Yoghurt is my Wonder Food. Yoghurt can be used in many dishes / beverages, it is so versatile that I always have a big tub of yoghurt in fridge. Yoghurt can be easily prepared at home. I was first introduced to yoghurt making by my yoga teacher Kasturi. She is of Indian descent, and yoghurt is part of their daily diet.
The most outstanding benefit yoghurt comes from the unique way yoghurt is made. Yoghurt is simply milk that is cultured with active live cultures. These cultures are the key to many of yoghurt’s health benefits. Active live cultures are basically good bacteria that are necessary for the body to function at its best. These good bacteria prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that cause bacterial infections and diseases.
Healthy levels of good bacteria also promote digestive health and boost the immune system. Good bacteria prevent imbalances in the body’s yeast levels, which can prevent various types o yeast infections. It has been shown that good bacteria can also prevent urinary tract infections. If you are taking antibiotics, they may destroy the good bacteria present in your body. Eating yoghurt regularly can help restore your good bacteria levels. Active live cultures actually reduce yoghurt’s level of lactose, making yoghurt a delicious dairy alternative for anyone who is lactose intolerant.
Here I am using fresh milk from the cow’s farm. I prefer fresh milk because the yoghurt texture will be thick and creamy. In Malaysia, getting fresh milk is so convenient even in the cities. There are plenty of cow farms owned by Indian farmers, and in the evening, they will go around in their motorcycle with a milk carrier to deliver fresh milk right to our doorsteps! How lucky we are!
If you don’t have access to fresh milk, don’t fret. You can also use pasturised milk in carton or milk powder (full cream or low fat is fine). If it’s your first time, buy a tub of plain yoghurt that has “active live culture”. From then onwards, you can use your homemade yoghurt for culturing future batches.
500ml milk or 7 TSP milk mix with 500ml water
1 Tablespoon of yoghurt with active live culture (from the store)
1. Heat milk in pot to boiling point. Switch off fire immediately when the milk starts to create small bubbles around the pot. Be careful because the milk can overflow very fast once it reaches it’s boiling point. I was caught off guard before and it’s very messy to clean!
2. Let the milk cool to approximately 110 °F or 43 °C, takes about 30minutes in tropical country like Malaysia. An inexact test for the temperature is to test it with a finger: if the finger can be left in the milk for ten seconds, the milk is at about the correct temperature. Make sure you clean your hands thoroughly before doing that.
3. Once the milk has cooled, pour milk into a container.
5. Incubate the milk in a warm place (microwave or oven) for 6-8hours.
6. The fermentation time depends on the desired texture and tang in the final product. A shorter period yields a slightly runnier product with a mildly sour flavor, while a longer period yields a thicker and tarter yoghurt. More than 8 hours will produce more sour flavour because the culture keeps fermenting.
7. After full fermentation, the yoghurt can be stored in the fridge and this will stop the fermentation.
* To store plain yoghurt for the purpose of culturing future batches, it can be frozen in one tablespoon portions and then stored in the freezer. The culture can be thawed in the refrigerator or at room temperature and then used.