Well cultured

My retro yoghurt maker

After a brief discussion with my chef (Joe) today I am going to try my hand at homemade yogurt again. I have made it in the past but it has been at least 8-10 years since my last efforts. My kids will be my Quality Control team.

My yogurt maker is an old Hamilton Beach one I picked up on e-bay 14-15 years ago. It was ancient when I got it. Circa 1978. It has the main unit and 6 glass jars with snap on lids. It keeps a near perfect 100 F.

100 is a nice balance between 90 and 110. Some would say it is right in the middle. 90 will give you a nice yogurt that will trap all the whey in its mass the down side being it will take longer to culture. 110 will culture nicely but you may notice some whey floating on top.

You will need

  • Milk
  • Cream
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Yoghurt with “live cultures”
  • Incubator of some type or design
  • Heavy pot

Here we go.

  1. I used 1250 ml of 2% milk and 250 ml of 35% cream
  2. To this I added 1/3 a cup of sugar (for the kids).

    Heating Milk to 180 F

  3. In a heavy pot over low heat I brought the temp up to 180 F stirring often to make sure it doesn’t scorch. This is to kill any bacteria that is in your milk that may try to compete with the yogurt culture.
  4. Once it reached 180 F I quickly put it in a stainless bowl and put the bowl in a sink of cold water and started to cool it while stirring gently.When the temperature reached 115 F I added a single serving size container of plain unflavoured yogurt that contains live culture. Be sure to buy a good one as this will be your base starter for everything. You will then be able to use your own yogurt to culture future batches. Make sure it says on the package “live cultures” and “no gelatin”
  5. Mix the culture well and add 1 Tbsp of Vanilla extract while mixing. Pour milk into your containers you will be using for incubation.
  6. Incubate at 90 -110 F for at least 7 hours. The higher temps will be quicker but be of lower quality. Try to get around 100 F or lower.

Yoghurt after 9 hours of incubation

You can use many things to incubate yogurt. Oven on low or just with the light on. A dehydrator on the lowest setting should be around 95 F. A good cooler with warm water etc etc. Please feel free to leave comments or questions.


“feed the bitch”

Well, my sourdough starter is up and running. It has been several weeks in the making and I have now produced two successful loaves of sourdough.

Each of the following will represent one day in the birth of a sourdough starter.

Starter just after being fed

  1. Mix equal parts flour and water. Put in a clear container so you will be able to see it rising over the next week or so. I used 12 grain flour. I feel it made all the difference in getting this started. 120 grams of both water and flour is a good start. Cover loosely with cling wrap. Keep in a warm draft free area.
  2. Do nothing
  3. Take 120 grams of the starter and add another 60 grams of both flour and water.
  4. Continue as day 3 but start cutting back on the 12 grain and substitute AP flour
  5. Continue as previous days cutting back even further on 12 grain and substituting AP
  6. By day 6 you should be using 120 grams of starter and 60 grams of water and APĀ flour. Is your starting rising over night?
  7. As day 6. If your starter isn’t moving at all you should start over.
  8. By now your starter should be growing within 5-6 hours of you feeding it. It should also be starting to take on a more familiar and pleasant smell.
  9. By now you should start cutting back on the water and adding a little more flour. This will make a better starter that will rise better. Your starter needs to be healthy before you do this. As well keep back a little more starter. I do 160g of starter + 100g of flour + 60g of water.
  10. In case you haven’t noticed you have been adding the starter and enough water and flour to equal the starters weight. Continue to do so until your are happy with the life in your starter.

Starter after 7 hours

Now your starter is jumping you can put it in your fridge. Feed it at least once a week and leave it out after feeding for 2-3 hours. Remember to feed it several hours before you will need it. When you need it in a recipe you want it to be big and puffy. If you find you need more starter just don’t throw any out. Feed it its weight equivalent and let her grow.