Sunday, 26 March 2017

Homemade Yoghurt

As part of becoming more self-reliant, we've been enjoying making some of the food and other products we use at home. Foods like honey, preserves such as olives, jam, sauces and fruit, and products such as soap, dishcloths, laundry detergent and home cleaners.

With an interest in fermented foods from a health perspective, I had been wanting to make our own yoghurt for some time. Well I finally got around to it, and now that I've made several batches, I don't know why I put it off for so long!  

Breakfast - homemade yoghurt and homemade muesli

The basic process involves adding yoghurt culture to milk at 37C, whereby the culture consumes the lactose (or any other sugar) in the milk.  After a minimum of 8 hours at this temperature the milk becomes yoghurt.  

There are all sorts of nifty ways to keep yoghurt warm while it ferments.  Some of these include:
  • put it on top of hot water heaters (unfortunately our HWS is located outside in the open air so the option is not really suitable for us) 
  • on top of coffee machines (we don't have one) 
  • in a warm oven (we didn't want to wait for the oven to have been used in order to make our yoghurt) 
  • wrapped in blankets 
  • in an esky (cooler) with hot water.  
After considering our options I took the easy way out and bought an EasiYo yoghurt thermos ($23.50 from BigW) to incubate the yogurt in.  I'd heard that this system worked well so I thought I'd give it a try.  It consists of a thermos and a jar that sits inside the thermos to hold the yoghurt. Yeah, it's plastic, but it works well and makes the process simple ........... which means I'm far more likely to make yoghurt than if I had to fuss around with blankets. But that's just me.

EasiYo thermos

Boiling water is poured into the hole to fill the space below the red shelf

For my first batch I used some live yoghurt culture bought from Green Living Australia.  I bought the Tangy Yoghurt Culture ($16.95) and the Non-Dairy Yoghurt culture ($17.95). Each sachet contains enough culture for 100 litres of yoghurt (you only use a very, very tiny amount to make 1 litre) and you can make this stretch even further by using some of the previous batch of yoghurt as the starter for the next. The culture will keep for 2-5 years in the freezer. I liked the idea of purchasing the culture as it means I don't always have to have a previous batch on hand if I decide I want to make yoghurt.

We have a thermomix so that is perfect for mixing and heating.  However you could easily do it on the stove using a thermometer.  

The method I followed was from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook but I have played around with quantities and use slightly less than the recipe in the book:

Ingredients: (makes 1kg yoghurt)

  • 800g full cream organic milk
  • 50g milk powder (the addition of milk powder makes a thicker yoghurt - I used 20g or none)
  • 3 tablespoons yoghurt containing live culture (I used the Tangy culture for my first batch and 2 dessert spoons of homemade yoghurt for subsequent batches)
  1. Combine milk & powdered milk in Thermomix bowl for 10 seconds, speed 7.
  2. Cook for 30 minutes at 90 degrees, speed 1. (This kills any bacteria in the milk, preparing it for the addition of the live yoghurt culture)
  3. Cool mix to 37 degrees. The mix must cool to this temperature before adding your starter or you will kill the live culture. It may take up to 60 minutes but you can speed this up by putting the bowl in the fridge.
  4. Once at 37 degrees add your starter (the yoghurt or the purchased live culture), mix to combine for 4 seconds, speed 4.
  5. Then heat for 10 minutes, 37 degrees, speed 1.
It's very important that the utensils you use to make your yoghurt are clean and sterilised. While the yoghurt is cooling to 37C I wash the yoghurt jar and lid in hot soapy water and then rinse them. Then while the yoghurt mix is heating in the final step I fill the clean yoghurt jar with boiling water and let it sit until the yoghurt is ready to add. I also pour boiling water over the underside of the clean lid, let it sit for a little while then put the lid, underside down on a clean tea towel. 

Once step 5 is complete, pour boiling water into the EasiYo thermos up to the correct level. As shown in the photo above, the yogurt jar sits on a shelf above the level of the boiling water in the EasiYo thermos. (You don't want the container holding the yoghurt to come in contact with the boiling water).  Empty out the boiling water sitting in the yoghurt jar and pour in the yoghurt mixture.  Screw the lid on and put the jar inside the thermos. Leave the thermos somewhere where it won't be disturbed for at least 8 hours, and longer for a thicker yoghurt. Once done, you can  transfer the yoghurt into another jar to free up the yoghurt jar for making another batch.

Two batches of yoghurt in the fridge - some from the batch on the left was used to make the batch on the right

As you can see, yoghurt made in this way is super easy. The organic full cream milk we used was purchased on special (50% reduction) so that made the yoghurt even cheaper to make.  I've yet to try making the non-dairy yoghurt but as I only drink soy milk I'll have the ingredients on hand. 

The Green Living Australia website has recipes for dairy, soy, almond and coconut yoghurts so there are plenty of yoghurt making options available.  Making your own yoghurt is not only easy, it will save you money while at the same time, give you control over what goes into the yoghurt you eat. I won't have to make many batches before I've covered the cost of buying the cultures and the thermos.  What's not to like about that?


  1. Hey Maree
    if you decide you need another Easiyo set up there are plenty in op shops for $5 complete. I have 3 op shop ones.

  2. Hi Claire,
    I have never seen one in an op-shop - I should have come to you first!