but don’t want all the artificial additives and sugar overload in commercial
brands? You can make your own beautifully creamy yoghurt at home, and save
money doing so.
basically made from the bacterial fermentation of milk. The bacteria used are
known as yoghurt cultures. You may have seen the names Lactobacillus bulgaricus
and Streptococcus thermophilus. These probiotic bacteria help lactose to
ferment. Lactic acid is produced, acting on casein (milk protein) to give
yoghurt its texture and characteristic tang.
Gene Mok of
the Selfish Gene Cafe (40 Craig Road) started making his own yoghurt for the
cafe as a substitute for buttermilk. It was easier to make it on demand than to
order in bulk and risk the short shelf life. Thankfully, his father is a
microbiologist and helped with the many experiments. This method is a
simplified method that works for home use.
“You can use
any milk - full cream, skim, even condensed milk. All you need are the milk
proteins that will be broken down into lactic acid,” says Gene.
Full cream or
other milk 1L
plain yoghurt (with active cultures) 50g
have to pasteurise the milk to kill undesirable bacteria. Warm the milk in a
saucepan over medium heat to 90 degrees C. This also denatures the milk
proteins so that they set together rather than form curds. Stir the milk gently
as it heats to ensure the bottom doesn’t scorch and the milk doesn’t boil over.
Remove from heat.
It is also a
good idea to sterilise all the equipment used. Just pour boiling water and let
it steep for 5 minutes in a hot water bath.
Allow the milk to cool to a temperature of about 45 degrees C. Skim off
any skin formed on the milk during cooling.
store-bought yoghurt with half a cup of the warm milk. Stir well until it’s
thinned yoghurt mixture into the rest of the warm milk and mix thoroughly. This
is a more gentle way of incorporating the yoghurt into the warm milk, instead
of just dumping the cold yoghurt into the whole litre of hot milk (less of a
shock to the live cultures).
lids and place jars in a cooler box. You could also use a yoghurt maker or
warmed up oven.
yoghurt to set for 4 to 8 hours. The longer it ferments, the firmer and more
tart it will be.
disturb the milk as it ferments. You lose heat each time you open the box, and
by moving it around, you may end up with a broken jelly texture that’s not
smooth. Check after 4 hours to see if it’s reached the required consistency and
flavour. Continue to culture for another 1 to 2 hours if necessary.
One litre of
milk will yield approximately six of these 170ml jars - a pretty good
investment. If you’d like to add fruit or other flavours, it’s best to mix it
in after the yoghurt has cultured. “The high acidity in certain fruits like
citrus and berries may cause the milk to curdle otherwise,” says Gene.
are many methods of making yoghurt, but this one certainly looks easy enough
and the result is smooth and creamy. Perfect with your favourite toppings -
fruit, nuts, granola, compote or even salted caramel. You can also use it in
cakes and bakes (tandoori chicken, anyone?). So go ahead and play with some
good bacteria. Homemade yoghurt can be a real treat!