Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yogurt Making Adventures - How to make yogurt.

Lately I've been telling everyone who will listen (and probably those that don't listen too) about my yogurt making adventures. Now that I've got a blog and can expand my scope even further and subject even more people to my excited yogurt talk - Hurrah! 

I started making yogurt recently because you can do it fairly cheaply and easily. Also, yogurt is delicious. Here's how to do it:
You will Need:
A large pot.
A large Jar or container to hold the yogurt.
A crock-pot/slow-cooker/other incubation device.
A thermometer. (don't skip this one - it's vital)
2 Litres of Milk
2/3 cup of Full Cream Milk Powder
Yogurt Culture OR good quality Greek yogurt.
Calcium Chloride (Optional)
Sugar/Flavourings (Optional)

1. Add the milk to the pot. 

2. Add 4-6 drops of Calcium Chloride and 2/3 cup of Milk Powder.

 3.  Heat the milk until it reaches 90°C. Hold it at this temperature for about 10 minutes.  This process causes the whey proteins to unravel and coagulate(or something equally scientific that I don't understand) and in the end helps to make a nice and thick yogurt. The heating also kills rogue bacteria that can spoil the yogurt.

 4. Pour the hot milk into your yogurt receptacle and add any extra sweeteners/flavourings that you would like. Adding flavourings is optional. If you add nothing you will get a plain greek-style yogurt that is delicious 'as is'. If you combine a teaspoon and a half of Vanilla bean paste and half a cup of sugar you will get a very nice vanilla yogurt. I went off on a bit of a tangent this week and decided to experiment with coffee yogurt. I figured I'd use the cheap coffee essence as a trial because good quality coffee is expensive and I wasn't sure whether the coffee and yogurt flavours would go well together. I'd like to try a yogurt where I add some almond meal at this step. . . I think that almond-yogurt could be interesting.

^^ This is what my coffee-yogurt concoction looked like before incubation.

5. Cool the mixture down to about 40-42°C. You can do this by sitting the container in the freezer, putting it in an esky, or sitting it in cold water. I went for the freezer method.

 6. When the yogurt mixture gets to around 40°C-42°C take it out of the freezer and add the yogurt culture. If you're using the powdered yogurt culture you only need to add a VERY small amount. If you are using already made yogurt as your culture starter you will need to add about three tablespoons of yogurt to the mixture for each litre of yogurt.

 7. Add your yogurt mixture to whatever heat-maintaining-device you're planning to use. I wrap the container in tea towels and put it in a slow cooker and then cover the whole thing in a cool-bag to keep the heat in. If using the slow cooker method you need to set the slow cooker on 'low' for about 15 minutes every 3 hours; this helps maintain the 40°C temperature. You will need to incubate the yogurt for about 8-10hrs, checking the temperature every now and then. 

 8. After 8-10 hours the yogurt should be done. You will know it's ready when it feels firm on the top when touched with the back of a spoon. Whack the yogurt in the fridge and try and wait in anticipation for it to cool. I generally co-ordinate my yogurt making to that it finishes incubating late at night. This means that I put it in the fridge at night and can eat it in the morning.


^This is the finished coffee-yogurt I made. It turned out pretty good. Coffee and yogurt have fairly different flavour profiles so I knew it was a bit of a risk trying to combine them. Nevertheless it's certainly edible, albeit a bit odd, and I think the taste is growing on me.

I bought the yogurt culture, thermometer, and Calcium Chloride from Green Living Australia (link here) at a pretty reasonable price. They also delivered the materials to me the next day in a refrigerated package. I was impressed. 

Next up I'll try to make cheese, so there will be a blog post on that soon.  :)

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