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Homemade yogurt recipe

2020 has been a weird year with COVID-19, confinements worldwide, working from home becoming the norm… But among all the downsides, there are some positive aspects starting with having more time at home to experiment!

For me, working from home means: being less on the road, sleeping later, having a real breakfast and lunch but also finishing work early. So what do I do with all the time I gained? I learn new things and improve other, one of which being improving my homemade yogurt recipe.

Often when I am on the go, I grab the first thing on the table or kitchen counter, usually some bread, a fruit or cereals but with confinement, I can actually make a real breakfast: eggs and toasts, homemade cereals and yogurt, pancakes etc! And that got me thinking about how I could improve my breakfast experience…

I bought a yogurt maker a few years ago and used it on a few occasions but never systematically. Yet making yogurt at home is easy as pie, all it takes is milk, ferments and a flavor should you want one. Additionally, preparing your yogurt is cost effictive; you just need to buy milk and ferments (when you run out of them or of yogurt). It's also a smart choice because if you don’t want yogurt then you don’t make it = you waste less!

The basis of every yogurt recipe is this:

  1. Cow or Soy Milk, if you use cow milk make sure it is whole as it contains more vitamins and oligo-elements. The richer the better;

  2. Ferments (bifidus) or a yogurt from a previous batch or store bought yogurt;

  3. A flavor if you want one: honey, syrup, jam, you name it!

** My machine: I use the Yogurteo model from Moulinex

How does it work?

As I mentioned, making your own yogurt is really easy, just keep in mind 2 points:

  • If you use fresh milk > Boil it, if it is long conservation milk (UHT cartons) then no need to boil just have it at room temperature. Soy milk does not need to be boiled.

  • Use the right amount of ferments! If you use store bought ferments, follow the instructions on the back of the bag. If you use yogurt from a previous batch, use just 1 = 2-3 tablespoons. Although I've read a lot that 1 teaspoon could be enough to inoculate a batch of yogurt, I have always used 1 full yogurt from my previous batch (2-3 tablespoons) and it worked perfectly.

Now onto the recipe, here is what I do:

  1. Fully clean your containers with soapy hot water and let them dry;

  2. Pour your fresh cow milk in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. If you use long conservation milk (cow/soy) then just have it at room temperature;

  3. If you want to add a flavor to the yogurt, now is the time! Add sugar, vanilla, syrup or chocolate in the hot milk and stir well. If you use long conservation milk (cow/soy) you can warm the milk a bit to help dissolve the flavor but don't go higher than 40-45°C;

  4. Then remove the saucepan from the fire and let the milk cool down;

  5. Once you can safely put a finger in the milk, add your ferments/yogurt from a previous batch and stir well to dissolve;

  6. At this point, bring out the clean containers. This is when I add my strawberry coulis at the bottom of each pot;

  7. Then fill-them with your milk/ferment/flavor mixture, usually I stop at the neck of the container;

  8. Place the containers (without lid!!) in the yogurt maker and select a time;

  9. I let the machine do its work for 8-9 hours without EVER opening it.

So easy right?

Usually, these yogurts last for a week or a week and 1/2 in the fridge but you might end up eating them too quickly for them to go bad! What's nice with the Yogurteo model is that the cap has a date system (last day to eat them or the day you made them) so no need to write on the container or to add stickers!

Regarding your next batch... The rule is that you use store bought ferments (or a yogurt) for the 1st batch of yogurt then keep 1 pot aside to get the next batch started. This works usually 5 times but then you will start seeing when you need new ferments. After too many uses, your ferments become too weak and you have to buy new ones, either fresh ferments or an actual flavorless yogurt from the store... Again, some people use less than a pot to start their batches, I've seen it work but it can affect the texture of the yogurt so I would suggest to follow a recipe for the first times you make homemade yogurts and then, experiment to find what works best for you :)

I won't repeat it enough though but be careful with how much (too much) ferments you add!! I recently made a batch of soy yogurt, using a store bought 250g yogurt as a starter and half the pot fell in the bowl while I meant to use 2 tablespoons...The result was... Halloween worthy as you can see below and compare to a successful batch (in this case it's failed soy vs successful cow milk yogurt). And that can be explained by the fact that if you have too many bacteries in your milk, they won't be able to develop properly due to the lack of space/food for them to grow and do their magic. The result was a weird texture, lots of liquid and a more acidic taste but it was still edible... Just not that enjoyable. I also noticed that the flavorless pots looked better than the ones with strawberry coulis.

*Note that soy (left weirdo batch) can have a different texture compared to milk (middle and right) but this was really extreme.

Time wise, I stick to 8 hours but sometimes we want the yogurt more acid or firm so I add 1 hour and see if it tastes better. As you can see above, after 8 hours the yogurt is already quite firm when the batch is not a total fail ;p , it's not falling out of the container :) but depending on your taste, you might want to increase the incubation time. If your place is colder than usual (every winter in my case), add an hour to be safe I would say.

And that's about it for Homemade Yogurts! It's not that hard right?! If you also make your own yogurt at home, share your tips and recipes :)