Thursday,23 May, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)
Thursday,23 May, 2019
Issue 1159, (1 - 7 August 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Yoghurt-making 101

Let’s talk about better living! Our new interactive family corner aims to expand our lifestyle horizons with practical little pearls of wisdom from the editor and input from our readers

Yoghurt is a Ramadan staple and the food of choice at Sohour (the last meal of the night before dawn and the new fasting day). It’s cooling and highly nutritious, full of protein, calcium and other essential nutrients, especially the beneficial strains of bacteria that aid in digestion. Yoghurt is also a great way to get extra nutrition into children and is easier to digest than milk.

Homemade yoghurt tastes different than store-bought yogurt. It does take some time to make, but very minimal effort is required and the outcome is healthful, delicious and inexpensive. Even a week later, it remains fresh, while the store-bought one turns sour and lacks the fresh curd flavour. You could invest in a yoghurt maker, but there are many potential incubators you might already own, such as a thermos. Alternatively, you could use a covered container, set in a conventional oven (preferably with the light on), a microwave, a cooler (place jars of hot water inside to help maintain a warm environment), or a slow cooker (preheat the slow cooker but turn it off to incubate). Another option is to simply swaddle the covered container with a heating pad, blanket or towel.
And while yoghurt requires at least five hours to incubate, there’s only about 30 minutes of active time. You can even make the yoghurt before going to bed and let it incubate overnight.
So instead of looking out for good store-bought yoghurt, try to make some at home.

4 cups milk of your choice (full cream/low fat)
4 tbsp plain yoghurt as a starter/active culture

For a starter, you can use store-bought plain yoghurt or left-over homemade yoghurt. Lightly beat 4 tbsp of the yoghurt with 1 tbsp of water and your starter is ready. Keep aside.

In a large saucepan, bring milk to a boil on medium-high heat. It takes more than 15 minutes to reach the boiling level. Stay nearby. When milk will froth up and begins to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a few seconds before turning off the stove. Allow the milk to cool for a while. Add the plain yoghurt starter, cover the saucepan with a lid and leave it undisturbed for 10-12 hours or overnight. If kept in warm surroundings, it will be ready within 6-8 hours. Refrigerate and use.

Additional tips:
- Rinse the pan out with cool water before pouring the milk in to help prevent burning the milk.
- Milk should be boiled well and should be hot enough while you add the starter yoghurt.
- An ideal incubator is the oven, turned off (the oven can be heated for a minute before placing the pan in, just to encourage warmth, but be sure to turn it off immediately).
- If it’s not fermented in the morning, wait for another 4-6 hours and it will be ready.
- Boil milk on medium-high heat to avoid the milk changing colour.
- Check milk using your finger; if it’s hot but bearable, add the starter.
- If you add the starter to the completely cooled milk, you will not get yoghurt. Also, if you heat milk in the microwave and add the starter you won’t get yoghurt either. Instead, try boiling the milk in a microwave by increasing the time to 5-6 minutes or more based on your oven. Alternatively, simply boil milk, cool for a while then add the starter.
- If your starter yoghurt is too sour, then add only 2 tbsp for 4 cups of milk. Otherwise your fresh yoghurt will become sour too soon, maybe in a day.
- Some clearish liquid might be seen on top of your yoghurt when you lift the lid in the morning. This is just a nutritional by-product called whey. Not only is it normal, but it’s super healthy! You can choose to drain it off using a ladle, or simply stir it in.
- Depending on what types of yoghurt you use as a starter, your yoghurt might have varied consistency. It might look super creamy, or appear to have a slightly “grainy” texture. If it’s grainy, a quick whisk will do the trick to make it creamy.

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