making yoghurt

I've been thinking about this for a while, as a committed from-scratcher, so to speak. Or would that be from-scratchie? Anyway, you've given me advice on making yoghurt in the past, thank you, but I've been balking at the idea of leaving it to incubate on the bench.

I'm the daughter of a dairy farmer. 

You do not leave milk on a bench.

'Specially not to incubate.

So then I saw this post (have you discovered Bubala yet? Full disclosure: a lovely friend of mine!) Anyway, I bailed Jo up to find out which yoghurt maker she was using… turns out it was available on special at less than half price, and although we are valiantly decluttering and getting rid of stuff, I snuck a yoghurt maker, this one, into the kitchen. And it's WONDERFUL.

Really, you don't need one, as Soulemama demonstrates beautifully. But damn it makes it straightforward and easy. 

My first attempt was passionfruit yoghurt (I had some pulp in the freezer from summer) and it was delicious. 

Thick and creamy. And a litre, for the cost of a litre and a half of milk and some starter yoghurt and milk powder. Awesome. 

The second time I started taking photos mid-process, I was all cavalier and confident by now. 

The first thing you do is heat the milk up to almost boiling point. I am so all over this, at this point. 

Henry chose strawberry yoghurt this time so here I am being all arty with a berry shot:

Meanwhile, back at the yoghurt, things are going horribly wrong. 

When I look back, there were two clear instances when I blew it. The first was tipping the hot milk into another container to cool it down quickly. You have to cool it fast, but experts recommend a sinkful of cold water. I don't know why I thought I knew better. Too much aeration. Fatal.

If that wasn't enough, I stirred the yoghurt as it was setting (to see if it was setting.) Again, experts (including Jo) say don't stir it while it sets, it might curdle

And so I tipped a litre of curdled strawberry yoghurt into the bin. 

Being a quick learner, I re-read the instructions. And followed them, this time. And batch number three was so yummy we've nearly eaten the lot in 2 days.

(We do have Adam's parents staying at present! It's not all me!)

(OK, mostly me.)


Ah, breakfast. 

Bedhead, paper, lego. Yoghurt. 


VANILLA YOGHURT – makes 1 litre

(based on Bubala's recipe)


1½ litres milk

¾ cup full cream milk powder

½ cup natural yoghurt (with active cultures)

2 tblsp sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence.


Heat milk to almost boiling – 90°C – stirring regularly so  skin doesn't form on bottom. 

Take off heat and put into a sink of cold water and bring it down to about 40°C. 

Then stir in the milk powder, yoghurt starter and sugar and essence (or any other fruit etc you like). 

Put into yoghurt maker and set to "5" – it'll incubate for about 4-5 hours and if it's not set enough when it's done (don't stir it!!) set it for another hour. Pop into fridge to set further for at least 3 hours or preferably overnight.

It's cheap, it's easy, it's homemade, it's delicious and thicker and creamier than I expected.

And you could just as easily incubate it on the bench which a heat source a la Soulemama if you don't suffer the dairy girl genetics I have which make me smell every bottle of milk every time I make a cup of tea. What is that?

(Photo by Jim Walmsley. Thanks Jim!)





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