This is one of my favourite things I make and one of the most important components of my diet. It tastes amazing, is full of probiotics and, as the name suggests, doesn’t contain any lactose so it’s probably one of the healthiest foods you could eat.
People are usually impressed when I tell them that I make my own yogurt but that tends to change to disappointment once they learn that not only do I own a yogurt maker, but that one of the main ingredients of yogurt is yogurt.
So yes, full disclosure, I make my yogurt in a yogurt maker (although it’s possible to make it without one) and yes, you do need yogurt (or a starter culture) to make yogurt!
How does it work?
A little bit of science first. The lactic enzymes found in yogurt are what break down milk, ferment the sugars in the milk (lactose), and turn it into yogurt. The problem with commercial yogurt you buy in shops is that it has only been fermented for approximately six hours, so it still contains some lactose when it is packaged and put on supermarket shelves. While the probiotics in this yogurt are good for you, the lactose is not so good for those sad, surviving-on-soya lactose intolerants amongst us. The difference with this homemade yogurt is that it is fermented for 24 hours, leaving you with delicious dairy yogurt that’s lactose-free!
Before You Begin
If you are planning on using a thermos or vacuum flask instead of a yogurt maker to make your yogurt, a smaller flask (500mls) tends to keep the heat a lot more stable than a larger, one or two litre flask. If you want to make large quantities of yogurt, I recommend using several small flasks.
2 litres (2 qts) whole milk
200g approx. natural probiotic yogurt
1. Heat the milk in a large saucepan to 90°C/195°F, stirring constantly to ensure it doesn’t burn.
2. Allow the milk to cool by placing it in the fridge. You want it to cool to between 40°C and 42°C/104°F and 108°F, although if it goes lower it’s not a big deal as your yogurt maker will automatically bring it to the right temperature.
3. Once its cooled remove the skin from the top using a fork. Do not use your hands or dirty utensils to touch the cooled milk as this will introduce unwanted bacteria.
4. Whisk the yogurt into the milk.
5. Pour the milk and yogurt mixture into your yogurt maker and allow to sit for 24 hours.
• If you are using a flask and the milk cools too much, heat it gently in the saucepan to bring the temperature back to 42°C/108°F.
• Scald the flask with boiling water to ensure that there are no bacteria present, letting it cool slightly before putting in the yogurt mixture.
• Add the mixture to the flask, checking the temperature again to ensure that it is between 40°C and 42°C/104°F and 108°F.
• Secure the lid of the flask, wrap it in an old towel, and place in a warm place (e.g. hot press or airing cupboard) for 24 hours.
6. Once the yogurt is ready, cool it in the fridge before eating.
This yogurt is SCD-friendly and is based on the recipe given in the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall. For more information on SCD and Breaking the Vicious Cycle, click here.
My favourite way to serve the yogurt is with a berry compote (which can be made simply by boiling berries), honey to taste, crushed sunflower seeds, and chopped banana.
I always have little pots of vanilla and lemon essence in my cupboard which I sometimes add to the yogurt as I hate the flavour of honey on its own!
The yogurt is delicious with a spoon of peanut, almond, or hazelnut butter stirred in. Kelkin do a great peanut butter which contains no added sugar, and Meridan do delicious almond and hazelnut butters which also contain no added sugar.
Of course, if you’re struggling to find sugar free versions, dont be afraid to just make your own! Roast the nuts and then stick them in the food processor, adding a pinch of salt to taste if you want.