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How to make yogurt

 

Difficulty: Fairly easy; just needs a bit of kit
A yogurt-maker is one of those kitchen gadgets no one really needs. Buy one if you like, but it will just give you one more thing to wipe grease off.

All you need to make yoghurt is something to heat liquid in, something to tell you its temperature, something to keep it warm, and something to hold it in the fridge. In other words, a saucepan, a thermometer, a wide‑mouthed vacuum flask or two and some jars. That, and you'll also need some "starter culture", bacteria that will convert plain milk into tangy, creamy deliciousness.

You can buy starter in dried form online or in health food shops, but the easiest source is wherever you already get your groceries. A small pot of live, plain, preferably organic yogurt (check the label for "made with live cultures" or a list of "live bacteria") will contain enough bacteria to transform a litre or more of milk. While you're at it, pick up 500ml or a litre of milk – cows' or goats', pasteurized or UHT. Full-fat, semi, skimmed: they'll all make yogurt, though of decreasing thickness. If you like your yogurt extra-creamy, you could also invest in some powdered milk.

Back home, let the ready-made yogurt come to room temperature, pour the milk into a saucepan and whisk in 25g powdered milk (if using) for every 500ml of milk. If this is pasteurized, heat it to 85C, stirring occasionally, then leave it to cool to about 46C (this process results in thicker yoghurt, as well as killing some unwanted bacteria). If UHT, simply warm it to 46C. Then whisk or stir in the live yoghurt – about 3 tbsp for every 500ml.

Before the mixture can cool, pour it into your warmed Thermos(es) and screw down the lid(s). Leave it for eight hours or so – or longer if you like your yoghurt thicker and stronger-tasting.

If it either tastes or smells off, chuck it away and start again. Otherwise pour it into clean jars and store it in the fridge. If you're happy with how it turns out, you can use a little of it as starter for your next batch. Freeze this if you won't be using it within the next few days.

Comments

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By: Anna
On: 04/27/2014 07:16:34
Wow who knew it was this easy! That is crazy. You mean all this time I have been spending a fortune on my little cups of yogurt and all I have to do is this recipe? It is almost too easy. It really makes me wonder why people are not doing it? It is nothing, no work at all. This is going to be really interesting to try. I eat a lot of greek yogurt and have those small individualized cups for snacks. It isn't cheap and sometimes I don't like the flavorings in them when I experiment and try something new. If I can create my own, I can easily do my own flavoring experiments. And I will save loads of money if I can make it myself with the above recipe. Great recipe! Thanks!
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By: Louise
On: 04/29/2014 10:16:57
Glad I saw this article. Coincidentally I had just been reading about yogurt making machines, and was thinking I should get one. Apparently it is not needed! Good news, as my kitchen is already wall to wall contraptions. Will give this a try.
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By: Catherine
On: 05/18/2014 17:59:46
Like another commenter, I love Greek yogurt and eat it all the time. I wonder if this recipe is the recipe for Greek yogurt- or what the difference is. The one thing I HATE with store nought yogurts (especially the ones in the individual little cups) is how sugary they are. They are actually really bad for you and you may as well eat candy given the amount of sugar. Yogurt on the other hand is high in protein and low in sugar when made correctly. Also, they sometimes put geletin in it for some bizarre reason, which is NOT yogurt. I will give this a try since there are so few decent store bought yogurts.
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By: Alex
On: 08/24/2014 14:59:20
Yogurt.. food that involves bacterial reactions to make it.. umm, no, not for me... just the sound of it puts me off... I agree with George Carlin who said "Yogurt ewwww! It doesn't sound right to me. I can never eat any food that has both a y and a g in it."

But I will pass the article along to my wife - she loves the stuff - so thanks!
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By: Jenny
On: 09/07/2014 12:50:39
Ha ha ha Alex! I remember that George Carlin routine. Funny stuff! Thanks for reminding us. I still love my yogurt though. Also, it is recommended for women for a variety of health issues. So its nice to be able to make it myself, rather than pay a fortune for the sugary, gelatin filled little cups of yuck in the grocery store (I am thinking yoplait which really is just sugar and gelatin and grossness and should not be called yogurt - SO bad for you!) Home made yogurt is much healthier and versatile and nice. Good recipe
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By: Kevin
On: 09/14/2014 10:18:02
Isn't yogurt what happens to milk when you leave it in the fridge for a couple months? Is that solid stuff yogurt? Have I made yogurt through slobbishness without even trying? I know, probably not. I like yogurt though I tend to eat the kind that would make some of the commenters here cringe - the sugary, dessert-like kind. I'd probably be better off if I made nice yogurt like this, and then I can add fruit or honey or something to make it a bit more treat like.

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