Yogurt!

Yogurt in a bowl

We eat lots of it at #livinggentler Greek set, Greek style, and ordinary yogurt all find a place in our fridge. Its good for you, is a great source of protein, and tastes great either as it is, or mixed with fruit and / or honey.

BUT and this is the thing for us….. most yogurt comes in plastic! With a 1kg yogurt tub weighing in at 40 grams, and at least one being used a week thats getting on for 2.1kg of plastic going into our recycling every year!

Empty yogurt pots

We felt this really had to stop, so have been attempting to make yogurt with varying degrees of success.

We do have a yogurt maker which in theory makes things easier…

Yoguet maker

We have had some trouble getting consistent results using the farm milk we buy. Possibly because the cream wants to seperate out so we were ending up with a layer of really rich yogurt cream, a layer of something unlike any bought yogurt and lots of whey… So we tried a kit!

With the Easiyo powdered milk yogurt kit mixed to the instructions worked well there is still plastic (the plastic pouch weighs 1 gram) and it is not recyclable. There are very few additives, mix with water, incubate and wait….. This worked for us and once whisked we had a very passable semiset yogurt. But there is still the issue of plastic going into our waste stream everytime we want yogurt.

Yogurt

1 litre of Jersey milk in the incubator, with a start culture from the last batch. Leave heating for 12 hours….

So we have kept trying, homogenised shop milk gives passable results but then again there is yet more plastic, and as can be seen still quite a lot of whey coming off.

So we have kept going, results have varied from curdled, to drinking yogurt and a really good cream cheese (the milk was on the turn) which Mrs. Livinggentler turned into a white chocolate and ginger cheesecake!

So where are we with this now?

We are making a consistent semiset passable greek yogurt! We get the occassional misfire which we have to use in cooking, but mostly we have found a method that works.

What we are making is creamy, slightly sharp and great with some honey drizzled over.

So what was the breakthrough?

A friend heard about our trials and tribulations and suggested powdered milk as an additive, and not rushing the process…. So here is what we do…

Wash the yogurt maker and all its bits, this gets natural yeasts present in the atmosphere out of the maker (yeasts will spoil the yogurt).

Put the starter culture into the maker, this can be some of the last batch or half a small tub of live yogurt. We prefer the first option.

Add 4 heaped desert spoons of powdered milk to the maker (we use British powdered milk in recyclable containers)

Mix some milk in to the other ingredients to dissolve the powdered milk, and slacken the starter culture.

Add the remaining milk to one litre and stir to thoroughly mix.

Put into the maker and switch it on. Leave for 10-12 hours to do its stuff, then switch the maker off and allow it to cool.

When the container has sufficiently cooled place it in the fridge to chill over night.

There should now be a solid(ish) mass of yogurt. If need be strain through a fine sieve or yogurt bag to remove the whey… You now have yogurt! For a smooth texture whisk briskly with a ballon whisk after returning to the container this should remove any graininess in the texture.. Sit back, smile, and enjoy!

Yes we would rather find a way round the powdered milk but at the moment this works for us. Our fresh milk is in refilled glass bottles, the powdered milk adds about 20g of plastic to our waste stream every 6 weeks. If we can find tinned british milk powder we will be happier still. The electricity used by the yogurt maker is 100% renewable according to our supplier who only purchases electricity of renewable origin.

Our latest effort!

We are finding this method with dried british milk powder is highly repeatable, we are using yogurt from the previous batch as a starter culture each time, and are now consistantly getting a smooth set slightly tart yogurt that is great for both eating and cooking!

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