Homemade Yoghurt...what, how and why!

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Yoghurt is something we enjoy on a daily basis with a mountain of granola; it’s a perfect breakfast, snack or dessert and has endless benefits when it comes to gut health. The whole idea with homemade yoghurt is to keep it ‘alive’…if you kill the bacteria, your yoghurt won’t become thick and creamy, it will remain as milk (just a little curdled and nasty!). This recipe is very simple and can be a great way of eliminating one bit of plastic packaging from your fridge!

For this recipe you won’t need any fancy equipment, just a thermometer, a pan and a sterilised jar. When it comes to the ‘incubation’ phase, we place the yoghurt next to the living room fire in the winter, or keep it in an insulated flask for between 8 to 10 hours. If you have access to an incubator, then that’s great as it will give you a consistent temperature, if not, take a check of the temperature in the warm place you intend to leave it for the 8-10 hours. According to most sources on the internet, 110ºF (43ºC) is the best temperature, however, we have found that 75ºF (24ºC) is still warm enough. Anything lower than 75ºF meant the yoghurt was VERY runny.

For our starter we used our favourite live natural yoghurt (this did mean one last little plastic pot!)…the yoghurt you make takes the flavour of the starter you use so pick one you enjoy and it must be a plain / natural flavour and bio live.

The ‘sciencey’ bit… the live bacteria in the starter feed off the sugars in the milk you have heated. They grow and ferment and as a result create lactic acid that causes the thick consistency. If the milk is too hot when the starter is added, it will kill the bacteria and nothing will happen, however, the bacteria are actually heat loving so need a warm environment to grow and ferment (this is the purpose of the incubation phase).

Ingredients

1 Litre of whole milk

15g Skimmed milk powder

80g Natural yoghurt (this will be your starter so pick a yoghurt that you like as your homemade yoghurt will take this flavour)

Equipment

A 1 litre sterilized jar (I like to use a big Kilner jar)

Milk thermometer

Pan

Method

  1. Place the milk in a large pan over a gentle heat.

  2. Keep stirring the milk and checking the temperature.

  3. Once the milk reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 Celsius) remove from the heat.

  4. Add the skimmed milk powder and stir well.

  5. Leave to cool, the milk needs to come down to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 Celsius.

  6. Once the milk has cooled to this temperature, add the yoghurt you have chosen to use as your starter.

  7. Stir well, then pour the milk into your sterilised jar and place the lid on the top.

  8. Wrap your jar in a towel and place in a warm place for at least 8-10 hours. (See notes above for more details)

  9. After the 8 hours, unwrap your jar and give the yoghurt a good stir.

  10. Place in the fridge to cool before you enjoy it.

Jodie McGregor