UPDATED on 11April 2016
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 a few years back. I came across many blogs that sang the praises of homemade yogurt, and thought what a great idea that was.
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. The most common method seems to follow this: boil the milk, cool it down to 45celcius, mix the starter, set it in the microwave, and lastly set it in the fridge.
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. 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 45degree 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 aside for 8 hours....again, patience is not my key strength.
Finally, after multiple rounds of making it, it finally dawned on me what is the ultimate shortcut.
Homemade Yogurt - the Ultimate, Fuss Free Way
The basic ingredients remain...
- 1 litre of fresh pasteurised milk (Best is either Farm Fresh or Bright Cow. The newest brand in the market now is Summerfield but I havent tried them).
- 3 tbspn of store-bought, plain yogurt as the starter (I like Nestle Plain Yogurt).
1. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan and heat up to 55celcious on medium heat. Stir gently to distribute the heat. Use a thermometer to check the temperature.
2. Remove from fire, and let it cool back down to 45celcious. This should take anything from 10-30minutes, depending if you have a fan to cool it down faster. Scoop out about half a cup of milk into a bowl and mix in the starter yogurt. Stir until the starter is evenly mixed into the milk, then pour everything back into the pot. Stir gently to distribute the starter.
3. Now here is my No. 1 shortcut. If you have a thermal cooker - pour the milk into the thermal cooker, cover and let it set for 4 hours and it's done. You will get a pot of beautifully set yogurt that's thick and creamy. This is now my favourite way to make yogurt. The thermal cooker retains the warmth and speed up the fermentation, hence cutting short the time needed by half. The texture is thick and creamy.
4. If you don't have a thermal cooker, GO GET ONE. Okay okay, in the absence of a thermal cooker, my No. 2 shortcut is to cover the pot and leave it in a quiet corner / in your oven / microwave - basically a corner that's free from draft. Leave it for at least 8-10 hours before keeping it in the fridge. This method will yield a yogurt texture that's slightly more runny and sour than the thermal cooker method.
I make yogurt regularly so it is practical for me to get this mini thermal cooker. It's available from Aeon and Parkson for around RM80.
The inner pot has a capacity of just over 1 litre so it is perfect to make a 1 litre batch of yogurt. Heat the milk directly in this inner pot, stir in the starter yogurt, and put the inner pot straight into the outer green pot. Cover and let it sit for 4 hours, and it's done.
To make greek yogurt, you will need:
1. A deep bowl
2. A piece of clean muslin cloth (I use a piece of new/unused and clean baby nappy cloth)
3. A round plastic sift
Line the muslin cloth over the sift and place the sift ontop of a deep bowl. Pour the yogurt evenly over the entire sift. Cover it and put into the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight. The whey from the yogurt will drip out, leaving a thick layer of greek yogurt.
|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!|
|Greek yogurt is at its thickest straight out of |
the fridge. The longer you leave it out in room temperature, it will
become slightly runny again.
Best ways to eat yogurt:
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.
Here are some great recipes using either homemade yogurt or greek yogurt.
Yogurt Cream Cheese with Mix Herbs
Lamb Meatballs with Yogurt Dip
Durian Yogurt Cake
Chocolate and Baileys Frozen Yogurt
Avocado Mousse with Gula Melaka
Moist and Sticky Chocolate Cake
Pumpkin Chocolate cake