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!)





5 Comments on “making yoghurt

September 2, 2010 at 4:33 am

Rats, rats, rats, I didn’t get around to it and then went and used my little pot of starter yoghurt! The lazy jar of korma sauce turned out to be a slightly less lazy jar of korma paste, and I had no cream- yummy and tangy with yoghurt!

This looks so good, and thanks for the link to Soulemama- I’m going the cheap and scary-on-the-counter route- wish us luck! (Terrified of preserving things, though. We’re going to have a glut of dried things, and a freezer ready to burst, but I cant bring myself to start canning. Milk going off on the counter? No worries.)

Love to all.

September 2, 2010 at 9:48 pm

I remember making yoghurt with my Dutch friend in Krygyzstan – we go a bit of yoghurt from someone – chucked it into a 2 litre jar of milk, wrapped it in a towel and put it in the cupboard for a few days. It took a few goes but the result was totally worth it in a yoghurt deprived culture. I did have to eat mine with about seven tablespoons of raspberry jam per bowl – but I have never liked natural yoghurt flavour and never will – need the sugar in it!
I am probably not game to leave milk on the bench wrapped in a towel in Brisbane though…

September 2, 2010 at 10:04 pm

you see I’m reading the whole jar in the cupboard story and I’m BREAKING OUT IN A SWEAT. Ad’s in Brisbane this week, wish I was there too, sitting on your deck with a cup of tea xxx

September 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm

cool! see below, but really, I’d love to hear how it goes! xxx

Darren (Green Change)
June 5, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Megan says a huge “thanks” for the vanilla yoghurt recipe! We’ve mucked around a few times trying to make a decent vanilla yoghurt, and couldn’t get the sugar and vanilla ratios right.

I’m keen to experiment more with jam-making next season – I think a nice thick fruity jam would make an awesome flavouring for yoghurt. Yum!


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