HOW TO MAKE su­per-cheap, spec­tac­u­lar YO­GHURT

Some award-win­ners are the in­spi­ra­tion for this de­li­cious yo­ghurt experiment.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Farmhouse Kitchen - JEAN MANS­FIELD

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.

4 1.

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


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