How to make yoghurt the simple way

P1072811

It’s difficult to find yoghurt that isn’t flavoured, low fat or enhanced by emulsifiers and additives. Or fancily packaged yoghurts packed full of fruit for that matter. Sure I’ll eat yoghurt at home with fruit either freshly cooked or prepared on the day. But I don’t see the need to buy yoghurt mixed with fruit. I want my yoghurt pure and free from additives.

In the organic and hippy shops you can find the pure simple stuff but it is bloody expensive. My favourite Meredith Dairy Sheep’s milk yoghurt costs for 1kg  about $10 a pot.

So why not make it yourself when milk is so much cheaper?

It’s really easy to make yoghurt. And all you need to do is understand a little science to ensure your home yoghurt factory is productive. The only equipment you need is a jar, a thermometer (a basic $5 to $10 version) and a warm place at a steady temperature.

This is the first experiment with my landlady, you know the type – fag in mouth, curlers, pink kitten slippers and a day coat. When she’s not making me fag ash infused greasy fry-ups on her Aga, she sometimes is a tad more healthy.

And in an effort to bypass an, um, triple heart bypass I’ve been encouraging her to make a lot more a healthy stuff, sometimes not even involving bacon or pork at all.

And so it was on that 43C day when the Aga was on full blast wearing nothing but a pair of budgie smugglers that I mapped out the hot and cool spots cooker’s surface to find where best to incubate yoghurt.

There are no hard and fast temperatures in making yoghurt. It just depends what style you prefer, thick, thin or strongly flavoured.

The quality of milk does vary based upon the rainfall and changes depending on how lush the grass is, itself affected by the rain. A maintains that her favourite yoghurt is best a couple of weeks after heavy rain.

To date we’ve made three batches using a biodynamic cow milk, organic cows milk and goats milk.

There are two spots on the Aga which will keep a stockpot full of water, which acts as a water bath for the yoghurt at 35C or 45C.

From 30C to about 35C makes a fuller flavoured European style yoghurt that takes about six to 12 hours to mature. And made at 41C to 45C, the yoghurt is much milder.

To make thicker yoghurt you can add milk powder. But we are purists – kitchen minimalists – and wanted to make a yoghurt without adding anything extra.

Here are the steps:

P1062791

1. Sterilise the jar with boiling water. Here we are doing it in the make shift water bath. Preheating the jar can also help prevent cracking (it later broke when sterilized from cold)

P1062797 P1062799

2. Heat up the milk to 85C for 30 minutes or 95C for 10 minutes. This helps restructure lactoglobulin proteins into a matrix which makes the yoghurt set.

P1062801

3. Allow the yoghurt to cool down to below 45C before adding a tablespoon of yoghurt (for 1.5 litres in this case) and stir or whisk in.

P1062802

4. Pour yoghurt into sterilized pot and place in water bath for the required time. for a water bath at 35C we left it about 12 hours. For 45C we did just six. The only blip was that the goats’ yoghurt, which was a bright white colour, made at 45C was fairly runny while both the #5C and 45C cows’ milk were quite firm.

P1062806

5. Remove yoghurt from water bath and allow to cool in the fridge. Eat, served with fruit, muesli or whatever you fancy.

Don’t worry, next I return to drinking and smoking.

P1072815

24 Responses to “How to make yoghurt the simple way”

  1. Graeme Ambrose

    Worked a treat first go!
    Did not need to go to 85 degrees, more like 70.
    Beautiful thick yoghurt. Very impressed

  2. lou

    Hi, I don’t have the luxury of an aga either…. I let to set in a thermos flask for a few hours. Works perfectly if u hav a well insulated flask, however, unless you have a wide mouth flask, breaks up a little when pouring out. Cheers.

  3. Dinah Hoyt Taylor

    I just made yogurt from 2% organic milk on my AGA. I used 1 qt. milk and ended up with only 12 oz. *2 jars* of yogurt, but it was the best! All gone…… I think I would have had more, had I not strained it after overnight on the simmering cover. I strained through a linen napkin, and put in fridge for 4 hours. I did not use anything but the milk and 1/3 cup of 0% organic yogurt- If I did not strain it, I think I would have had almost 3 cups, instead of 1 1/2 cups. Would it have thickened up more if I had not strained it?
    Thank you.
    Dinah

    • Ed

      Hi Dinah, I’m not sure. But why not just try again without straining and see what happens.

