Making yoghurt at home

Fairies and yogurt june 2014 011 - Copy (2)Stephen demonstrating yogurt making to our neighbour, Philippa.

In our household we eat a lot of yoghurt. We have it with fruit for breakfast, add it to curries, soups and deserts. We have been making our own for the last 4 years. Why do we bother?

Well, for a start, it’s convenient. We can make as much or as little as we need at a time and, when we run out, we don’t have to go to the shops to get more. Milk is cheaper than yoghurt which results in a saving of about $300 a year. We can control what goes in the yoghurt – the amount or absence of sugar, fruit, flavouring, preservatives. We also reduce the amount of plastic containers we bring home by 52 containers per year.  It all adds up. Finally, making our own is quick and simple. If you would like to try, just follow the steps below.

Please read through all instructions before starting. Firstly, make sure all your equipment, including tea towels, are very clean. Yoghurt making is only successful if you use fresh viable cultures, so check the use by date on your yoghurt starter and make it as soon as you can after buying it. Once you have home-made yoghurt, there is no need to buy anymore because you can use some of it as your next starter.

We use BD Farm Paris Creek organic full fat milk and their plain organic yoghurt as a starter culture. If you use another yoghurt as a starter, make sure it doesn’t contain gelatine. Generally the organic and biodynamic yogurt have no gelatine.


4 cups full fat milk – or less if you wish to make a smaller quantity

3 tablespoons plain, full fat yoghurt at room temperature – use this as your yoghurt starter

Fairies and yogurt june 2014 007

  • Warm the milk slowly to 160F and stir occasionally to ensure even heating. You can buy specialist milk thermometers or a candy thermometer. Alternatively, as soon as you see bubbles forming on the edge of the pan, turn the heat off.
  • Remove from heat. Allow the milk to cool to 110F (45C). If you do not have a thermometer, leave the milk to cool for 5 to 10 minutes and dip the tip of your clean (!) little finger in. It should not burn but still be quite hot.
  • While the milk is cooling fill a wide mouth, glass jar with very hot water from the tap. The jar needs to be large enough to hold the amount of milk in the pan.
  • When the milk has cooled to the right temperature, empty the water from the jar and quickly transfer the milk to the warm jar, add the 3 tablespoons of plain yoghurt, do a quick stir, and seal the jar. Do these steps quickly so you don’t lose too much heat.
  • The mix needs to incubate at least 12 hours at a temperature of 110F (45C). You can leave it overnight for up to 12 hours.
  • Do not shake or disturb it during incubation. When the yoghurt is ready, it is stored in the fridge. If you want to sweeten or flavour the yoghurt, you do it after it is made. You can add jam, fruit, sugar or honey.

To incubate the yoghurt mix we use an insulated container from EasiYo Yogurt Makers – we found ours at a local op shop for $3. EasiYo can also be ordered on-line or purchased at a supermarket at a cost of $20. A large enough insulated container for hot food can also be used.

Remember to keep at least 3 tablespoons of your home-made yoghurt to use as a starter for your next batch. If you have any questions, just include these in the ‘comments’ section and I will hopefully have an answer for you. Also remember to have fun experimenting with different flavours!

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