UPDATED on 23 Oct 2010 with additional photos and details
Note: Since I posted this, I have had quite a lot of queries and feedback on the finer points of making homemade yogurt. Based on all this discussion, I have added in some new photos for better illustration as well as some specific points on the cooking process. Hope this helps!
For someone who loves her yogurt with a passion, it has never occurred to me to make my own yogurt until recently. I came across many blogs that sang the praises of homemade yogurt, and i thought what a great idea. Homemade yogurt has no addictives, preservatives or colouring, and certainly none of that mouth-puckering aftertaste or bite. It is way cheaper than commercial ones, you can control the sweetness of it and make it as creamy or as watery as you like. Perfecto!
To get a good feel about the whole process, i must have read about 20+ different postings on how to make yogurt. In the end, I settled for what seems to be the most straightforward method - boil the milk, cool it down to 40degree celcius (most important), mix the starter, set it in the microwave, and lastly set it in the fridge. I won't explain the details here, you can google it and there're plenty of postings on how to do this.
So I thought that sounds do-able. On my first attempt, I started around 2pm, and had to set my alarm at 12.30AM (yes that's twelve thirty MIDNIGHT) to finish off the last step. Yup, making your own yogurt takes about 10 hours at the least. But the good thing is most of the time it's just waiting for it to set.
However, after experimenting with it a few times, there are a few details that kept bugging me.
1. Like boiling the milk. I have a bad habit of multitasking on a million things, so keeping an eye on boiling stuffs (like milk and porridge which boils over VERY easily, and require constant stirring to prevent browning) does not really work with me ;P
2. Like waiting for the milk to cool to 40degree celcius. It took almost two hours, and i was hotfooting like a cat on hot coals. Patience - not my best virtue ;P
3. Like setting it in the microwave for 5 hours....but the microwave is my best friend, and it's off limits for FIVE hours??
I kept thinking there must be a way to simplify this
So now may I present to you...
Homemade Yogurt - the Ultimate, Fuss Free Way
The basic ingredients remain...
- 1 litre of fresh pasteurised milk (I like to use Marigold Low Fat Milk)
- 3 tbspn of store-bought, plain yogurt as the starter (I use Nestle Natural Set Yogurt).
...but the process is significantly easier :)
1. Pour the milk into a pot and heat to 40degree celcius on medium heat. Use a thermometer to check the temperature. This is a crucial step - do not heat the milk above 43C as that will risk the bacteria being killed by too much heat.
2. Remove from fire, use a ladle to scoop out a little milk and mix in the starter. Stir until the starter is evenly mixed into the milk, then pour everything back into the pot. Stir gently to distribute the starter.
3. Cover and leave it for 6 hours. I usually just set it aside in a quiet corner in my dry kitchen, away from any draft.
4. After 6 hours, the texture of the yogurt would have turned into a very wobbly pudding (like a tau-fu-fa). Don't be tempted to touch it or swirl the pan or disturb it in any way. Just gently put it into the fridge to set overnight or for at least 6 hours.
That's IT! The Executive Summary. In four sentences. (The ex-consultant in me talking).
No need to boil the milk and risk a messy stovetop, or wait for 2 hours to cool the milk, or hog the microwave for 5 hours. Instead of 2.5 hours for step 1 and 2, this can now be done in 2 minutes flat.
All you need is one pot to do the whole job. Choose one that can hold just over 1 litre of liquid, and that which has two ear handles rather than a saucepan - for easier storage in the fridge; and a clear glass cover so you can see what's happening to the yogurt.
|Creamy yet runny. This is straight out of the fridge after the overnight |
fermentation. Notice that there is no separation of whey and yogurt.
It is all runny creaminess. This is what you aim to get.
If you like it thick and creamy ala Greek yogurt style, strain it over a muslin cloth or coffee filter in a sift atop a deep bowl.
|Strain it like so.|
|Thick and creamy. Just like cream cheese. Minus the calories.|
|Another batch that I made recently, it is so thick, almost curdlike.|
|Lift up the muslin cloth and it will fold over like a lazy sleepyhead!|
|The thing about strained yogurt is - it is at its thickest straight out of |
the fridge. The longer you leave it out in room temperature, it will
become runny again, but of course not as runny as before straining.
The only thing you need to be aware of is, since we are not boiling the milk, to make sure that all your cooking equipment is scrupulously clean and free from grease, to minimise any risk of contamination.
So here you go, homemade yogurt in the easiest possible way :) Just remember to save some of your new homemade batch as the starter to make the next batch.
1. Have it with muesli and bananas for breakfast
2. As a healthy fruit salad whenever the mood strikes
3. Blend it with fruits for a great tasting smoothie.
4. Strain it into a thick and creamy texture, and make your own Greek style herb yogurt cheese dip - recipe coming up in later post!