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milk

Cooking

How to make yoghurt at home in 5 easy steps

10th January 2018

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 our guide to help you.

How to make yoghurt at home from scratch in 5 easy steps

You’ll need….

Starter yoghurt

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.

Milk

You can use either raw or pasteurised milk, and semi-skimmed or whole milk. Whole milk will give you a thicker, creamier yoghurt.

Equipment

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

Step 1

How to make yoghurt at home from scratch in 5 easy steps

Add 2 tablespoons of live yoghurt to a thermos flask.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

How to make homemade yoghurt from scratch in 5 easy steps

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.

Step 4

How to make homemade yoghurt from scratch in 5 easy steps

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.

Step 5

How to make homemade yoghurt from scratch in 5 easy steps

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.

Enjoy with fresh fruit and yoghurt, or try it in this banana bread or on top of your favourite pancakes.

Caught the DIY pantry bug? Learn how to make a stunning apple cider vinegar, an incredibly easy mayonnaise at home or a go-to paneer cheese at home. Or head to the larder for more store cupboard essentials.

Cooking

How to make paneer cheese from scratch in 6 easy steps

22nd November 2017

Milky and dense, paneer cheese is a fresh, unaged cheese. It’s popular across India and much of Southern Asia, where it’s often made from scratch, coated in spices and added to all sorts of delicious curries. And there’s a reason for that; compare homemade paneer with the shop-bought versions and you’ll find the former to be fresher, milkier and much, much tastier. And it’s surprisingly easy to make yourself. You need whole milk, a lemon and a cheesecloth, and one to two hours to let it set. That’s it.

First things, first. What is paneer cheese?

Paneer is a fresh, mild and dense cheese that doesn’t melt, so it’ll stand up to the intense spices of Indian-style flavours. It provides bulk and protein to a veggie curry, or teamed up with spinach in the creamy curry-house classic, saag paneer, or threaded onto skewers for a ‘meaty’ veggie kebab. You can also make a softer cheese by pressing it for less time – about 30 minutes.

Paneer is made by adding acid – in this case, lemon juice – to hot milk, which will cause the curds (milk solids) and whey (liquid particles) in the milk to separate. The curds are what will ultimately become cheese, once they’ve been drained and pressed.

The important thing to remember is to use whole milk as the high-fat content is what allows the curds and whey to separate. You should also be able to find a cheesecloth in any cookshop or haberdashery, but failing that you could use a quality handkerchief or a coffee filter. So let’s get down to it…

6 easy steps to homemade paneer cheese

Step 1

Heat 1.5 litres of whole milk in a saucepan over a medium heat until it’s steaming and little bubbles appear on the surface, stirring occasionally.

Step 2

Remove from the heat and slowly pour in 4 tablespoons of lemon juice (about 1 lemon), stirring continuously. Let it stand for 10 minutes to make sure the curds and whey have separated. If they don’t separate, try adding another tablespoon of lemon juice.

Step 3

Line a sieve with cheesecloth, then set it over a bowl. Carefully pour the mixture into the sieve so the curds collect in the cheesecloth and the whey drains into the bowl.

Step 4

Gather up the cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess whey – if it’s too hot you may need kitchen gloves for this!

Step 5

Open it up again, sprinkle over ¼ teaspoon of salt and gently stir. Wrap up the bundle into a nice, neat package.

Transfer to a plate or keep it in the sieve if you think it still needs draining, then cover with a plate and top with a heavy weight – a couple of tins work well. Place in the fridge for about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes to set, or about 30 minutes for a softer cheese.

Step 6

And finally, paneer cheese! Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days.

And what your leftover whey?

Rather than throw it, bottle it in your fridge for up to a couple of days, and use it instead of water to bulk out soups, broths, stews and curries – it has a tangy flavour so add it gradually and taste as you go. Or use it to make bread or pizza dough.

Got the DIY pantry bug? Here’s how to make a stunning apple cider vinegar and an incredibly easy mayonnaise at home. Or head to the larder for more store cupboard essentials.

Farming

Thank you Tinder for bringing Dorset’s answer to Greek strained yoghurt

22nd September 2017

Discover how three generations of dairy farming and a fateful Tinder encounter led to Dorset’s award winning small-batch, strained yoghurt – Britain’s answer to the Greek stuff. Alex Rawe, co-founder of The Dorset Dairy Company reveals all.

The Dorset Dairy Co - strained yoghurt

Co-founders of The Dorset Dairy Company Alex Rawe and her fiancé Dan

What’s the story behind the Dorset Dairy Co?

It all started 60 years ago when Dan’s Grandad moved to Crib House Farm in Stalbridge and started producing milk with just 20 cows. Dan was 18 years old when he became the third generation of the family to work on the farm. Given that we had access to vast amounts of milk, we started looking into ways we could process it. We had a great time experimenting making cheddar, ricotta and kefir on the AGA, but the yoghurt, strained through muslin, was an immediate success. The more we looked into it, the more we realised there was a gap in the market for a healthy artisanal product.

