I do love a project, so when I saw homemade yoghurt popping up on a few local blogs (like Tania's and Tammi's) I started dreaming about making my own.
I love cooking stuff from scratch, its a great way to understand the often simple processes involved in food production and helps me respect well made food. I also like the idea of making and eating food without preservatives,
added sugar and colourings and the other extras that so often go into
our processed food. I must admit I'm not a purist, for the sake of time
and convenience we eat a bit of processed and packaged food round here but we try and eat fresh and local when we can.
We also love yoghurt round here, the kids eat a lot of fruit yoghurt which makes me happy, and we all love Greek Yoghurt piled on curries and stews, and well just about anything.
There is so much information out there on making yoghurt so I won't add to that. Everyone agrees on the basics, you heat the milk, then cool it and add some good starter yoghurt with live cultures. The main difficulty with home production is that you then need to keep this mixture at a constant temperature for a few hours while the bacteria do their work.
Tammi and Tania have been using a slow cooker for this which they wrap in blankets. I don't have one (why not?!) but I do have a rice cooker and used an online tutorial which explained how to use that. I thought the warm setting would work but I came back an hour later to find the whole thing at 130F, too hot for the bacteria to grow, though the batch had already set. After squeezing out the whey it was more like cream cheese than yoghurt but a good first try.
Batch two later that day went into an old thrifted thermos instead for four hours and then was decanted to the fridge before I went to bed. It was delicious!! I like a creamy yoghurt so I strained mine through fabric to get rid of some of the whey, that watery liquid you often find in yoghurt, and we ate it this afternoon with homemade jam. It was very popular and I'm definitely going to try this again!