Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Slowcooker yoghurt... it works!


This is more of a household blog, so guess it comes more under being sustainable or frugal than a smallholding blog (as such). If we had our own dairy supply then I guess we could relate, as a produce or bi-product of that use of that produce… But then this goes to show anyone can do it and I’ll let you know whether or not it’s cost effective.

Now I have read many blogs etc. about those who have produced their own yoghurt, from both pasteurised and raw milk; whether it be as a cost saving measure, as a means of minimising preservative or other additives in theirs and/families diets. Personally I’ll be using pasteurised store bought milk (as I believe the sale of raw milk in Queensland is illegal). And I’ve been meaning to try this out of pure curiosity, and because I have been experimenting a lot with my slow cooker recently (automatic/electric crock pot). As the cooler weather has prompted you to dust it off and use it for everything (or at least for a few weeks anyway).

I guess they really are one of those pieces that (if you’re like me), you go through phases with; you either use all the time, or it just gathers dust in the cupboard. I guess part of my reason for trying this was to prompt me to use my slow cooker more regularly.

 

To be honest now I have done this, I cannot believe how straight forward it was.  I made mine using a cup of lite Greek style yoghurt (my usual). It need to contain some active cultures; I believe there are a few variations. The two in mine were L.Acidophilius and S.Thermophilius, both commonly used in the  commercially production of ‘Acidophilius’ type yoghurts… Basically they curdle the milk and split it into yoghurt and whey.

L.Acidophilius is naturally occurring in the human gastrointestinal tract, so some strains are often considered to have ‘probiotic’ characteristics, but that wasn’t the reason it was important. (in this instance, but good to know).

Milk; I use 2 litres of store bought pasteurised full cream milk. Though I believe you can use any (I read a blog where a lady used UHT).

 

-              Poured my milk into the slow cooker and put it on high.

Many of the blogs I read varied in time; from 90mins to 2hrs 30mins, but most that mentioned a temperature agreed it had to reach 180°F or 82°c, so using a meat thermometer I checked at roughly 30 minute intervals… Mine took 3 hours to reach this temperature. (Probably as I kept taking the lid off to check). But at this point it did have a slight skin. I understand this is to remove any impurities in the milk (though as a pasteurised product I cannot see there should be any).

 

-              Once it reaches the desired temperature, turn the slow cooker off and leave to cool.

You need the milk to cool to 110-120°F or 43-49°c

-              Once cool spoon a couple of ladles of warm milk into a mixing bowl (remove the skin if you have one and discard).

-              Then add your cup of yoghurt to the bowl and whisk together, then whisk back into the rest

of the warm milk (in your crock pot) for at least 6 hours, overnight is good.

-              Replace lid and either wrap with a (clean) towel (or similar) or place in a warm spot.

I was cooking dinner, so once it was finished (and we’d eaten so the oven wasn’t hot) I placed the bowl/insert in the oven overnight.

-              Spoon a cup of the yoghurt into a container dedicated as your ‘starter’ clearly label and store this in the fridge. This is for next week’s batch!

 

You should have yoghurt! I did see some posts where people ate it like this, but I strained mine for hat thicker, Greek style finish. So to do this;

 

-              Place a sieve or colander over a bowl (you will need clearance underneath).

-              Line your sieve or colander with either cheese cloth, muslin or coffee filters. I opened up a couple of coffee filter papers to cover the surface of the sieve.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
-              Spoon/ carefully pour your yoghurt into the sieve.

-              Leave to drain (I placed mine in the fridge whilst I went to work).

- Then divide into storage containers and pots as you desire and store in the fridge for up to a week.

 

To eat add honey, sugar or stevia as desired along with fruit and other syrups or flavourings (milkshake powder etc. works well).  I am wary of adding fruit til I want to use it, as the acids could break down the yoghurt.