HOW TO MAKE super-cheap, spectacular YOGHURT
Some award-winners are the inspiration for this delicious yoghurt experiment.
This year was the first time that yoghurt and butter have been entered into the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Awards. I had the honour of tasting the best yoghurts in the country and congratulations to all the entrants for the high standard and great selection of yoghurts offered. There was low-fat, full-fat, fruit-added, yoghurt drinks, and all made from a range of milks: cow, goat, sheep and buffalo.
Some yoghurts were made with just milk and bacterial cultures, others had additives of sugar, starch, gum, milk powder, colours, stabilisers and preservatives.
It’s not difficult to make at home but you’ll find homemade yoghurt is often thinner than store-bought varieties so you might have to drain it or add thickeners (usually milk powder) to gain the consistency you like.
In preparing for judging I started making my own yoghurt and I’m now very enthusiastic about it, and have been experimenting with mixing milks: cow, goat, and even non-dairy coconut and almond milks have been used separately or mixed together with various bacterial starters to see what works and what doesn’t.
I lined up large jars and tried cultures with cows’ milk first, dating and writing down the ingredients list and method on a sticky label for each one. You can buy yoghurt cultures from brewing shops, cheesemaking supply companies on the internet, or even easier, buy your favourite yoghurt from the supermarket and use a bit of that to culture your milk (see more about that on the next page). One of the most common yoghurt bacterial cultures you’ll see is Lactobacillus acidophilus.
I used my favourite supermarketbought flavoured yoghurt as a starter. If you want to do the same, look for ‘live bacterial culture’ on the label. If you like the taste of a particular yoghurt you buy, the same flavour profile will be cultured into your home-made yoghurt if you use it as the starter.
In my experiments I found that not all starters have the same quality of flavouring and thickening as it is the culture that acidifies and thickens the milk. Some starters are mildly sour, others quite astringent.
The results for my experiments were surprising and occasionally spectacular, resulting in the coconut yoghurt recipe at right which I (and all my taste-testers) think falls into the spectacular category.
I found that cultured milk almond
yoghurt tasted like but yoghurt
stayed fairly liquid- great it’s a
base for smoothies. 2. If you want a
thicker consistency you
can add 2 tbsp of a supermarket-
bought probiotic yoghurt
and 1 tsp of sugar or honey
to a litre of warm almond milk,
then pop it into your yoghurt-
maker and leave it overnight. 3. If you don’t want
any dairy at all, dairy-free
or low lactose starters are available order, by mail
or try a probiotic which starter
can be compl etely dairy-free.
Check with suppliers. 4. To really thicken
it to custard consistency you
need to add 3 tsp of gelatine
or agar agar which needs to
be dissolved in boiling almond
milk, then cooled before you add
your starter and put it into your