Tell us a little about how you and Dan met.

My grandparents retired in Dorset and I would try to visit them once a month. One fateful Christmas my sister and I thought we’d check out Tinder…Next thing I know, a handsome farmer asks me out for dinner! Nine months later I quit my job and moved down to Dorset. It was quite the lifestyle change but I couldn’t be happier and we’re getting married next year.

The Dorset Dairy Co - strained yoghurt

Alex and Dan’s Greek-style strained yoghurt in action

What kind of yoghurts do you make?

We make two types of yoghurt, Whole Milk Dorset Strained Yoghurt and Fat Free Dorset Strained Yoghurt. The whole milk yoghurt is smooth and creamy, while the fat free yoghurt has a more tangy flavour. They both make a filling breakfast or snack, not to mention a handy cooking ingredient.

How do you make them?

Dan fills up the milk trolley with fresh morning milk, wheels it across the yard into the yoghurt room and pumps it into a vat. We don’t homogenise our milk or add thickeners, nor do we process the yoghurt to make it smoother – meaning each batch is unique. All we do is pasteurise it and add the live bio cultures required to make yoghurt. We then pour the mixture into cloth bags and hang them up to strain out the water and lactose, the old fashioned way. The result is a luxuriously creamy textured proper Dorset-style yoghurt, which is packed with protein and essential minerals and is also low in sugar.

We are very much an artisan producer: our product doesn’t have a complex food chain as the milk comes straight from the parlour to the yoghurt room, and our straining process isn’t mechanised. We use over 3 litres of milk to make 1 kilo of yoghurt. We’re yet to come across any other company in the UK who makes yoghurt this way.

What’s inspired you recently?

Dan’s reading The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferris and he’s constantly quoting from it. Personally, I was very impressed by one of our bulls eating a giant beetroot in one go.

Discover more about The Dorset Dairy Co.

Congratulations to The Dorset Dairy Co for winning a 2-star Great Taste Award 2017 for their Whole Milk Dorset Strained Yoghurt!

Thinking

“Milkonomics” – How Farmdrop provides a better deal for British dairy farmers than anyone else

4th April 2016
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As you’ve probably read, things are looking pretty dire for dairy right now. Our founder Ben Pugh wants to show you how buying the freshest, best-tasting milk at Farmdrop puts the money back into the pockets of our British dairy farmers:

Fixing the food chain is our big mission at Farmdrop. And watching the Countryfile episode on Cattle Farming served as a very good reminder for all of us as to what’s broken.

The farm-gate price of a litre of organic milk (its value as it leaves the farm) is now 38p*. For town-folk (me included) that means little without context. So I explored a few online supermarkets and found that a litre of organic semi-skimmed milk is often being sold at £1.10.

The question that should be on all of our lips is: where – in the name of Daisy – has the other 72p vanished to?

The answer: it has disappeared into the black hole of superstore rents, distribution centre costs and expensive TV campaigns.

In my view – this should not be the case. And with Farmdrop – it isn’t.

 

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Farmer Geoff at Ivy House. 

A litre of Ivy House organic semi-skimmed milk sells on Farmdrop for £1.00 (normal price) – Geoff (Ivy House) receives 83p and Farmdrop retains 17p (which covers the cost of a website, an app and some electric vans. Along with a group of mission driven people – that’s all that Farmdrop is).

Before smart phones and lithium car batteries this would not have been possible – but the good news is that now it is. And we’re doing it.

Importantly this goes beyond the goodness of our hearts and the love we have for amazing independent producers like Geoff at

Ivy House.

By using new technology to create a leaner distribution system, the lion’s share (75% to be precise) of your money goes into the production of your food. And it’s no coincidence that this means healthier animals and land. And in turn, better tasting and healthier food.

*38p was the average price per litre paid by the

Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative in February 2016.

Ben Pugh, founder and CEO of Farmdrop, on the importance of supporting our British dairy farmers and how Farmdrop is giving them a chance to carry on producing the most delicious glass of the white stuff you’ll taste. 

Farming

5 reasons to buy milk from the herd with Farmdrop

13th August 2015

You’ve seen the news – things are looking pretty dire for dairy right now. At a time where milk costs less than water and British dairy farmers are being paid less than the cost of production for their pints, you’ve got to question the system. However, not all milk is created equal. Here are a few reasons why buying the freshest, best-tasting milk you can get your hands on, direct from the milking parlour at Farmdrop, also supports British dairy.

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Farmer Bradley with a much-loved Guernsey cow at Hinxden Dairy Farm, Kent

This week, thousands of dairy farmers across the country commanded protest against the situation. Their beef? That the prices they’re being paid for milk is unsustainable. It’s been hard to miss the scenes of cows being herded down the milk aisles of a supermarket, large quantities of milk being removed from shelves in ‘milk trolley challenges’ and distribution centres backloaded and boycotted.

