How to make yoghurt at home

Posted on 13 January 2011

Yoghurt is our weekly must make product.  We usually use 2L of Cleopatra’s raw cow’s milk (including the cream on top), heat it to 85° C then let it cool to 43° C. Since raw milk is illegal to sell for consumption in Australia, Cleopatra’s raw milk is sold as Bath Milk, for cosmetic purposes only… but if you aren’t “brave” enough to use raw milk or can’t get a hold of it, just buy some organic pasteurised unhomogenised milk (see the UPDATE at the end of this post for more information).

We then add 2 grains of the yoghurt culture… we got ours from cheeselinks.com and chose the type below but you can find other types elsewhere too… (you can also use a few tablespoons of a good quality store bought yoghurt instead, see the UPDATE at the end of this post).

… and incubate it overnight at around 43° C (we just put it in a preheated oven that’s been turned off with the light kept on).

That’s it!

How easy is that??

We eat it with our homemade muesli, with curry, make a cucumber and yoghurt salad, make a lemon-yoghurt-oil salad dressing, drizzle it over orange couscous with dates and pistachios, have it for dessert over fresh fruit and now we are trying to make frozen yoghurt…

Yoghurt with Fruit

Cucumber Yoghurt or Raita or Tzatziki…

Strawberry Yoghurt with Nectarines

Roast Sweet Potato (from our garden) and Pumpkin Salad with Lemon Yoghurt Dressing

Yoghurt with our home made muesli

And it’s not just that this yoghurt is delicious.  It provides us with the probiotics needed to grow lots of friendly bacteria to overcome pathogens and disease.  We use a yoghurt culture that survives the digestive process and continues to proliferate down to the intestinal tract and lower bowel.  According to Elisabeth Fekonia (who taught us how to make yoghurt – and if you get the chance, you should not miss out on one of her workshops!), we are born with a good supply of this bacteria but tend to lose them with our modern lifestyles, antibiotics, stress and bad diets but by regularly consuming this sort of yoghurt we can maintain healthy bowel flora.  And by experience, JSR’s lifelong poor digestion has dramatically improved.  Also, commercial yoghurts have all sorts of extras like fillers and powdered milk added to them to make them thicker.

The jars of yoghurt and stewed (seasonal, organic and local) fruit in the photograph below have description tags because we made them as part of our Christmas gifts.  It was a great success :). To see more of the produce we made, click here.

Why don’t you make your own yoghurt? Please be sure to let us know how it goes or share a recipe you enjoy using it in.

If you are interested in other ways you can transform milk, see our previous posts on making brie and butter and keep an eye out for coming posts describing how you can easily make kefir, ghee, sour cream and cottage cheese at home too.

UPDATE

If you can’t get your hands on raw milk, you can still make yoghurt with pasteurised milk… just skip the step of heating up to 85° C  and heat straight to 43° C.

If you don’t want to buy the yoghurt culture grains, you can simply use a couple of tablespoons of a store bought good quality live cultured yoghurt. Once you have made your first batch of yoghurt, simply keep a few tablespoons aside for inoculating your next batch. Apparently this will only work a handful of times though.

A suggestion I’ve seen for lengthening the use of your store bought good quality live cultured yoghurt:

  • Divide the store bought yoghurt into portions of 2-3 tablespoons and freeze them.
  • Use one portion of your store bought frozen yoghurt to make your new homemade yoghurt.
  • Keep 2-3 tablespoons of your new homemade yoghurt and continue this process for the next 5 or so batches.
  • Now use your next frozen portion… and repeat above.
You want thicker yoghurt?? Try one or a combination of the following: Add more cream to the milk. Do not stir, move or disturb the yoghurt whilst it is incubating as the bacteria really don’t like it. After the incubation period put the yoghurt in the freezer for an hour before transferring it to the fridge. Incubate the yoghurt for a longer period of time. Try straining it through muslin/cheesecloth in a colander  with a bowl underneath to catch the whey. Simply pour the yoghurt in, let it sit in the fridge and wait until it is the texture you want. Strained yogurt is thicker, creamier, and less acidic but you also end up with a lot less yoghurt. I suggest choosing to strain or not depending on what you are using it for.
Yoghurt isn’t working? Still seems like milk? You are probably incubating it at too high temperatures and killing all the bacteria. Try using a thermometer in your oven to check the actual temperatures inside.


12 responses to How to make yoghurt at home

  • Laura says:

    Hey guys, what a fantastic blog! I’ve really enjoyed making my way through all the different posts and have re-read many of them each time I come back. I can’t wait to try making my own yoghurt and cheese! Which fruit did you use in your beautiful yoghurt christmas gifts? Have you tried making feta yet? x

    [Reply]

  • Making Sense of Things says:

    Thanks Laura for your warm feedback! That’s much appreciated :-)
    We use a number of different fruits for the yoghurt – depending on the season really. If I remember well, the yoghurt christmas gifts were made with raspberries and ginger. In all cases, mango is generally a winner, as are strawberries and peaches…
    We haven’t tried making feta cheese yet, but it sure would be a good idea… :-)

    Anyway, we’d be happy to hear from you again ;-)

    [Reply]

  • Adam Stevens says:

    Love it! We bought a yogurt maker (plug in type) but need more jars for it! I like your use of the oven! Although I like the idea of a thermos type incubator, having it in reusable personal serving size containers is great!

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Using an oven isn’t always easy though… we’ve been moving a lot lately so we’ve had different ovens to use… as a result every time we make oven in a ‘new’ oven, we have to stay close to monitor the temperature inside for several hours… It’s worth the efforts though! :)

    [Reply]

  • Vandermay says:

    Greetings! I’ve been following your website for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good job!

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Thanks Vandermay!

    [Reply]

  • Jasmine says:

    Hello !

    Do you always heat your raw milk up to 85 degrees celsius ? Why exactly that temperature ? Is it safe if I skip this step and use the milk as it is ?

    Thank you.Keep up the good work !

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    Sorry for the late response Jasmine… you can make the yoghurt raw if you like and only heat it to 42/43 degC and add the culture… this would be called raw yoghurt then and you run the risk of some pathogenic bacteria growing. We pasteurise it to 85degC to kill pathogenic bacteria but not EVERYTHING good in there too… UHT is milk that has been heated to higher temperatures than 85 for longer periods of time. I’m afraid that what you decide to do has to be a personal choice based upon research and acceptance of various risks (both ways)… good luck :) For me, it’s a constant battle but one I enjoy doing because it always leads me to research, research, research :)

    [Reply]

  • Dan says:

    I just read your post and found it be quite interesting. In the past when I have made yogurt I have just used the EziYo system which is placing cold milk and culture into a lidded jar and placing the jar into the thermos vessel in a bath of boiling water for 12 hours on the bench. I was thinking about using the cleo milk straight with this method but now I wonder if it would either damage the enzymes in the raw milk OR allow the undesirable bacteria to proliferate. Have got any good websites or suggestions you recommend in relation to this?

    [Reply]

    Making Sense of Things Reply:

    hmmm… I don’t have any websites to recommend, sorry… this is really a personal choice you have to make based upon your research. Some people feel too nervous to use raw milk for yoghurt, without pasteurising it first.

    [Reply]

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  • […] homemade, crunchy, nutty granola, served with a generous spoonful of kefir or good quality natural yoghurt. Time to start up my breakfast pots again too! I can’t believe that once upon a time I […]

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