I remember many, many years ago making jokes about hippy types who could knit their own yogurt. You know, you’d see someone in open sandals in midwinter swathed in layers of multi coloured cheesecloth with a multitude of love beads and maybe sporting a dreadlock or two and just know that they were deeply veggie and embraced the yogurt culture in a big way.
That was then, this is now and friends I make my own homemade yogurt with not a love bead/dreadlock or sandal in sight, but I do use a bit of cheesecloth now and then.
I buy yogurt every week, always plain yogurt and most often high quality somewhat expensive Greek yogurt. I eat it for breakfast, stir it into soups, makes dips with it and toss in a few berries and have it as a quick and easy healthy pudding when I can’t be bothered getting too creative in the kitchen. Last year I thought I’d have a go at making my own and found it to be so darn easy, it had me kicking myself for a fool to have been forking out so much for this stuff for so many years.
There are only two ingredients in this recipe, it is seriously simple. You want to start with good quality milk, I like goats milk, it is easier to digest than cows milk and I love the taste. You’ll need 800ml (about 1 1/4 pints) of your chosen milk plus four tablespoons of plain live yogurt.
Pour the milk into a saucepan and gently heat it to 85c/185f which is the sterilising point. Make sure you have a good thermometer for this – I use my trusty jam thermometer.
When the milk has reached this temperature remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool to 43c/110f by which point a skin will have formed on top.
Scoop off the skin and discard.
Now put your yogurt into a jug and pour in a little of the cooled milk and stir well to combine thoroughly. Add the rest of the milk and stir well.
Pour this mixture into a jar and pop on the lid. Wrap the jar in a tea towel and put it somewhere warm like the airing cupboard or near a heater for 7 hours or overnight. I leave mine on top of the Aga overnight.
You can achieve a firmer and more tart yogurt by leaving it for 24 hours.
Your yogurt is now ready to use and can be stored in the fridge. If you want a thicker consistency you can line a sieve with cheesecloth (see, told you I had a use for it here!) and allow the yogurt to drain through.
If you let it drain completely you end up with cream cheese. What I do is let it drain for about an hour. Check the resulting yogurt in the sieve and scoop it into a jar, I will then stir in a little of the liquid I drained off if I feel it has become too thick and cheese-like.
Your homemade yogurt will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Now don’t go polishing it off to the last drop super tasty as it is. Make sure you hold back those all-important 4 tablespoons so that you can make your next batch of homemade yogurt and that way you only have to buy the milk.
To add flavour to your yogurt just stir in a little vanilla extract, your favourite jam/jelly or fresh fruit etc.
So there you have it homemade yogurt and not an open-toed sandal or love bead in sight. Image intact, tummy satisfied, what more could you ask.
- 800ml/1¼ pints milk
- 4 tbsp live yogurt
- Heat the milk to 85c/185f then remove from heat and allow to cool to 43c/110f
- Remove the skin that has formed and discard.
- Mix a little of the milk in a jug with the yogurt till well combined then stir in the remaining milk.
- Pour into a large jar and pop on the lid.
- Wrap jar in a tea towel and leave in a warm place for 7 hours or overnight. Leave for 24 hours for a firmer tangier yogurt.
- Store yogurt in the fridge for up to a week. Save 4 tbsp to make your next batch