I have been on a mission for a long time to make my own yoghurt. I’ve tried making yoghurt many times and every time I’ve ended up with sour, runny milk. Fine in smoothies, but not really good for anything else.
Finally, I cracked it. I managed to make proper, set, beautiful, natural yoghurt and when I did, I couldn’t stop grinning like a loon and saying to my partner over and over, “I made YOGHURT!” and kind of grabbing at his face a bit as I did so.
I live in Australia and I can say that a litre of proper, natural yoghurt with no thickeners or emulsifiers (or “weird shit,” as I think of it) costs roughly $5-$6 for non-organic stuff.
If you feel like $5 is a little too much to be paying for a litre of yoghurt then follow me, friends, and I’ll show you how to make your own for half the price, if not less.
I’m going to be rigid with these instructions because this is how I did it, so I know it works, and I want you to have the same result. I have the bossy pants on.
First, buy a yoghurt maker. You know the ones — they have a container that sits in a bigger insulated cylinder and you put hot water in the cylinder. Or you can get super-fancy and buy an electric yoghurt maker and then you can tell me about it and I can cry with envy. You can do it without a yoghurt maker of any description, but I can’t guarantee that’ll work and this is an easy, non-messy way to go about it.
Also buy a cooking thermometer. Mine is one specifically for yoghurt and cheese making and it clips on the edge of a saucepan, so if you can find something similar, that’d work really well.
Get some full-fat natural yoghurt with no preservatives, no gelatin, no weird shit. In this instance, “weird shit” includes sugar.
Buy 1 litre of full-fat, non-homogenised milk. It might have been part of my problem before that I’d used homogenised milk, I don’t know, but I know I’ve only had these good results with
non-homogenised milk (still pasteurized though – you could try it with raw milk if that’s your bag). The stuff I bought was organic, but it doesn’t have to be.
Now you have all the stuff, here’s what you do with it:
- Get a big bowl and add a lot of ice cubes and some water to it.
- If you’re using one, put the yoghurt maker on the counter because you have to move quickly once the milk is ready.
- Put the litre of milk into a saucepan and heat it on the stove until it reaches 90 degrees celsius, stirring constantly. You can clip the thermometer on the side of the saucepan in the milk but remember you’ll get a different reading from the milk at the bottom of the saucepan and the milk at the surface. You want 90 degrees all the way through. I found it hit 90 when it was at the frothy stage.
- Take the milk off the heat and quickly pour it into the jar/container of your yoghurt maker and then put the jar/container in the bowl of water and ice. Don’t put the lid on. Leave the jar/container in the bowl until the milk reaches 38 degrees Celsius, or between 35 and 40 degrees celsius.
- While you wait for it to reach the right temperature, fill the insulated part of your yoghurt maker with water, but only up to the top of the red bit inside it. Measure the temperature of the water — you want it to be as close to 40 degrees as possible so you may need to go slightly mad messing about with adding boiling water little by little until you get there.
- When the milk is the right temperature, stir two tablespoons of the shop-bought yoghurt into the milk. Don’t get all maverick and put it in when the milk is too warm because if you do, you’ll kill all the good bacteria in the shop-bought yoghurt and then all you’ll have is sour, runny milk.
- Put the lid on and then transfer the jar/container to the insulated part of the yoghurt maker and put it somewhere where it won’t be disturbed. You need to not touch it for 9-10 hours. And I mean, NOT TOUCH IT. Like, don’t slightly move it over there because you need to do stuff over here. Don’t even look at it.
- After 9-10 hours, take the jar/container out of the insulated bit and put it in the fridge.
I just realised how complicated that all sounded but it doesn’t feel that bad when you’re doing it, I promise! Put the TV on or something? I don’t know. You can keep two tablespoons from the batch you make and use it to start the next one. This is pretty cool because you’re getting a litre of proper, full fat, organic yoghurt for about $3 (cost of the milk).