Thursday, April 04, 2013

Don't be scared to make your own yogurt!

Yogurt is a very good source of protein, calcium, magnesium, and other essential vitamins. It also contains active bacterial cultures aiding in digestion, improved immunity and lessened food allergies.

We consume yogurt a lot in this household. For cooking, drinks and smoothies plus also for beauty purpose. And now with my new food regime, it's an important part of my diet, I take at least 300ml of it daily.

The health benefits to consuming yogurt in endless. In fact, back in the late 90's, yogurt is what cured me of my stomach ulcer, as I chose not to take any of medications or heaven forbids undergo the surgery as recommended by the gastrointestinal specialist. 

As store-bought yogurt can create a dent in your food budget in the long run, and the hassle of running out of it when you need them  plus it doesn't taste as good as the one you made yourself, why not make it at home. After all it is so simple, that even kids can make it themselves (with adult supervision of course!) Let's not forget the satisfaction of pretending to be such a wonderful homemaker, making things like yogurt, buttermilk and cottage cheese from scratch. *wink*

Fish fillet with Hot Chick Spicy Salt Homemade Yogurt, Oven-Baked in Parchment Paper.
I have been making my own yogurt for almost 20 years, after discovering it is not as daunting as I have always believed it to be. I was first taught to make yogurt by my Aunt Farida. Her recipe seems difficult because it has many complicated steps involving a 'slight fever' temperature oven and loads of old woolen sweaters. She was making them back in Egypt, mostly during winter, so it was crucial to maintain the heat to let the culture grow. 

With a bit of reading and loads of common-sense, I have discovered that you can have great tasting yogurt in as little as 3 steps - heat milk to lukewarm - stir in culture - leave to set at a warm place. 

Anyway, I will give the more detail recipe here too for those of you who doesn't like things to be too simple.

There a whole science to making your own yogurt, which I think is almost magical. The important ingredient to making yogurt is the bacterias, hence you need good yogurt with live culture as starter. This starters contain million of good bacterias that will ferment, curdle and coagulate the milk into yogurt. This process also changes the lactose in the milk into lactic acid giving it the tangy flavor plus making it suitable for lactose-intolerant people to consume.

Homemade yogurt with homemade muesli mix
It is very important to get the milk to the right temperature before adding the culture, too hot the milk, it will kill the bacterias in it, and if it's too cold they will not wake up from their hibernation. So no yogurt in both cases. If that happens don't worry, don't throw it out just. Just reheat the milk to the right temperature, add more culture (plus another tablespoon to be sure) give it the right condition to set and let it work it's magic once more. If all fails, you still have a tub of yogurt drink. Instant lassi!

Homemade yogurt are usually not as thick as the one from the stores as they don't contain any thickening agents such as starch or gelatine. For thicker and creamier yogurt, you can add a few tablespoons of milk powder to the milk before heating it. This will produce thicker creamier yogurt plus adding a few extra calories to it. 

And finally, keep a bit of the yogurt as starter for your next batch, this way you will never run out of yogurt ever again.

Enjoy making them. Do share how yours turn out, and what you used them for.
 

Homemade Yogurt

1 liter of milk 
3 tbsp yogurt with culture, room temperature
a warm day

Steps:

  • Heat milk until just before boiling point.
  • Cool milk until it's warm to touch (or you can just warm it to lukewarm then go on from there).
  • Pour the warm milk into the container you are using to store the yogurt.
     
  • Stir in the the yogurt starter.
  • Place it somewhere warm for the yogurt to set.
  • Ready in 4-6 hours. Refrigerate once ready. Keeps in the fridge for about 10 days.
  • Best made on a warm day.
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