Since 2 weeks I have a new, persistent hobby: yogurt making! It’s super fun and easy and I like to share my homemade yogurt experiments with you.
In the Netherlands, you can buy all kinds of fantastic, natural yogurts. Homemade yogurt is not a necessity. I love the thickness of Greek yogurt but I it is often too fat for my taste. I like to try and make a Greek yogurt with semi-skimmed milk with a simple yogurt machine.
A yogurt machine is not expensive. The simplest models also provide perfect yogurt, I learn from experts online. I also use a thermometer. I use my kitchen thermometer that I normally use to warm up milk for my cappuccino.
My kitchen looks like a laboratory. ;-). But to make yogurt is not as difficult as it may seem.
Tools and ingredients
100 grams of yogurt start (room temperature)
1 liter of semi-skimmed milk
1 teaspoon of sugar
super clean jars
Because you are adding a bacteria to the milk you need to work clean. A variety of other bacterial species can disturb the fermenting process.
I take out the plastic bowl from the machine and wash it well. I rinse it off a few times with freshly boiled water. I wash the jars, I want to keep my yogurt in later, in the dishwasher. Before use, I also rinse them with freshly boiled water.
80 degrees Celsius
Firstly I warm up 1 liter of milk to 80 degrees Celsius on the stove (176 degrees Fahrenheit). I stir once in a while and make sure the milk does not stick to the bottom. If it forms a skin, take it off.
This step can be omitted according to this expert. I have tried to only warm the milk up to 40 degrees and than place it in the yogurt machine, but…. it became sour milk and not yogurt. Lovely in itself but not what I wished for. Maybe this is because I use a yogurt from the supermarket to start with and not a bacteria culture that is more concentrated.
40 degrees Celsius
When the milk reaches 80 degrees I take it immediately off the stove and let it cool to 40 degrees Celsius (104 F). To cool I pour the milk in a jug with the thermometer in it and stir it once in a while.
It takes quit some time to let it cool, about 30-40 minutes. Keep an eye on it. Don’t let it become colder than 40 degrees. If it does, pop it in the microwave and heat it up for a few seconds.
1 teaspoon sugar
I also add a small teaspoon of sugar. That is extra food for the bacteria.
40 grams of start yogurt
For my 1 liter of milk, I use 40 grams of start yogurt (one tablespoon). As ‘start’ yogurt I use full-fat Greek yogurt. If the text on the bucket says: ‘live active yogurt cultures’, then that is the one you need. I like a pretty firm yogurt, so I start with Greek. If you use a more runny yogurt, the end result will be thinner too.
If you have your first batch of yogurt ready, save 40 grams to make new yogurt the next day. You can use your own homemade yogurt as a starter a few times. I use mine 5-6 times. After 6 times I noticed my yogurt was not as firm as the first one. So I start again with a Greek start yogurt from the supermarket.
When the milk is 340 degrees, I add the starting yogurt and mix it in well.
Smell it up close; this mix has such a wonderfully sweet, sour smell to it. Delicious.
Machine 10 hours
Now I pour this mix into the plastic container that comes with my yogurt machine. I place the lid on the container and another one to cover the whole machine. For my kind of yogurt 10 hours of fermenting is fine, I’ve concluded. The fermenting period is somewhere between 8 and 12 hours when you use a machine.
If you ferment too long, the yogurt can curdle. It does not taste bad, but it doesn’t look nice.
My unit will beep when it is ready. I get the container out of the machine and place in the refrigerator. While cooling it will thicken a bit more.
After a few hours of cooling, stir it through and eat.
Or you can make thick, Greek yogurt by draining out the fluids. You can make Greek yogurt immediately when it comes out of the machine or when it has cooled down.
Every yogurt, also from the store, can easily be made into a thicker yogurt in the following manner.
1 hour draining
I take a clean, thin towel and fold it twice. I place the folded cloth in a colander that hangs in a bowl. Make sure the colander does not touch the fluids that run out of the yogurt.
Immediately water drips into the bowl that has a yellow-green color. That fluid is called whey.
The longer the homemade yogurt hangs in the colander, the more moisture runs out. For my yogurt, one hour is enough.
Now the yogurt looks like cheese. It seems to stick to the cloth, but that is not true. I carefully lift the towel out of the colander and turn it over into a large bowl. It comes off nicely.
Now I just stir it through to make it smooth and shiny. Let’s eat! ?
I am very happy with my homemade yogurt result. It is a light yogurt but not too thin. Also, I think it is sour but not too much. It has a tender, mild flavor.
The moisture, whey, that is drained from the yogurt can be used for lots of things. To make bread, cookies or cakes. Or to use in protein shakes. I’ve just used a cup through my cupcake batter and my cakes are wonderfully airy and moist. Or check out this scones recipe with whey and lime!
Whey you can store in the fridge for weeks or freeze. Love my new hobby ;-).