We have started giving Honeybear some yoghurt. He will only eat the banana flavoured Woolies yoghurt. Why did we buy that? He chooses the most expensive one to only eat.
Yesterday I had the bright idea to make my own yoghurt so I could flavour it myself with fresh fruit puree.
This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find out it turned out very well. I picked up the pot and took it to Hubby in bed to show it to him. He was equally impressed.
I know many people make this at home, however, this is a novelty for us. Now I have a whole litre I can flavour anyway I want to. Also, I know exactly what is in it.
Our method for making homemade yoghurt:
We had a litre of full fat milk. Babies need full fat and you get a better yoghurt the more milk solids you have in the milk. Since we buy UHT milk, there was no need to heat it up. You need to heat the milk if is not pasteurised. Why? You need to break down the milk protein so that your yogurt will grow. (the bacteria needs the milk broken down, this is also why most lactose intolerant people can still have yoghurt). We used a candy thermometer, but if you don’t have one, just watch the milk until it gets to the froth stage, not boil. Using a double boiler ensures the milk does not scald. It also allows you to control the milk temperature better.
When it gets to the required temperature (85 degrees Celsius), take it off the heat and put it on the counter to cool, or you can put it into a water bath in the sink. If using a water bath, stir it occasionally. We did the water bath. Don’t put a hot pot into cold water, you can damage the pot. I poured the milk into a cold pot and put that in. Make sure it is a pot with a lid.
The milk must now cool to body temperature (around 38 degrees Celsius). Since I am so used to the temperature of my pumped breast milk, it was easy to judge the required temperature without a thermometer.
When the milk is cooled, add your starter yoghurt. We used a plain unsweetened Greek yoghurt we bought at Checkers. I think you can get organic starters at health stores. The thing to look for when using a commercial starter like we did, is to make sure the yoghurt has live cultures (the bacteria needed to grow your yoghurt). Also make sure it is unflavoured and unsweetened. The flavouring and sweeteners may have things in them that will inhibit the growth, e.g. alcohol in vanilla essence. Also, we want to sweeten with fruit puree so we left it out. I am looking forward to adding a bit of honey for me. I think you can add natural flavours like vanilla pods to the milk while heating it so you infuse the milk, and then incubate and you get a flavoured yoghurt. I prefer to keep it plain, especially this time and II’ll get adventurous later when I am more confident about doing this. I am planning on using some of it for cooking. I am thinking butter chicken for dinner. Or a creamy potato bake. I always substitute plain yoghurt for the cream. Anyway back to the yoghurt method: I used a whisk to evenly mix the starter in quickly. Be quick, because the milk cools quickly.
Now is where you get creative. You have to maintain the milk temperature in a dark place. The pot must not be disturbed. Place the lid on the pot and out it into your place of choice. We used one of those cooking cushions (I love them). We placed the pot inside and left it on the counter and went to bed. This morning it was perfect. When the yoghurt is done, you take the whisk and give it an energetic stir and stick it in the fridge. This stops the growth of the yoghurt. If you leave the yoghurt for longer, it will be thicker and tarter. Ours was in for 8 hours.
Other places I read you can incubate the yoghurt:
Wrap the pot in a blanket and put it inside a cooler box
In a warmer draw
Near a warm PC
In a warm oven
I think the idea is to maintain the temperature, keep it undisturbed and keep it dark. You can experiment until you find something that works for you. If you use a litre if milk, you get a litre of yoghurt.
I am so glad this worked. It means that Hubby and I can have an endless supply, almost, and it does not take up much time. If you want, you can put the yoghurt in the jar you will eat it out of, before you incubate. Yoghurt tends to be more and more expensive these days, and Hubby and I love it as a dessert. We feel it is less unhealthy and now we can happily eat it for cheaper.
I know you can buy a yoghurt make, but we don’t have one. I am not going to buy one, now I know my cooking cushion does the trick.
I think I must write a blog about the cooking cushion. You can save so much electricity.