This post is dedicated to Deeba at Passionate about Baking. She is an amazing cook, photographer, and blogger, who has inspired me a lot. She has great ideas for fruity, creamy, or chocolately desserts. And she makes her own cheeses and yogurts, and she's answered lots of questions from me about how to do these things. Thank you, Deeba!
At each stage of the cooking journey I have found that I am surprised at how easy a recipe or meal often is, especially those which seemed particularly tough previously. When I started to cook for myself as an adult I realised that many of the meals I had eaten at home were within my skills as a beginning cook. I had two cookbooks and a cooking notebook with some of my Mother's recipes, and I noticed that successful meals were as easy as following directions. And since starting this food blog, I have learned that making homemade risotto is quite simple, from-scratch Caesar salad is basic, and even making my own mayonnaise is not that hard.
Given all this, I was still blown away by how easy it is to make yogurt in my own kitchen. I have done it five times in the last five weeks--each time is has taken less than ten minutes.
To join me in this thrillingly easy hobby, you need two special-ish items of equipment. First, a kitchen thermometer. You can buy this at a large grocery store or a kitchen shop for about the cost of a paperback book. Secondly, you need a vaccuum flask (thermos) to keep the yogurt warm while the bacteria are growing. (If you have a warm radiator that you can put a glass bottle on for twelve hours, then that will be perfect. But a vaccuum flask is good whatever your house's heating arrangements.)
The milk needs to be heated to 46 C--any hotter than this and the bacteria are killed, too cool and they won't grow enough. If you overheat the milk, just let it cool down to 46 C before adding the live yogurt. On my gas hob and in a small saucepan, heating the milk to the required temperature takes four minutes. Four! I turn the burner on, and it's ready before I've made a cup of tea.
After the milk is heated, mix in some live yogurt. Transfer it to the glass bottle and wrap it up on your warm radiator, or put it into the vaccuum flask and leave it on the counter for twelve hours. Sometimes I heat the milk in the morning and then the yogurt is ready to be put in the fridge in the evening. Other times I have made the yogurt when I'm making our evening meal and then it's ready for breakfast.
Are you convinced to try yogurt at home yet? Hopefully you are starting to see how easy it is. In addition, it's also cheaper than buying yogurt at the store, and you can add anything you want--or nothing at all. Eat it with fresh fruit, jam stirred through it, with oatmeal or museli, or use it on curries and kebabs.
So give it a try. It's as easy as all those other cooking things you have successfully tried over the years!
makes 2 c (500 ml)
2 c (500 ml) milk
3 T natural live yogurt
Heat the milk in a saucepan to 115 F (46 C).
Remove from heat and stir in the live yogurt.
Place in a vaccuum flask and seal. Leave for 12 hours, then transfer to another container and refrigerate.
Use the last 3 T of yogurt to make the next batch.