Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Making Your Own Yogurts

At our guest house in Norwich, we make our own yogurts and I'm often asked for information about how to make them, what equipment I use and so on, so I thought I'd write this blog post as a reference point for those of you that are interested in having a go yourselves. I make mine with 2% fat milk (semi-skimmed) and this makes creamy yogurts which are mild, pleasant to eat and don't need any sweetening. Many of the guests comment that they "feel nice in the tummy" and I know what they mean!

If you prefer your yogurts fruity or sweet, do what the French do and just add a teaspoon of jam or honey!

It's worth mentioning that this post covers making yogurt from cows milk.  Yogurt can also be made with certain types of lactose-free milk, goats milk, sheeps milk etc.  This however, goes beyond my knowledge and experience.  The methods and culture times are likely to be different.

Note:  I have been told that the yogurt maker from Amazon's listing is supplied with a continental plug so you would need an adaptor in order to be able to use it.

  • 1 x Litre of UHT milk
  • 1 x small pot of natural live yogurt
  • 30g (2 tbsp) dried skimmed milk powder

It couldn't be easier and takes about 5 minutes!
  • Put 1 teaspoon of the natural live yogurt into each of your sterilised (see below) glass yogurt pots
  • Mix the skimmed milk powder with a little of the milk in a microwaveable container until well combined.  Add the rest of the milk.
  • Heat the litre of UHT milk in the microwave for about 90 seconds to bring the milk up to around 30-40 degrees C.  If you don't do this, you may need to set your timer for longer than the 9 hours I suggest.
  • Using a funnel pour the milk into the yogurt pots, stir to mix with the live yogurt and then put the lids on
  • Put the jars into the yogurt-maker, set the timer for 9 hours, switch on and leave alone! Do not be tempted to agitate or stir!
  • 9 hours later, check that the yogurt is set and then refrigerate
I recommend sticking a label on the lid with the date on which you made them, so that you always know how fresh they are.

People have been making their own yogurts for centuries without coming to any harm - it's possibly one of the oldest foods. However, you will be cultivating bacteria so it's a good idea to take a few sensible precautions to make sure you're only cultivating healthy bacteria:

  • wash your hands before you start
  • always use scrupulously clean equipment. Ideally wash and dry your equipment in the dishwasher at high temperature. If you don't have a dishwasher, wash up as normal, rinse and then immerse the equipment in boiling water and allow to air dry. Store the pots inside the yogurt-maker so that they don't collect dust inbetween use.
  • sterilise the glass yogurt pots before use by heating them in the oven. Allow to cool before you use them though
  • use UHT milk. UHT milk has already been sterilised so it's ready for you to use. If you wish to use fresh milk, you should boil it first.

Once you start finding out about yogurt, you will probably be fascinated by it as I was. It has a long history and it is claimed to have many health-giving qualities


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