The Quick and Easy Way to make Homemade Yogurt
I have been making my own yogurt for years and years. If you've never made it before, prepare to be amazed.
I do have a secret weapon though. Well three actually, for when you want this to be the easiest and quickest process possible. Which I always do, because I never seem to have much time.
Secret 1: My Favourite Yogurt Maker
My first secret is my Severin Yogurt Maker. I've had it forever. In fact I think if you buy one now the lids are white, whereas when I bought mine they were red.
It's such a simple idea, and yet utterly brilliant. It holds the milk and yogurt at a consistent temperature for as long as you leave it switched on, which means all you have to do is turn it on and leave it to do its thing.
It comes with 7 jars. Sometimes I fill the jars because I'm going to use the final yogurt in cooking, or for soap. Sometimes I leave a gap at the top so I can pop fruit, honey and/or granola on the top and eat it straight from the jar (yum).
You can actually buy spare jars for the Severin which I did. And now I'm glad, for we have broken a couple over the years. If I can't find seven jars I've been known to chuck in ramekins, other jars (so long as they're short enough), all sorts.
Secret 2: Whole UHT Milk
And if you want this to be really quick, my second secret is whole (ie full fat) UHT long life milk. UHT stands for Ultra Heat Treated, and means the milk has been heated to 140°C for two seconds and then packaged in a special way so it stays fresh for longer (aseptic packaging). And that is why this method is so quick: if you milk has already been heat treated, then you don't need to heat it again. So instead of heating the milk as you will see in other recipes for making yogurt, you don't even have to do that if you use UHT milk.
In theory you can use semi skimmed milk, or even skimmed milk to make yogurt. However our preference is whole milk, because the yogurt you make will be thicker than with fat reduced milk.
I used to always make my yogurt with organic long life milk, but now I struggle to find it. One carton of milk is enough to make 7 jars of yogurt.
Secret 3: A Fresh Yogurt Starter
This yogurt works really well with just a teaspoon of natural yogurt used as the 'starter'. I have experimented with natural yogurts, and Yeo Valley Natural Yogurt (plain, no fruit etc added, and not set) is the one I now always use. I buy a small 150g tub to start a batch when I haven't made any in a while. And when I plan to make yogurt, I buy it as soon to when I plan to make it as possible and use it within 2 days.
I have experimented and, even when the yogurt is still in date, if it's not really fresh then the first batch doesn't work as well. And then if you go on to use that homemade yogurt to make your next batch, that doesn't work as well either.
If you can't get that specific yogurt, any will do so long as it's a natural yogurt with nothing added (including thickening agents which can interfere with culturing).
Once you've made your own yogurt, if you make the next batch within a couple of weeks you'll be able to use a jar of your own yogurt as the 'starter'. You won't be able to do this indefinitely though as the culture strain in your yogurt will get weaker each time and eventually it won't turn out as it did at the start.
Now of course you can use a Yogurt Culture to make it the first time too, like the one we sell. If you choose to use a culture, you will need to heat your milk before you use it.
Recipe for Quick and Easy Homemade Yogurt
- 1 litre carton of Whole (Full Fat) Long Life Milk
- 1 small tub of Yeo Valley Organic Natural Yogurt
Put a teaspoon of natural yogurt into each jar in the Yogurt Maker.
Add milk to each jar up to the level you want your yogurt to reach, and stir each jar with a teaspoon.
Pop the lids on, turn the machine on, and move the 'timer' mark on the lid round to the time now.
Approximately 9 hours later (I usually set it off at bedtime): beautiful homemade yogurt.
Bear in mind that when the yogurt is still warm, it isn't set. So it may look a bit curdly (word?) and unappetising if you take the lids off as soon as it's ready. So pop the jars straight in the fridge. Once it's chilled it will be beautiful and ready to eat.
Incidentally if I'm making yogurt soap with this, I don't bother chilling it because it's going to be mixed with distilled water straight away and frozen anyway.
Homemade Yogurt Variations
You can make the yogurt with semi skimmed or even skimmed milk. Bear in mind the less fat the milk has, the thinner your yogurt will be. You can use raw milk, sheep's milk, goat's milk... whatever you have.
If you want an even thicker, Greek-style yogurt: strain your yogurt through muslin. This separates the whey out, leaving a thicker yogurt behind. And with the whey you can make delicious Naturally Fermented Lemonade.
Obviously in this recipe I'm using a dairy yogurt as a starter, so this won't work for a someone on a non-dairy diet.
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