Since Bo and I got back from Indo we have been living in haze of uncertainty. I’ve been a bit of an emotional whirlwind and Bo has been getting over a repeat of that awful flu she had just before we left the village. We’ve had more than a bit of time on our hands, and I haven’t really known what to do..
But I have had access to all of these wonderful things that I’ve been without for so many years. I’ve also been thinking a lot about money. Our family relies on my measly freelanced based income (which is pretty minimal when you have a baby that doesn’t sleep) to stay afloat at the moment, and it’s tough going most of the time. So finding creative, healthy and eco-friendly ways to cut costs is right up there on my things to do list.
Given how much yoghurt Bo and I both eat I decided that I should make my own. That way I can be sure it’s organic, baby friendly and packed full of the good stuff AND we could cut some costs. Sounds like a win win to me. I was nervous to try. I’m not so good at following instructions, I’m more of a fake it till you make it kind of girl, especially in the kitchen… which sometimes turns out gloriously and other times, fails miserably. I read lots of instructions online as to how to make yoghurt, but I don’t posses fancy things like candy-thermometers or special metal bowls or any of that sort of thing and damned if I was gonna go out and buy them…
So I read a bit and then I just winged it… and you know what? It worked! It’s so easy, no measuring, no thermometers, no stress yoghurt making. Right here. Right now…
- Milk (however much you need to fill your jar) – I’ve been using full fat fresh milk but apparently low fat works too.
- Milk Powder – You can skip this one, I have, but using it makes a much creamier, more set, yoghurt.
- Yoghurt starter – You can use the powdered stuff OR you can just use a bit of your favourite yoghurt. I used unsweetened organic natural yoghurt. Just make sure that it has the live culture in it, most good yoghurts do.
- Glass Jar – you can use plastic if you want but glass is nicer, and more earth-friendly.
Preheat your oven to whatever degrees. It doesn’t matter so much cos you are going to turn it off. I usually just cook something. Last night I roasted pumpkin. When the oven is hot (or whatever you are cooking is done) turn the oven off and leave the door CLOSED to hold the heat in.
Whisk together milk and a couple of heaped teaspoons (I never measure, so just use whatever) milk powder in your saucepan. Don’t worry about lumps, they don’t matter.
Turn the heat on and cook the milk until just before it boils. When the little bubbles start forming around the edges and the milk is steaming, turn it off. If you forget, like I have, and it boils, don’t worry about it – it still works – just remove that skin from the top and keep going.
Let the milk cool down till it’s warm but not hot. Stick your finger in, if it burns… wait longer. When it is just warm to touch, that’s pretty good.
Take out a cup of the milk and mix it with your yoghurt starter. Just use a couple of teaspoons of yoghurt starter, it doesn’t seem to matter if you use lots or not too much… Once combined add the cup of mixed milk back into the saucepan.
Pour the yoghurt mixture into a CLEAN jar and pop the lid on. Wrap in a tea towel, cloth nappy, baby blanket – whatever and pop it in your already warm oven. Leave the oven light on but the oven should be off. Close the door.
That’s it. You’re done. I just leave it over night. 12 hours-ish, sometimes longer if I forget. The longer you leave it the more tart and yoghurt-y it becomes. In the morning take the yoghurt out and put it in the fridge. It will last about 2 – 3 weeks, and to make the next batch? Just use a few spoonfuls of THIS batch as your yoghurt starter. That’s right… no more buying commercial yoghurt. Ever.
That’s it. Eat it plain, add fruit, cook with it, yum! So easy. And so cost effective. My guess is each jar (my jars are 950ml) is costing me around $2 max. Compared to $5+ for 500ml of the natural unsweetened yoghurt I usually buy? That’s definite savings.
Do you make your own yoghurt? Do you have any tips? Any tricks? Any awesome ideas? I can’t wait to make coconut yoghurt – just by substituting the cows milk for coconut milk – delicious, healthy and vegan friendly too. That will be next weeks experiment!