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Making Yoghurt

Yoghurt is milk that has been soured by the bacteria Bacillus bulgaricum. To make yoghurt you can use a special yoghurt-making machine or alternatively you can make it yourself using the following directions. Bacteria need a warm environment so the key factor in making yoghurt is in controlling the temperature of the milk at body temperature long enough for it to thicken into yoghurt. The procedure for making the yoghurt is as follows:

  • Clean and sterilise glass jars to store the yoghurt.
  • Place 1.5 litre of fresh milk in a saucepan and heat gently until it starts to froth up. If you have a thermometer, this should happen at approximately 85°C (185°).
  • Take off the heat and allow to cool down to approximately 40°C. If you test a drop on your inner wrist, this should feel slightly warm, but not hot. Stir in 2 tablespoons of live yoghurt – the starter culture. This can be taken from a commercially prepared yoghurt, or from a friend who has been making their own yoghurt – just make sure you select plain yoghurt with no added sugar.
  • Add any nuts or fruit flavouring that you might like (optional).
  • Put lids on the jars.
  • You will need to keep the yoghurt at body temperature for 1-3 days until it thickens. You might wrap it in a thick warm blanket and place it in an airing cupboard over the hot water system if you have one, or keep it warm by placing it in an insulated cool box wrapped in a towel.
  • When it goes thick you have yoghurt!
  • Keep it in the fridge. Some people like to replace what they have used each day with the same amount of fresh milk, to keep the culture going. Ensure the milk is clean, sterile and fresh to stop the yoghurt from going bad. Other people will just keep 2 Tbsp of yoghurt to use as a starter culture for the next batch.

How to store yoghurt

Homemade yoghurt can be stored for up to 1 week in a refrigerator. If however, you are buying pre-prepared yoghurt it is important for you to refer to the “best before” date printed on the yogurt pot. Refrigerate it immediately after you buy it. Once opened, use the yogurt within a week and also before reaching the best before date. Seal opened yoghurt tightly to avoid it being exposed to other foods with strong odours.

How to use yoghurt:

Yoghurt can be added to a variety of savoury and desserts. Here are some examples:

  1. Yoghurt can be combined with other ingredients such as cumin, garlic and curry paste to make a great marinade for meat. The thickness of yoghurt helps to hold the seasonings to the meat while the mild acidity content helps to tenderise the meat.
  2. Yogurt can replace cream as a healthier way of thickening sauces much like heavy cream, although due to its lower fat content it is necessary to add some corn-starch or flour to the sauce to keep it from curdling.
  3. Yoghurt can be used in place of milk in a wide variety of baked foods such as pancakes, muffins and waffles. Here yoghurt acts as an acidic counterpart to alkaline baking soda producing a leavening effect. The lactic acid in yogurt also helps to tenderise the flour helping to produce baked goods that are moist but light.
  4. Yoghurt can be used as a healthy low fat substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream, for example, in salad dressings and as a substitute for cream in cakes and other forms of baking.
  5. Yoghurt can also be used to make a variety of drinks including fruit smoothies.
  6. Yoghurt makes a great addition to a fruit salad or muesli.

Yoghurt Recipe Ideas

Cucumber sauce
This is a great sauce which can be served in a variety of ways e.g. with grilled or poached fish, used as a dip or added to pitta bread sandwiches/ kebabs. To prepare the sauce peel a cucumber, slice lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Next grate the cucumber and place into a strainer and press out as much liquid as possible. Now combine:

  • 1 small tub of plain yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon of grated onion
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill.

Finally season with salt and pepper, add the cucumber stirring to blend in and cover and chill for approximately 1 hour.

Tandoori marinade for meat/ chicken/ vegetables
This is a nice easy recipe which can be made by combining 1cup (250g) of plain yogurt with: 

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • A pinch or two of salt
  • ¾ teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander a
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

Simply mix all the marinade ingredients together with a whisk, coat your chosen dish and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours or until needed.

Find out more about with an ACS course

We offer a number of courses about food and nutrition. If you are seeking a more self-sufficient way of live, Self Sufficiency II will teach you about nutrition as well as growing, producing, storing and using different foods. If you are looking for a course which is focussed more specifically on nutrition then our other food and nutrition courses such as Nutritional Therapy will be of benefit to you. This course considers how to maintain good nutritional health,whilst considering intolerances, allergies, and health conditions.

You can find out more about the different courses which we offer, and discuss your study goals with one of our specialist tutors. Submit your questions to our Permaculture or Health Science tutors today. They will be pleased to hear form you.

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