      Ed

  4. Don

    Once milk has reached bottling temp and have mixed in culture I pour into 3 open neck flasks (bought from K Mart) and allow them to set for 4 hours I then put them in fridge and use as required directly from flasks. Works well and saves you having to hover watching water temp

  5. Lisa

    I have goats which I use primarily for soap – recently I have become addicted to the milk for drinking. It’s amazing how different the body feels with live food – though I do pastuerize for my own safety. I tried using the milk today for yoghurt and I am so far pleased. My method was to use a crock pot set on low. I experimented with the lid placement until I got the right temp. I put a jar in the water and prepped the milk. Once it was cool enough I stirred in a starter and here we are 5 hours later and I have a nice thick yoghurt. Yummy! Next I will use that batch as starter.

  6. groupo style

    Yogurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. I would say that it should be taken on regular basis.

  7. Ed

    Gourmet Chick, You won’t be jealous about anAga when it hits 40 again!

    Analeise, I will be cranking it up and make curd etc. Just give me a few weeks.

    Connor, it sort of feels like somebody switched the milk for yoghurt but amazing how simple and effective it is. We’ve made more since and had some firmer than others but all work.

    Penny,, Yes, I want to do butter too. There are quite a few artisans started to do butter.look forward to seeing your results.

    Thermomixer, I never really thought about Thermomixer Yoghurt. LL is quite keen on the idea for the summer when the Aga is so FG%$#!!! hot. Yes, I consulted McGee. We decided to keep it simple and just gofor the yoghurt.I like mine not too solid.

    Duncan,good to hear from you,It’s been a while. I just consulted the latest edition of Harold McGee who’s got all the science. I’m moving to a flat soon so I may have to look for one of those machines.

    Snacksgiving, hope it works out for you.

    Foo, Great point. There’s so much packaging isn’t there although the Milk also comes in a container. Maybe I need a goat.

    Maz, that’s a great idea and will save me buying a special machine when I move to my new flat.

  8. Maz

    I tried it but used a made a water bath by using a rice cooker on the warm setting-my rice cooker keeps it about 43 degrees-saves cranking up the Aga!

  9. Foo

    Making yoghurt this way is not only cheaper but also can reduce the impact on the environment. Landfill is reduced by reusing your own jar and avoiding those six packs of yoghurt tubs which are often not recyclable.

  10. Thermomixer

    McGee on Food and Cooking has a fair amount of info on the subject. An interesting thing is that the lactglobulin is likely to be left in the whey from making cheese with rennet, so I have made some cottage cheese with junket tablets in the hope that the whey will have extra lactoglobulin to add to my yoghurt mix to thicken it.

    He explains the difference between using acids and rennet for making cottage cheese and that’s why I bought junket tablets.

    There are interesting pics here: http://www.magma.ca/~pavel/science/Yogurt.htm

  11. snacksgiving

    I had tried it once and it failed :(
    Will follow your instructions and try it out. Seriously, home-made is always so much better!

  12. Duncan | Syrup and Tang

    Fun isn’t it! I have a Moulinex machine that keeps my little pots at a constant temp and makes this less Aga-some on hot days;) I’ve experimented using a few different cultures with varying results.

    Ed, I’m interested to know where you read about the restructuring of lactoglobulin — when I researched yoghurt-making a few years back, there was no mention of this as a reason for heating, and from what i could divine it just seemed it was a form of loose pasteurisation. Nice to know there’s more reason for it.

  13. Thermomixer

    Sandy and Julie’s yoghurt is my fav too. So creamy and smooth

    Even easier to make in the Thermomix – but not enough to justify buying just for yoghurt making.

    You can st it to cook at 90°C for the time then allow to cool and mix at 37°C for a short while after adding the culture. Don’t have to worry about it boiling over and no need for a thermometer (saving !)

    Great fun having an Aga cranked up to cook (or worse heat water for the house) on the hot summer days. Memories – bad. :(

  14. Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    This seems like a suspiciously few number of steps. Are you sure someone didn’t switch your boiled milk for yoghurt while you weren’t looking, to save your feelings?

    I also don’t understand the whole fruit-already-in-yoghurt thing. Give me unadulterated yoghurt please.

  15. Anneliese

    I’ve had a couple of gos using a much lazier version of this (I must admit, my regular yoghurt making is greek yoghurt with honey from easiyo!). At the time, I thought the end consistency was a result of not stirring through the innoculum yoghurt through properly, but I didn’t realise preheating the milk to near boiling had chemistry-based advantages.

    Will have to try your version, and also to try my cheat’s version again, including stirring, and get a proper scientific comparison. I don’t suppose you’re going to crank it up another step and post your experience on making goat’s curd from that yoghurt? A girl can hope!