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A culture of yoghurt-making

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default A culture of yoghurt-making

Post by Adrian on 5th January 2011, 4:01 pm

Setting aside the challenges of knitting or weaving it, if you make your own yoghurt what's your favoured method?



The first time I really appreciated being able to make my own
yoghurt was when I worked abroad. The milk was powdered and the yoghurts available were the slimy, artificially flavoured type. So we made yoghurt from powdered milk every day, serving it to our paying guests at breakfast time with local honey or homemade lime curd. The maker was simply an electrically heated sleeve which fitted over a plastic pot, and the results were always thick and creamy – I don't think anyone ever guessed it was made from powdered milk, and I'm not sure I could have told the difference.

Prior to this I had been singularly unimpressed with homemade yoghurt. My mother made hers from fresh goat's milk in an old Bel yoghurt maker and I wasn't very keen, the finished product being strongly reminiscent of billy goat and baby sick. The machine itself was a wieldy piece of kit, similar in shape and size to an incubator and holding individual glass pots. They're no longer manufactured but sorely missed - the internet is awash with requests for instructions for use, or blogposts talking about freecycle or charity shop finds.

I recently read up on other methods of making yoghurt; in a vacuum flask, a slow cooker or low oven, the summer sun, atop a radiator in winter, on a heat pad, or simply in a bowl in the airing cupboard. All of these sound tricky in terms of keeping the temperature correct and constant so I plumped for Lakeland's electric model - simplicity itself to start using, but much harder to master.

My first batch, made with full fat organic milk and some live yoghurt as a starter tasted OK, but had an unpleasant elastic quality. The second batch, made with the addition of 2 tbsp powdered milk (recommended for producing a thicker consistency), also tasted OK, but had a grainier texture. A call to Lakeland wasn't particularly helpful, apart from the tip that a lot of people get their best results using UHT milk.

Bizarre though it may sound, this worked for me too and I made a lovely, smooth textured yoghurt with Moo Organic UHT and milk powder. However, I wasn't satisfied – I wanted the same results with unhomogenized whole milk. Fortunately, Harold McGee came to the rescue and I found that heating the milk to 90˚C for 10 minutes made much firmer yoghurt.

One thing still confused me, however. The romantic in me loves an idea put forward by a familial anecdote in Arto de Haroutunian's wonderful The Yoghurt Book.

Yoghurt starter, like sourdough starter, can be apparently be kept going indefinitely, from one generation to the next. However, the general consensus online is that you will eventually need to start again (even after about 6 weeks), as the results will get thinner. I haven't been making yoghurt from the same batch of starter long enough to be able to tell yet, but I'm intrigued to find out.

Like Nigel Slater I'm not convinced I'm saving much money, particularly when I am reducing the volume of my yoghurt by straining for labneh or following his advice and adding single cream for a thicker yoghurt. Economising isn't really the point, though.

Making my own has made me experiment more – I love yoghurt and vegetable combinations, have discovered the tenderising properties of yoghurt marinades, such as in my mother-in-law's version of raan masaledaar and feed our household's garlic addiction with tzatziki. I cool fierce curries either with raita or drinks such as lassi or a carbonated version of ayran. I've made variations of what has to be the simplest ever cake and have vowed this summer to see if I can overcome a lifelong aversion to frozen yoghurt.

If you make your own, do you use a yoghurt maker or a more esoteric method? Can you shed any light on how long a starter can be kept going, and regardless of whether or not you make your own, how do you enjoy yoghurt?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2011/jan/05/yoghurt-yogurt-making

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default Re: A culture of yoghurt-making

Post by Hathorite on 5th January 2011, 4:27 pm

This is one thing I have never mastered; I do not have yoghurt-fu and I admit I do the easy thing of making Easi-Yo with their thermos-type system. It does however make a fair bit of yoghurt for us and I do think it saves money and cuts down on waste. I only need to make it when child asks for "Pooh-bear yoghurt" (yoghurt with honey on the top) rather than wait till I can do a shop and then he's lost his taste for it.

My mum was better at the yoghurt making - she made it with a culture in a very old hand-me-down ceramic bowl, warmed in the oven. My sis and I would hardly wait for it to cool down before we'd eat the whole bowl with frozen raspberries from our grand-dad's garden. I have tried and tried to make that work and failed miserably, go figure.

