Homemade Yoghurt in bowl with berries
Reducing Waste,  Tutorial

How to: Homemade Yoghurt

Homemade yoghurt is one of the things I suggested you could try making from scratch at home. At the time we were subscribed to a homemade yoghurt delivery service provided by a local young person. Since then I have perfected my own homemade yoghurt technique and I thought I would share it with you.

I have read many instructions about making homemade yoghurt and followed a number of versions with mixed success. In particular, I had very mixed results with using another batch of active-culture yoghurt, store-bought or otherwise, as a starter for a fresh batch. To save you the trial and error I went through, this is the process with which I seem to have consistent success. This makes a creamy, thick yoghurt with a nice tang.

Thick Plain Homemade Yoghurt

Equipment and Materials

  • 1L (1 quart) milk1
  • 2 Tbsp full-cream milk powder
  • 1 dose yoghurt culture2
  • 1L (1 quart) clean glass jar and lid
  • large saucepan
  • cooking thermometer
  • whisk
  • Small cooler bag or esky
  • Small towel
  • Small heat pack
  • Blanket

Instructions

heating milk for yoghurt
Heat the milk gently in the saucepan

1. Pour the milk into the saucepan and heat gently3 to 90°C (194°F).

2. Hold the milk between 70 and 90°C (158-194°F) for 20 minutes. This is part of the process to make the yoghurt thicker and isn’t necessary for making a thinner yoghurt.

holding temperature of the milk
Hold the temperature between 70 and 90°C for 20 minutes

3. Partially fill the sink with cold tap water. Place the saucepan in the sink and rapidly cool the milk to 47°C (117°F).

4. While the milk is cooling, heat the heat pack following the heat pack instructions.

yoghurt culture and milk powder
Prepare the milk powder and culture

4. Mix the milk powder with about half a cup of just warm water and whisk to a smooth consistency.

5. Add the yoghurt culture and milk powder solution to the cooled milk and whisk until thoroughly combined.

pouring milk into jar to make yoghurt
Pour milk into the glass jar

6. Pour milk into glass jar4 and close the lid.

7. Wrap the jar in the small towel and place in the cooler bag with the heat pack ensuring that the jar stays upright.

yoghurt jar left to develop
Wrap the jar in a towel and place it in the cooler bag

8. Wrap the cooler bag in the blanket and leave overnight on the kitchen bench.

9. The longer the yoghurt stands like this, the stronger the yoghurt flavour will become. I leave mine for between 12 and 18 hours or thereabouts. After this time, unwrap the jar and your yoghurt should be beautifully set and flavoursome. Refrigerate and it is ready to eat.

fresh, thick homemade yoghurt

Whether you use EasiYo for your starter or yoghurt culture (see notes), making your own yoghurt is a significant monetary saving. A litre of yoghurt can be as little as $1.60, depending on the milk you prefer to use, where 1kg (about 1L) of store-bought yoghurt can cost upwards of $4.

For those of us wanting to reduce the waste we produce, it is the reduction in the amount of plastic consumed that might be the most significant aspect though.

Notes:

1 I have only ever made yoghurt with fresh full-cream dairy milk. I can’t vouch for success with skim or other types of milk. Do let me know if you try though!

2 I purchase my yoghurt culture from Green Living Australia. It is about $23 but that is enough to make 100L of yoghurt. A dose is only about the size of a matchhead! Alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of EasiYo Natural or Greek Style Unsweetened yoghurt powder. This contains just milk powder and culture and is readily available from the supermarket. I have used this method successfully too and it is pretty much just as cost effective. The downside is that it requires more plastic packaging. Keep the remaining sachet or culture in the freezer indefinitely.

3 Heating the milk gently (over a period of about 40 minutes) is the solution to the milk getting a bit grainy which can happen if it is heated more quickly.

4 I don’t sterilise my jar and we consume our yoghurt very quickly so it isn’t a problem for us. If you wish, sterilise the jar before filling. Make sure the jar is not too hot before filling it.

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