Making your own yoghurt couldn’t be easier and doing so means that you know that it doesn’t have chemical defoamers, guar gum, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, titanium dioxide, or milk protein concentrate in it, all of which are used in some commercials products.
You will need to invest in a yoghurt maker - we bought one for £20 four years ago and have been delighted with it - and a thermometer. However, if you are a regular yoghurt eater the equipment will pay for itself in a matter of months, which means the health benefits come free.
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- Live yoghurt starter
1. Heat the milk to boiling point. Remove from the heat and leave it to cool to 38°C. Plus or minus a couple of degrees won’t harm the finished product but it needs to be warm enough to let the yoghurt bacteria grow.
2. Pour the warm milk into the yoghurt maker. Stir in a tablespoon of live yoghurt and place the lid on.
3. Leave in the machine for eight hours or so.
4. Pop it in the fridge to cool and firm up for a few hours before serving.
Once you have made your first batch of yoghurt you can then use that to start your next lot. We use a new starter every month or so, but I suspect you could keep going forever with your own.
You can strain the yoghurt through a jelly strainer, which will leave you with firmer, Greek-style yoghurt. If you strain it for a couple of hours you can sprinkle the resulting very thick yoghurt with finely chopped fresh herbs and a drizzle of really good olive oil to make a soft-cheese called Labneh.
Or you can use the heavily strained yoghurt to make an Indian desert called Shrikhand. Simply place it in a bowl and drizzle with honey, finely chopped nuts and diced fruits. If you want to be extra-authentic, add some cardamom pods or a little saffron to the milk before heating it up. You then simply strain the infused milk before adding it to the yoghurt maker at stage two.
The liquid, or whey, that comes off the yoghurt as your strain it can be used instead of buttermilk in scones and bread making.