Fresh yogurt is great for us. It’s full of protein, calcium, vitamins, and live culture, or probiotics, which can enhance the gut flora and fauna- those friendly bacteria that are increasingly being shown to be so important for our health.
I’ve been eating lots of yogurt recently, particularly for breakfast, in an effort to dodge my normal high-carb breakfast cereals. Homemade yogurt is low-cost and low-carb.
Yogurt making is one of those things that people like to believe is expensive or difficult to do. Or that you need some sort of special equipment to make it. A quick Google shows that one of the most popular on the market will put you back around £30, which is admittedly, less than I would have expected.
However, there’s a good chance that you already have what you need in your house to do it, without purchasing more kit.
In fact, other than a spoon, what you see in the next photo is everything that you need.
Above is a photo of my trusty Morphy Richards slow cooker, a candy thermometer (about £2.50 on Ebay) a dish towel, some milk to change to yogurt, and some yogurt with live cultures to do the work.
That’s it. No dedicated piece of equipment using up space in your cupboard.
The above allowed me to make 2L of natural yogurt for around 20p, because the yogurt was reduced, and the milk was free. And when its as fresh as can be, it really is at its best.
The good thing about this method is that will the whole process will take around 8 hours, it only requires about 5-10 minutes of work- the rest of the time it’s the live cultures in the yogurt that are busy.
- Fill your slow cooker with the whole (full fat) milk and switch it on to high. The aim here is to scald our milk. The aim of this to kill of any nasty little bacteria that might have got into our milk. This give our yogurt cultures a clean slate to work in, rather than having them compete with anything that we don’t want in our milk. It also breaks down a protein called lactoglobulin, and by doing this, we will have a thicker yogurt at the end of our process.
- Keep an eye on the temperature using your candy thermometer. Once it reaches at 82-85’C, the temperature is high enough to scald your milk, and you can switch off the slow cooker.
- Now, let the temperature cool back down again. Yogurt cultures like the temperature to be around 43’C. Lift the lid off your slow cooker if you’re in a rush. I normally skim the milk skin off, but I’m not certain if this is necessary.
- Once you reach 43’C, it’s time to add your live cultures in the form of natural yogurt purchased commercially. I’ve chosen a small pot of Tesco Own Brand Natural Greek Yogurt, as I know it works. Be careful when buying your starter yogurt- some yogurts bought at the supermarket have been heat treated and will no longer contain live cultures. Either chose one that specifically says that it contains live cultures, or use the one I suggest above. I wouldn’t recommend a low-fat natural yogurt, but only because I’ve never tried that. Simply spoon the yogurt into the milk and mix well.
- Add the lid, wrap the slow cooker in a towel to help it keep the heat in, and then go make yourself a cup of coffee. The hard work is done. Just remember to LEAVE IT ALONE- opening the lid to see how it’s going just drops the temperature, and we don’t want that!
- At least 8 hours later, or overnight, your yogurt will be finished. The difference will be obvious. Take the pot out of your slow cooker and chill it in the fridge. If you prefer a thicker, Greek style yogurt, then you can strain the whey out using a few layers of cheese cloth. I didn’t bother on this occasion.
- Add fruit or flavours, dried fruit, muesli, nuts etc. Whatever you would normally add.
- Eat and enjoy