Friday, 19 September 2014

Knitting my own yogurt - at last

Earlier on in the life of this blog, I felt that to be a half decent frugality/simple living blogger, I really ought to be making my own yogurt. After a few failed attempts (you can have a laugh at previous attempts by clicking here), including a disastrous slow cooker yogurt recipe, I realised that there are no oughts in the frugality world. Everyone has their different strengths and carves out their own path, and mine didn't seem to involve home-made dairy products


Previous curdled yogurt making attempt...

This year the price of yogurt has gone up considerably (or if you're Yeo Valley, the prices have stayed the same but the pots have got much smaller) and the Co-op withdrew our staple, its own brand Simply Value natural yogurt, from the local store. 

Time to think about knitting our own yogurt again. I'm all for a growth mindset. Try, try and try again. Just as I was pondering yogurt making, I chanced upon a Low Cost Living book in a charity shop, which has a yogurt recipe in it. The first rule of low cost living is that you mustn't buy too many how to live for less books in charity shops*, but there's no harm in browsing through them for new ideas or yogurt-making tips.



And after years of research and failures, home-made yogurt is finally a go go here! (Yogogo, for short I suppose).

My new, all improved method is based on the Low Cost Living recipe and Angela from Tracing Rainbows' suggestion (which she posted on my original yogurt-making blog post). If I can do it, anyone can!

It goes like this:

Use UHT milk so that you don't have to worry too much about heating it to a high temperature and cooling it down to kill off unwanted bacteria, like some of the other recipes I've read suggest. This is cheaper too. Heat the UHT milk to luke warm/body temperature, ascertained by dipping your finger in a few times.




Dig Great Granny's thermos flask out from the back of the cupboard. (Husband noticed that it leaks so is probably not airtight, which may account for some of my other failed yogurt-making attempts. In the absence of any other large thermos flasks however, I have been persisting with GG's old flask.) Warm it by filling with boiling water at the same time as faffing around with the milk.

When the flask and the milk are the right temperature, pour the milk into the flask, with a couple of spoonfuls of live yogurt. For extra special leaky flask insulation, wrap in Son's ski jacket. (We've never actually been ski-ing so the jacket's pleased to come into its own). Then leave the yogurty bacteria, lactobacillus acidophilusto do its multiplying.




After 8 hours my leaky flask produces a fairly thin yogurt. No recipe I've ever read suggests leaving yogurt to brew for 16 hours, but once when my morning ran out of time for processing overnight yogurt I left it in the flask for another 8 hours until I got home from work and we had our best, thickest yogurt yet. The addition of milk powder might also help produce a thicker yogurt so I'm going to try that some time.

A litre of UHT fills my large leaky flask and a small non-leaky wide-necked flask. The non-leaky flask makes thicker yogurt, proving that a bad yogurt maker can blame her thermos flask after all. Although I love my heirloom 1970s thermos, a new, large flask is definitely on my wish list.

* After two successful yogurt-making attempts I felt a skinflint for pilfering the recipe without buying the book so I went back to buy it, in gratitude for my new found skill, however it had gone! Win:win - I don't feel guilty any more and somebody else gets to try out yogurt making and thrifty living!


21 comments:

  1. What is your source of lactobacillus acidophilus? Sorry if I'm being dim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oops, thanks for pointing out that I had omitted that from the blog post - you were not being dim, I was! I have amended the blog post with the crucial information - the luke warm milk goes into the flask with a couple of spoonfuls of live yogurt! Thanks!

      Delete
    2. And the live yogurt is the source of lactobacillus acidophilus...

      Delete
  2. I'm sure I bought that book a few years back and didn't find it as useful as it looks, because it was quite basic stuff that I already did. You wouldn't find much new in it as you are a pro at this stuff (even yoghurt making too now ;-) ). I bought 'Precycle!' at the same time and found that was better and had more recipes - including yoghurt, chocolate spread and ketchup. The idea is to make your own products from scratch, so you don't end up with so much packaging that needs recycling - hence the name precycle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was the reason that I didn't buy it when I first saw it - it looked like the stuff we already know. Precycle sounds good. Part of my yogurt-making motivation was to eliminate the plastic yogurt pots however I now end up with the UHT milk tetrapaks :-(

      Delete
  3. I too am a long time yoghurt-making avoider. This is on my very long mental list of things to try, as we all eat a lot of yoghurt here. This post takes some of the mystery out and sounds very do-able, so thanks. And well done on conquering your personal dairy nemesis:)
    PS, I haven't tried this, obviously, but apparently you can drain yoghurt through a cheesecloth lined sieve for a few hours to make it thicker. I imagine that would also reduce its volume, but then you would have some healthy whey to use in cooking..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just might try that with one of my batches! Thanks for the tip.

      Delete
  4. Congratulations on your successful yogurt making. We don't eat that much yogurt, so I probably won't be attempting to make it anytime soon. HoweverI do remember my mother making it when I was a kid back when yogurt was not so common. She was really ahead of her time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We eat enormous amounts of the stuff - for breakfast on muesli and cereal and with fruit and puddings and in smoothies and on curries and so on...

      Delete
  5. I always put four or five spoonfuls of powdered milk in - it makes it
    really thick (I normally hate the taste of powdered milk but
    luckily it doesn't seem to infiltrate the yogurt).

    ReplyDelete
  6. If you let your thin yogurt drip through a cheesecloth or a special filter it will thicken up and even become the much loved (in US) Greek yogurt.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I hang my head in shame - Mr FD eats yoghurt, but I don't. In an attempt to be "thrifty" a while back I bought a yoghurt maker. After several months of forgetting to make yoghurt when it was needed, and running out of ingredients at the time we needed them, it has been consigned to the "not as useful as we thought it might be"pile. And I buy yoghurt again. 89cents for 4 - I think that that's quite reasonable...and it saves a lot of aggro. I just have a redundant yoghurt maker now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's where I got to before with the whole yogurt making thing and why I abandoned the idea before but I seem to be in a good groove at the moment!

      Delete
  8. Damn I've just gone on dairy elimination diet, yogurt is one of my favourite foods though x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always pretend to eliminate dairy foods around hay fever time but really struggle...! I would really miss yogurt.

      Delete
  9. Loving that blog title and an idea of something else to do with a Kilner jar. I've just used one today to make a second batch of sloe gin! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it great how putting anything in a Kilner Jar immediately makes it look more wholesome!!

      Delete
  10. We have just started to make yoghurt too, from putting it off! We did buy the easy-yo kit, which has a container and a large thermos-y sort of holder, which you can get for £10 ish from amazon. We don't use their powders, we make it exactly how you do, although we do add the milk powder We use moo organic uht milk which is 10p more, and yeo valley org yoghurt as a starter. It is saving us oodles, and is lovely and thick and very tasty. We do fill the thermos up with slightly more water than recommended. It has added to the set up cost, but the kit is very well thought out, and the jars get used to store the yoghurt in. We didn't fancy trying to get the yoghurt out of a thermos. You also don't need to heat anything - as it sits in boiling hot water it does it all itself (sort of like a bain-marie) Hope this helps xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That really helps a lot Deb as I thought about going down the easi-yo route but got put off by those very expensive packets of powder, which looked kind of unnatural. I am going to reconsider! have to say that getting the yogurt out of the thermos is not a problem for me as mine's all been a pouring kind of consistency :-) I started with Yeo Valley as a starter but have been using my own yogurt and that seems to work ok.

      Delete