Foolproof home-made yogurt
What could be nicer than always having a big bowl of fresh, organic probiotic yoghurt ready in the fridge.
Making it is easy-peasy and I usually do it while having breakfast. It’s half the price of commercial stuff, and because it has fewer ingredients, it has fewer ‘food miles’ as well. What could be better.
If you’ve made yogurt before, you probably bought some commercial live yogurt to start, and then saved a fwe scoops from each batch to start the next until, after a few goes, it lost its potency and you had to start again with fresh shop-bought yogurt. All of which was costly and unpredictable.
Well, not any more.
My new, foolproof technique has one crucial ingredient: some probiotic “pixie dust”, aka commercial yoghurt culture. In other words, the culture that commerical yogurt producers use.
I sourced a sachet from someone selling yoghurt at Dublin’s Temple Bar food-market; it cost €10, and is good for 200 litres of milk… two years later I’m still using it (just store it, sealed, in the freezer)
Or, you can buy a box of 10 sachets here, and sign-up nine friends to share the box with you!
To make 2-litres of yoghurt:
2-litres of milk (full-fat works best, and I like to use organic)
A pinch of probiotic culture (less than 1/8 of a teaspoon works fine)
A timer (essential, so that you don’t forget the heating/cooling milk while doing something else, such as eating breakfast!)
A large bowl & lid to culture the yoghurt
Somewhere warm (I’m currently using a ‘nest’ made out of a sleeping bag (!) in a draft-free cupboard; but I’ve also used a tea-cosy over the bowl, and a south-facing window on a sunny day; and in winter, the warming plate from an old wine-making kit)
1] heat the milk until nearly boiling (about to lift off!) about 10 minutes.
2] Cool the milk, until it drops to about 45° (so you can just bear to stick a (clean) finger in it and count to 10). I sit the saucepan uncovered in a sink of cold water for about 10 minutes; remember, the timer! (if it gets too cold, just heat it up again a little)
3] Pour the warm milk into the bowl (plastic is best for staying warm; if using glass/metal, preheat the bowl).
4] Add a pinch of the culture, and stir well.
5] Cover, and place somewhere warm and undisturbed for about 10 hours, or over night.
6] Cool fully, before refrigerating
While culturing, try not to disturb it, as this can upset the process.
The bacteria double in number every 20 minutes, so if the yoghurt hasn’t set even after 10 hours, it may just need another 20-40 minutes (happened to me just the once); because it has probably cooled by then, simply transport the bowl (carefully) and set it in a basin of boiling water for 20-40 minutes.
This may sound elaborate, but it really is very simple. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it in the morning while having breakfast, and come home in the evening to a batch of fresh organic yoghurt, and for a fraction of the price of commercial stuff.
And no plastic rubbish!
And, if you like that, I have a 101 tips for saving time, money and resources in my new book, Drive like a Woman, Shop like a Man.
(c) Mary Mulvihill 2009