Making health-promoting yogurt at home
Making yogurt at home is a great way to ensure purity in your food. It allows you to avoid sweeteners if desired, and to experiment with flavors and textures. With the right tools, it’s quite easy. You also get to choose what cultures you add. We have a remarkable culture option to offer you, from Australia.
Progurt Probiotic Sachets are a powerful probiotic with 1 trillion CFU of beneficial Human Probiotic Isolates. Progurt provides beneficial, colonising, non-transient strains of human probiotic bacteria. It helps restore the microbiome you were born with, aid digestive health and re-balance gut flora. This super-strength formulation offers exceptional restoration with beneficial colonisation; ideal for those prone to digestive disorders or tummy problems. A unique blend of Human Probiotic Isolates effectively rebalance and restore without disturbing the tummy’s natural bacterial balance.
Progurt is often recommended to help with IBS, constipation and diarrhea. It can also help with immune support and can be taken during or after travel, or if you’ve recently had food poisoning, and to help rebuild your intestinal flora after a course of antibiotics.
You can take Progurt directly from the sachet and stir it into a cool drink, but it also makes great yogurt. Our food editor Lee has been making yogurt at home for 15 years and has excerpted these foolproof instructions from Epicurious and tailored them to the Progurt sachets.
Homemade Yogurt Recipe:
4-8 cups (1 to 2 quarts) cow’s milk
1 sachet Progurt
Optional: Flavorings such as jam, honey, maple syrup, vanilla, molasses, fresh or dried fruit, garlic, herbs, etc.
You can use UHT-packaged full-fat cow’s milk to save time, since UHT milk is already sterilized. But fresh refrigerated milk will need to be sterilized by heating on the stove to 180° to kill all bacteria (see below).
Note that any yogurt culture, including Progurt, cannot come into contact with liquids higher than 115°F or the live cultures will die.
Candy thermometer; yogurt maker or Instant Pot or insulated incubator, such as a large thermos; Mason jars or other container for storage.
1. Start by cleaning and sterilizing all your equipment, containers, spoons and ladles, as well as your work surface. Most utensils and storage containers can be sanitized in the dishwasher (some dishwashers have a sanitize setting).
Alternatively, sterilize everything in boiling water.
2. If using UHT cow’s milk, or UHT soy milk (the shelf stable packages), simply heat it to 110°-115° and skip to step 4.
If using fresh refrigerated milk: Attach a candy thermometer to a heavy, large pot and add the milk. Place the pot over moderate heat and heat the milk until it reaches at least 180°F or boils, stirring occasionally with your sterilized spoon to prevent a skin from forming and making sure the milk doesn’t scald or boil over.
3. Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool, covered, to 110°F to 115°F. Keep the milk covered whenever possible, to keep mold spores from landing on it.
4. Add one sachet of Progurt to the warm milk; gently whisk until completely incorporated.
Pour or ladle the mixture into your yogurt maker’s containers or another incubator (if using a thermos, first warm the inside with hot tap water) and incubate between 110°F and 115°F for 5 to 10 hours, depending on the desired flavor and consistency — longer incubation periods produces thicker, more tart yogurt. Do not disturb the yogurt during incubation. Do not heat higher than 115°F. The cultures will still develop at lower temperatures, but may take longer.
When finished, cover the yogurt and refrigerate until cold, 2 to 3 hours. (If you used a thermos to incubate it, transfer the finished yogurt to a non-insulated container for chilling or else it won’t chill sufficiently.)
Stir any flavorings into the yogurt after chilling and just before serving. Do not add flavorings to the yogurt during incubation, because they can contaminate the culture, and acidic ingredients such as fruit, syrup, or honey will retard culture growth.
Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator, in covered glass or ceramic containers, for up to 2 weeks, but the flavor will be the best during the first week. As yogurt ages, it becomes more tart. If more whey (liquid) separates out of the yogurt, just stir it back in before serving.
- Yogurt needs to incubate for at least 5 hours, but it can safely incubate for much longer, even overnight. Just keep in mind that the longer the incubation period, the thicker and more tart the final yogurt.
- The whey that pools on the yogurt is full of vitamins and minerals and can be added to smoothies and lassis, added to a dressing, or you can simply drink it.
- As an alternative way to add thickness to yogurt, whisk in 3 or 4 tablespoons nonfat powdered dry milk to the warm milk when you add the starter. Extra protein will assist with the thickening process.
- This recipe may be doubled or tripled; increase the amount of starter and milk proportionately.
- If you use reduced-fat milk, the yogurt will be thinner and runny.
- If you use soy milk, choose an organic brand with the least amount of added ingredients. Ideally, your commercial soy milk will have just organic soybeans and water as ingredients, with sweetener and vanilla optional. WestSoy is a good brand for this purpose. If your soy milk is unsweetened, add a tablespoon of organic sugar while heating (but not honey or maple syrup) to give the cultures something to eat, since there is no lactose in soy milk to feed them.
- You can also add a can of coconut milk to your soy milk to enhance the texture and flavor. But starting with coconut milk made for drinking will not produce a good yogurt — it does not contain sufficient protein to allow it to thicken.
- Do not use other nut and seed milks because they will not nourish the cultures and therefore they will not develop into yogurt.