed food I decided to give it a try.

So after a bit of googling I discovered a few different recipes and I tried out a few different methods.

A few trials did not work out very well, with yoghurt that was too runny and some batches had grainy bits in them, but eventually I worked out a fairly foolproof recipe.

I hope you enjoy making your own yoghurt too.

Yoghurt fully set and ready to go in the fridge

You need milk, dried milk and a starter yoghurt, but then you use the end of your homemade yoghurt for the next batch so you don't have to keep buying a starter yoghurt.  It is easy to make and feels like a little bit of magic has happened every time I turn milk into set yoghurt.

Fermented foods like yoghurt are good for your gut bacteria and the health of the gut micro-biome is being increasingly linked with different aspects of health, so replacing sugary shop bought yoghurts with homemade yoghurt and fruit is definitely a boost for health.

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You will need:

  • 1 litre of whole milk (you can use semi-skimmed but the yoghurt won't be as thick and creamy). I like to use organic milk as it is a cheap way to get organic yoghurt.
  • 2 heaped dessertspoons of dried skimmed milk.
  • 2 heaped dessertspoons of natural yoghurt with live bacteria as the starter yoghurt. (I also often use greek or greek style yoghurt that doesn't mention live bacteria and they have always worked just fine).
  1. Pour the litre of milk into a bowl which will fit over a saucepan.
  2. About a third fill the saucepan with water.
  3. Get the starter yoghurt out of the
    fridge so that it will be a bit warmer when you add it later on in the process.
The Bain Marie
The Bain Marie
Adding the dried milk
Adding the dried milk
Whisking in the powder
Whisking in the powder

4. Sprinkle 2 heaped dessertspoons of skimmed milk powder into the yoghurt.

5. Whisk the skimmed milk powder into the milk.

6. Now put the saucepan/bowl combo (aka Bain Marie) onto a moderate heat.

7. You will need a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

8. I clip my thermometer to a wooden spoon and lie this across the bowl. The wooden spoon not only holds the thermometer in place but will prevent the milk spilling over if it boils up (or so I am told as the milk has never boiled over for me, as the Bain Marie provides a gentle manageable heat).

9. Heat the milk to about 85 degrees C. This usually takes about 45 minutes at a gentle to moderate heat. You might find that it is hard to get the temperature much above 80 C, but don't worry as that will be enough to sterilise the milk.

Heating the milk
Heating the milk

10. Once the milk has reached the desired temperature, remove the bowl from the saucepan and set aside to cool.

11. Allow the milk to cool down to 46 degrees C. My type of thermometer does not really allow that accuracy so as long as it is just above 45 C that works fine.

12. This usually takes about half an hour. Sometime I have found that I have missed that temperature and the milk has cooled too much. If that happens just pop it back on the saucepan and warm the milk back up to 46 C. This is the critical temperature for adding the starter yoghurt.

13. You will find that a skin has formed on the yoghurt so you will need to skim that off.

14. Now add 2 heaped dessertspoons of the starter yoghurt to the 46C milk and whisk it in.

Adding the starter yoghurt
Adding the starter yoghurt
Whisking in the yoghurt
Whisking in the yoghurt
Milk in containers
Milk in containers

15. Now pour the milk into a container with a tight lid. I often use old litre ice cream tubs.

16. I also pour a small amount into a small tub which I will use as the starter yoghurt next time.

17. Then wrap the tubs in a thick towel and put it somewhere warm if possible. I have an airing cupboard so I put it in there but you could just place it by a radiator.

All wrapped up
All wrapped up

18. Leave for about 8 hours. I usually make it in the evening and leave it overnight.

19. When you open it up in the morning you have beautiful set yoghurt. It feels like magic! (Don't panic if you head out in the morning and forget to put the yoghurt in the fridge, it will still be ok when you get home. I have left mine for 24 hours with no problems).

20. Refrigerate and then enjoy it on its own, with fruit and honey, or with cucumber and mint as raita for curry.  You can also strain it and use it instead of soft cheese. A healthy versatile food.

Yoghurt fully set and ready to go in the fridge
Yoghurt fully set and ready to go in the fridge
Whey

After you have scooped some yoghurt out you will find that some whey collects in the dips. You can pour it away, but why waste it as it has lots of protein, vitamins and minerals?

You can add it to soup, use it in bread making, use it as a substitute for buttermilk or use it to make pancakes.

You will find lots of ideas for using whey on the internet.