Farmers receive more for their pints with Farmdrop.

Farmers selling via Farmdrop receive 80% of the retail price for their pints compared with 50% via supermarkets. We’re in the business of making access of great tasting food easy and providing a better deal for everyone involved – and our dairy farmers are no different to other members of our family of 70+ producers.

Our farmers sell their milk at a price that works for everyone.

We work with small dairy farms run by passionate people – like the charming Geoff at Ivy House Farm (who’s been in the news this week), and the close-knit trio of siblings Sally, Graham and Richard with farmer Bradley (in the heart-melting photo above), who look after incredible Guernsey’s at Hinxden Farm Dairy in Kent. Their life’s work is to provide you with the best milk that’s full of flavour and tastes like it used to. They can set the price of their pints because they sell direct to customers and it reflects the amazing quality of their single-herd milk. As Geoff told the BBC, “I’ve never met anybody who’s said they wouldn’t pay an extra penny or two for their milk”.

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Geoff with one of his 160 prized Jersey cows at Ivy House Farm in Somerset

Our farmers produce and process all their own milk.

Mass-produced milk often consists of a blend of milk sourced from hundreds of dairies. Our dairies have shunned high­ intensity methods in favour of a sustainable system. They pride themselves on the pedigree cows and organic standards that make up their milks and absolutely comes from their cows only. Which leads us nicely onto how…

Buying direct enables farmers to survive.

By producing and processing all of their milk products themselves, not only do our dairy farmers produce milk that’s truly the cream of the crop, but by selling direct to the people up the road via Farmdrop, they’re not held to ransom by swings in global milk prices. Keepin’ it simple and the countryside gorgeous and green.

And…you won’t find any homogenised milk at Farmdrop.

All the milk we sell is unhomogenised, meaning it’s in its natural state. Homogenisation is a treatment that prevents a cream layer from separating out of the milk by breaking up the fat globules naturally present. Instead of pumping milk through narrow tubes at high pressures, you just need to give it a gentle shake before pouring. All of our milks are rich with the flavour nature intended – 9/10 people preferred the taste of milk from our dairies in a recent blind taste test.

Thanks to your shopping with us, Farmdrop now has six times as many dairy farmers as it did at the end of 2014. We’ve also seen a huge increase in the number of dairy farmers getting in touch about selling direct with us, (as featured in the Telegraph this week). By having superb milk delivered to your door, you are helping to support small British dairy farmers – we’re just here to help make it easy, and incredibly tasty along the way.

Take a look at our full range of milks and dairy products in the shop.

We’re so confident that you’ll love the taste that we’d like you to try it out – all on us. It’s a little thank you for shopping with Farmdrop as well as a big help to Sally at Hinxden Dairy and Geoff at Ivy House whom we adore. Just use the code HINXWHOLE or HINXSEMI or IVYWHOLE or IVYSEMI in any order between now and midnight on Thursday 20th August and you’ll receive a free 2 pints of your chosen milk.

Try doing your own blind taste test at home and let us know what you think! Share your thoughts with us over Twitter and Instagram @Farmdrop with the hashtag #propergoodmilk – milk ‘taches encouraged….

Farming

Join the Farmdrop Delicious Milk Revolution

13th August 2015

Join our revolution in support of small British dairy farmers with a free pint (or two) on us.

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An intrepid Jersey cow at Ivy House Farm, run by Geoff and his wife Kim in Somerset

Milk bought direct from local dairies is unbeatable in its flavour. So much so that 9 out of 10 people said they preferred it to supermarket milk in our recent blind taste test.

To get more people supporting independent dairy farmers we’d like you to join our Delicious Milk Revolution.

We’re so confident that you’ll love the taste that we’d like you to try our milk out – all on us. 

It’s a little thank you for shopping with Farmdrop as well as a big help to our small producers Sally at Hinxden Dairy and Geoff at Ivy House farms whom we adore.

Just use one of the following codes – HINXWHOLE or HINXSEMI, or IVYWHOLE or IVYSEMI – in an order between now and midnight on Thursday 20th August and you’ll receive a free 2 pints of your chosen milk.*

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Ivy House Farm Semi Skimmed milk and Hinxden Farm’s Semi Skimmed milk

We suggest you try doing your own blind taste test at home with friends and family (it’s a pretty good conversation starter!), and let us know what you think!

Share your thoughts with us over Twitter and Instagram @Farmdrop with the hashtag #propergoodmilk and help spread the good word about great British milk. Milk ‘taches encouraged…obviously.

See Hinxden Dairy’s milk, Ivy House Farm’s milk and our full range of milks and dairy products in the shop.

Find out more about how buying our producer’s great-tasting milk supports British dairy on our blog.

*(one code use per customer)