Saturday, July 6, 2013


creamy homemade greek yoghurt
I have always wanted to make my own yoghurt, but always thought I needed a large thermos container or specialist piece of equipment. I was researching such a container that seemed affordable. I read the Amazon reviews and came across a very insightful one that basically said that no special equipment was necessary. AT ALL. 

I then went in search of some recipes. I came across this one first and decided to give it a try. The result was great. However, with a long time on the heat, without stirring, the milk formed a skin - and this ended up in the yoghurt. I really cannot abide anything that interrupts the smooth texture of a soft food: skin on a custard, bits in orange juice, undisolved gelatin in a dessert... so did some more research. I found several recipes that appeared to be much faster, so decided to try again. The one I ended up following mostly was the recipe here

After several attempts, all successful, I now consider myself to be a yoghurt maker. It is far easier than I originally thought. The only concern is planning ahead as the yoghurt needs to sit at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours before refrigerating... so not a great recipe to try late in the day... unless you actually want to get up early to put the yoghurt in the fridge. Also... one must actually leave enough yoghurt to start the next batch - this has proved to be difficult with my yoghurt-loving husband and daughter demolishing the yoghurt as fast as I make it. 

4 cups Milk 
¼ cup Yoghurt

Sterilize a large glass, sealable jar (1 quart/1 litre capacity) by filling with boiling water and standing for several minutes. Pour out water, drain and let dry.

Heat milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 185℉ (85℃) on a candy thermometer, stirring occasionally to ensure milk is heated consistently.

Remove milk from heat and allow to cool. Cooling process may be sped up by placing saucepan in a bath of iced water. Once milk temperature drops to 115℉ (45℃), remove a ¼ cup of the milk and mix into yoghurt to thin.
Gently stir milk-yoghurt mix into saucepan of milk. Strain milk mixture into sterilized bottle through a sieve to remove any milk solids or skin that may have formed.
Seal bottle and wrap in a tea towel to keep warm. Place wrapped bottle in a warm place, undisturbed for 10 to 12 hours.
Refrigerate. Enjoy!

Quantities are proportional so work with either metric or imperial measurements. 
An ideal warm space in our kitchen is under our overhead cabinets with the under-cabinet light on. Some writers suggest an oven, preheated for a minute, with the oven light left on. 
The longer the yoghurt is left to stand before refrigeration will affect the acidity level. Leave longer if a more acidic flavor is desired.
I use 2% (low fat) milk - simply because that is what I usually have on hand. This would be brilliant using the lovely Barambah milk we were able to buy in Brisbane... or fresh milk directly from the cow that I had access to for YEARS - but had absolutely no appreciation of!

To make Greek Yoghurt, put the prepared yoghurt in a cheesecloth/muslin-lined sieve placed over a bowl, and refrigerate several hours. The drained whey will collect in the bowl beneath. The longer the yoghurt drains, the thicker/firmer the yoghurt becomes.
This is a Middle Eastern 'Cheese'. I have made it for a number of years using store-bought yoghurt and Stephanie Alexander's suggestions. It is very simple and made using the same method for Greek Yoghurt. 

Simply mix a tablespoon (or to taste) good quality salt (I like crushed Malden Sea Salt) through 600ml of yoghurt. Place in a cheesecloth/muslin-lined sieve placed over a bowl in the refrigerator. Drain for 2 to 3 days. Once 'cheese' is firm enough, scoop into small walnut-size balls and roll in freshly chopped herbs. Place balls in a sterilized glass jar and cover with olive oil. Let stand at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Use within a week or two. I used chopped parsley and chives. Fresh Rosemary or Oregano would be lovely. Crushed seeds or Za'atar would be great. This recipe suggests lemon rind, thyme and mint. Add some herbs, citrus peel or cloves of peeled garlic to the oil to add flavor to the cheese and to end up with a tasty oil to use as a dressing. 

I serve these balls to spread onto crusty fresh bread. My friends Craig and Tania would rave to people about me making my own cheese. I felt that the gushing was somewhat undeserved... I mean, it is SO very simple to make! 

There are a number of uses for drained whey. This website and this website list several uses to explore and experiment with.
Interestingly, large producers of Greek yoghurt are struggling to find uses for huge volumes of discarded whey - discussed in this article

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