Yoghurt starts with yoghurt. Just a spoon of it. Then all you need are a couple of pints of milk, a thermos flask and eight hours of no work whatsoever, to get you a whole big lot of it. Thick, tangy, creamy yoghurt. No effort, less plastic and a few quid saved. Here’s food writer and DIY Pantry-regular, Malou Herkes’ guide to help you.
It might seem counterproductive to buy yoghurt to make yoghurt, but this is only necessary the first time. You can use the remaining yoghurt from your next batch to make the following one, and so on and so on. Most importantly, look for yoghurt that has the words ‘live’ or ‘active cultures’ on the packaging. This refers to the living organisms or ‘good’ bacterias which will convert your milk into yoghurt. One other thing to remember is to make sure it’s plain yoghurt – anything that’s flavoured will taste odd in your homemade batch. Try Dorset Dairy Company’s deliciously creamy live yoghurt.
You can use either raw or pasteurised milk, and semi-skimmed or whole milk. Whole milk will give you a thicker, creamier yoghurt.
You’ll need a thermos flask to keep your milk nice and cosy while the bacteria does its job turning it into yoghurt. A wide-mouthed flask is best. If you don’t have a thermos, use a heavy pot with a lid, and keeping it somewhere insulated and warm – an oven set at a very low temperature would work. You’ll also need a pan to heat the milk, a spoon or fork and some jars to store your finished batch.
5 easy steps to homemade yoghurt
Add 2 tablespoons of live yoghurt to a thermos flask.
Heat 2 pints (1.1 litres) of full-fat milk over a medium-low heat until almost bubbling (85ºC), stirring often so it doesn’t catch on the bottom. Leave it to cool so you can stick your finger in it but it’s still pretty hot (46ºC). If you want to get specific with this, use a thermometer.
Pour a good splash of the milk into the thermos and stir well to combine with the yoghurt, then pour in all of the remaining milk, stirring gently.
Put the lid on immediately, then set aside for at least 8 hours. It’s important it is not moved at all during this time, so keep it well out of the way.
And there you have it. Tangy, delicious, creamy yoghurt. Store in jars in the fridge. It’ll keep for as long as the regular store-bought stuff.