Yoghurt was never really something I considered making myself. It just sounded like too much hard work and like too much could go wrong. Recipes I looked up all required special yoghurt makers, thermometers or wrapping slow cookers in towels in the oven overnight – not for me!
But then I read GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) by Dr Natasha Campbell McBride and she talked about introducing homemade yoghurt as part of the process of gut healing (if tolerated). Real yoghurt, not store bought ones with additives, thickeners, sugar and flavours. Now, there are a few brands of commercial yoghurts that are free of all those nasties but they are not too easy on the wallet. Personally, I eat goat’s yoghurt because I don’t tolerate cow’s milk products of any description. The only goat’s yoghurt that had no thickeners or other additives was costing me over $13 a litre. When you eat over a litre a week, this gets pretty expensive. The other advantage of making it yourself is that you know that the yoghurt contains live bacteria – which is what you need for a healthy gut.
So, as I have moved to make most things from scratch, I decided it was time to give yoghurt a go. I managed to buy a second hand easiyo for $10 and using the store bought yoghurt I already had in the fridge, I gave it a go. No thermometer, a combination of every homemade yoghurt recipe I could find on the internet and a bit of luck and I had some delicious homemade goat’s yoghurt! I have ‘perfected’ my technique to get a thicker yoghurt and have also made it with grass fed cow’s milk – it has not failed me yet! (except the time I tried to do it without heating the milk at all). Although there are a few steps involved, it doesn’t take more that 10 minutes in total of actual work.
I did swap the plastic container for a 1 litre glass jar as I was not keen on having my food sitting in heated plastic and generally try to use glass for food storage whenever possible.
So, grab yourself a cheap yoghurt maker (or try one of the other techniques on the internet) and make some delicious and crap free yoghurt for a fraction of the cost!
1 litre of the best fresh goat’s or cow’s milk that you can afford.
3 heaped tablespoons of yogurt. When you make each batch, save 3 tablespoons as the starter for your next batch.
In a large saucepan heat the milk on a low to medium heat until there are tiny bubbles all over the surface – there will be a skin on the very top and the bubbles will form underneath. Don’t let it boil – although I have accidentally had it almost boil over and the yoghurt has still worked perfectly. It usually takes about 30 minutes depending on the heat level. You don’t have to stand there, just check it every now and again.
At this point, remove the milk from the heat and leave it to cool until you can comfortably leave your (clean) finger in there for at least 10 seconds with no discomfort – like a warm bath. You don’t want it too hot or you will kill the bacteria but too cold and it won’t work. This takes around 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes depending on the air temperature.
When it is at the right temperature, remove the skin with a spoon (otherwise it will leave a horrible texture in the yoghurt) and stir in the 3 tablespoons of yoghurt. Give it a decent mix but it is ok if there are still some lumps.
Boil the kettle and fill the yoghurt maker to the correct level. I also like to fill the glass jar with boiling water and tip it straight out – this sterilises they jar (although it works fine without doing this) and gives the milk a slightly warmer environment.
Pour the milk into the jar put the lid on, place the jar in the yoghurt maker and pop on the lid. Don’t move it at all while the yoghurt is in there.
Leave for 24 hours for a nice thick yoghurt or less time if you like it thinner (I think the minimum is 6 hours). I usually forget about mine for at least 24 hours. Cow’s milk will make slightly thicker yoghurt than goat’s. You can see if it has set by tipping the jar – it will move away from the side and seem fairly solid.
Remove from the yoghurt maker and pop in the fridge to cool. Enjoy!!
Don’t forget to save 3 heaped tablespoons for your next batch.
If you need some sweetener or flavour try some raw honey or maple syrup, acai berry blend or chopped fruit. To make a meal out of it add some berries or other fruit, chia seeds, hemp seeds, granola, nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds – the choices are endless!
If you give this a try, I would really love it if you would leave a comment to let me know. And please feel free to share the recipe with your friends!