Tuesday, November 30, 2010

homemade yogurt

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!
Natural Yogurt
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.


Deeba PAB said...

Thank you Sarah... I am so honoured and humbled to have a post dedicated to me. That glass is gorgeous...calling ym name! I hope to see you getting into soft cheeses soon! Good luck.
This is a beautifully written post!

Suzie Ridler said...

Has it really taken so little time? Are you doing it entirely yourself? I bought a yogurt maker and I do a lot of the prep but that yogurt maker takes 10 hours! I will be reviewing and sharing the experience soon.

Enjoy the carrot bread!

Sarah said...

Hi Deeba, thanks for your comments, which I always look forward to. Soft cheese is next on my list! I've also asked for some cheese making supplies for Christmas, so maybe I'll get to make hard cheese, too.

Suzie, thanks for visiting. Yes, it's been really easy. The vaccuum flask keeps it warm for 12 hours and it's ready! I think all that the yogurt maker does it keep it warm as well. Please let me know how your yogurt making experiences go! I enjoy your informative posts on your blog; thanks for a Nova Scotia foodie outlook!

Chele said...

Hi Sarah - thanks for your comment and for this link. I searched and searched for low fat homemade yogurt recipes and they all saud to use full fat milk etc so I am so pleased you advised otherwise. Can't wait to have a go now ;0)

Victoria Zaldivar said...

Sorry, but what is a vaccuum flask? A thermos?

Sarah said...

Yes, a vaccuum flask is the same as a thermos. Thanks, Victoria, for the question. I'll update the post to include that.

Anonymous said...

This is very convenient, but you aren't pasteurizing the milk prior to introducing the culture. This can sometimes cause "unwanted neighbors" in the culturing milk.

The longest, most annoying part of yogurt making for me is the pasteurization, but it's worth it to make sure I don't get any other bugs in there.

Sarah said...

Hello Anon, thanks for visiting. Please come back and talk more using your name. :) The milk is pasteurised, but the starter yogurt is not (since it contains live cultures). Do you mean that you pasteurise your yogurt after it is made? Unpasteurised yogurt contains more health benefits (as Dr Sears points out). Please feel free to tell me more; you've intrigued me.

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