In theory the culture would work in the easi-Yo container thing I have but, again, I haven't figured out how to make it work yet. So it's packet yoghurt for us (weird as that is)
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default Re: A culture of yoghurt-making

Post by Compostwoman on 5th January 2011, 6:51 pm

I make youhurt and have settled on using a wide necked thermos scalded out, Moo organic uht milk plus a bit of powder when I have it, "brewing" time then straining through boiled cheesecloth if I want it a bit firmer.

I have not noticed the starter dying off, I tend to make more in the summer and have kept some going for several months, but probably no longer than 8 weeks so not sure about that bit tbh.

Funilly enough I also made butter today which is even easier to do....! If a bit of a faff. The end results are delish, though!

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Post by chickenofthewoods on 12th January 2011, 5:54 pm

I make my own. I started out experimenting with cleaned jars and a cardboard box filled with a layer of insulation (I think it was old cushions!). Warm the milk, stir in some live yogurt, pot up, cover & leave overnight. Seemed to work ok for me.

I still use the same basic 'recipe' but I've moved on a bit now and ditched the jars on favour of a couple of old easi-yo containers with their inserts (they're often to be found in charity shops & are generally quite cheap). I find them quick and easy to use because everything's self contained, they don't take up much space or need a plug and the outer part is thermal and the liners fit snugly. All you do is top them up with boiling water screw on the lid and leave it. If I want a thicker yogurt, I just blend some milk powder into the milk before I start, then add the live yogurt culture.

We have ours with rosehip syrup and though I say so myself it's really delicious......


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default Re: A culture of yoghurt-making

Post by budburst12 on 18th January 2011, 12:33 pm

Ooh CoW, rosehip syrup and yoghut sounds really nice!

I make mine with a thermos and am all for simplicity, so use powdered milk and boiled water cooled down to ... off top of head I think it's 110 degrees C. Just dissolve milk in water and add yoghurt and stick in thermos for 4+ hours. It comes out nice and thick, if a little stringy or elasticky, but I don't mind this.

My only thing, as I've said before, is that I want to do it full fat and organic and I've yet to find a supplier of full fat organic milk powder.
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Post by boobiejuicemama on 18th January 2011, 2:48 pm

Badger wrote:

Making my own has made me experiment more – I love yoghurt and vegetable combinations

My favourite thing to do with my home made yoghurt is to finely chop some cucumber and mix it through, add a little salt, toasted mustard seeds and cumin, and finish off with some sweet (smidge) paprika......divine!! when I make this to go with curry I can tell you I eat more of the yoghurt than the curry!!
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Post by boobiejuicemama on 18th January 2011, 2:54 pm

Oh this is the equipment I use, it's kind of a thermos with a container in it. You can purchase packet mixes, which is what I did when starting out.

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Post by budburst12 on 18th January 2011, 4:06 pm

wow BJM, that sounds lovely! Thanks for the recipe Very Happy
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Post by chickenofthewoods on 18th January 2011, 5:54 pm

That's basically the same system as my old Easi-yo containers BJM. They're great and if you keep your eyes peeled at bootfairs & charity shops you'll often find them - most have hardly been used, if at all.

I think peeps start out with loads of good intentions (as you do, at the beginning of the New Year) but don't realise that you really don't need to purchase that pricy powdered stuff to make yog. in them so they get ditched (bonus for me!). Laughing

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Post by boobiejuicemama on 19th January 2011, 3:14 am

chickenofthewoods wrote:That's basically the same system as my old Easi-yo containers BJM. They're great and if you keep your eyes peeled at bootfairs & charity shops you'll often find them - most have hardly been used, if at all.

Yep it is Easi-Yo Smile I didn't mention the brand in case of confusion. I got my first one brand new, but my two subsequent ones were both second hand, but you are right, I don't think they were used at all!
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default Re: A culture of yoghurt-making

Post by Becci on 19th January 2011, 4:26 am

I've had my Easy Yo for nearly 15 years now. I have fads where I make it for a few months then go off of it. Think I'll get a few sachets when I shop tomorrow and make some though. The littlies are wanting more and more and by making it rather than buying I'm at least saving $1/kg.
About 5 years ago I went through a stage of making my own fancy yoghurt. We had recently had one of those gourmet youghurt bars istalled at the local shopping center. I loved the stuff but as a single mother bakc then I couldn't afford it all the time.
So I'd either make my own vanillo yoghurt or buy it if it was cheap enough. Add some diced apple, sultanas some homebrand untaosted muesli and soem cinnamon. Was sooo yummy!

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