Yogurt is full of beneficial microbes that aid digestion and boost our immunity. Some of the microbes even synthesize beneficial substances such as neurotransmitters, Vitamin B & K. people who are lactose intolerant can get the benefits of milk without the associated digestive problems since the friendly bacteria had already broken down the lactose into a more digestible form. Scientists have even shown that gut microbes help maintain brain function!
Making yogurt is easy. Instead of buying the freeze-dried bacteria (probiotics) and special equipment, I just pick up a fresh cup of yogurt and package of milk from the supermarket. Then, I used existing cooking utensils in my kitchen to make the yogurt. It is best to make yogurt on a warm day since the bacteria multiply more quickly to convert the milk into yogurt.
How To Make Yogurt
• Smaller pot/heat-resistant cookware within a larger pot/wok of water to make a double-boiler
• Cold water in a large bowl/basin.
• White muslin cloth (larger than mouth of the small pot/cookware)
• Long-handle spoon or spatula (for stirring)
• Several clean bottles with lid (to store yogurt in individual serving size)
• 1 cup (135g.) of plain yogurt per 1 liters of milk
(Ensure the yogurt contain live/active bacteria. Fresher product is likely to have more live bacteria)
• 2 to 3 teaspoon raw sugar or fruit jam (energy source for bacteria)
(Take cup of yogurt out of fridge to warm up to room temperature. If the weather is too cold, stand yogurt in a warm (not hot) bowl of water.)
1. Boil water in large pot/wok with milk in smaller container in the middle.
2. Turn down heat and stir when milk begins to froth. Add in sugar/jam.
(Boiling the milk breaks down the protein, making it easier for bacteria to convert it into yogurt).
3. Turn off heat and remove container of milk.
4. Place pot of milk into a cold water bath to cool down.
5. Stir milk. When milk has cooled to between 110°F to 90°F (43°C to 32°C), remove from cold water bath. (110°F/43°C is the ideal temperature)
6. Stir in cup of yogurt. Stir till the yogurt is distributed evenly throughout the milk.
7. Cover the milk-yogurt mixture with a clean muslin cloth or lid loosely.
8. Leave the mixture in a warm place and do not move container for at least 6 hours. Usually, I leave it to stand overnight. The warm milk encourages the bacteria to grow and convert the milk into yogurt. Ideal temperature for this to occur is around 100°F/ 38°C.
9. After 6 to 7 hours of incubation, the mixture will start to have a custard-like consistency and a cheesy odor. It may have greenish liquid on top.
To keep temperature consistent during the incubation process, place the milk-yogurt mixture in warm water in a crockpot or rice cooker with temperature set at low/keep warm setting.
10. OPTIONAL STEP
if you like the yogurt to be very smooth, strain it through a clean muslin cloth. (Normally I skip this step.)
11. Stir yogurt and transfer yogurt into smaller bottles. When yogurt has cooled, close lids firmly and refrigerate.
* The longer you incubate the milk-yogurt mixture, the tangier it becomes.
* When the temperature drops below above mentioned temperatures, bacteria activity slows down.
* Different brands of yogurt may use different strains of bacteria, which give their products different texture and aroma. Choose a brand that pleases you as starter.
* You can boil milk directly in a pot instead of a double boiler, but you have to start with medium heat and lower heat when milk start to froth. Stir continuously from start to finish.
→ Add chopped fruits into yogurt.
→ Use yogurt as salad dressing, dips. or mix into sauces.