Yoghurt is a favourite for many but the most delicious types are the ones with sugar (it’s only natural, it’s triggering a chemical response in all of our brains/bodies so we do naturally love sweet food, causing huge problems particularly in those who are overweight/obese [1.]. However, when you’ve realised that sugar is a problem in your life and have decided to ditch it (or are still trying to ditch it), and looking for a way to have a sweet snack, I can’t think of anything better than some full fat yoghurt with cream and berries. It’s decadent and delicious, not to mention thick and free from guilt (even though some of us are still trying to wrap our heads around the eating fat bit).
In Australia, I was buying some beautiful yoghurt from the supermarkets. It was exactly what I wanted: no added sugar, full fat, lots of good bacteria, no preservatives and often organic and pot set. So why did I decide to make my own? Well I wanted to see if it was worth it, if it was easy to do and if it was cheaper than buying the top stuff. Well I can pretty much say that it is depending on where you live. Let’s be honest, some people (in Australia), charge a ridiculous amount for organic milk. Here in Shanghai, I can get great full fat milk quite cheaply and it is definitely worth making it myself, especially seeing good yoghurt is really hard to find.
I might just add that this yoghurt has done the (picky) boyfriend test too and his taste buds tell me that “this is the best yoghurt I have eaten here in China (even better than the original), you should sell this.” I love him for saying that.
So would you like the recipe??! It’s soooo simple.
- 2 litres of full cream milk (whatever your best quality is where you are – I prefer raw but it’s hard to find here so I get one that is guaranteed to have no chemicals etc in it)
- 1/2 cup yoghurt with live bacteria with large, viable quantities (Lactobacillus acidophilus, bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus casei) or a yoghurt starter of your own. I like Jalna greek yoghurt which I managed to find here but only in a 200ml pot and almost the same price as a litre in Australia! 
- (optional) 1/2 cup natural, preservative/additive free cream (the fatter the better)
You will also need:
- A saucepan
- A thermometer
- Measuring cup
- Cheesecloth or a tea towel
- Heat the milk and cream slowly in a saucepan until it reaches 82-93°C or 180-200°F.
Heating the milk is necessary to make a yoghurt thicker and help it to curdle as it alters the whey proteins . Heating was necessary with raw milk to kill the bacteria but as most milks have been pasturised already, it is no longer for this purpose but if for any reason, the milk does contain any bacteria, this heating process will make sure to eliminate them so they are not competing with the new bacteria you will soon add.
If you do heat above this temperature, it’s not a big deal but it can burn the yoghurt and make the texture of the yoghurt gritty due to the congealed proteins . It usually takes around 15-20 mins depending on whether the lid is on or not.
2. Turn the heat off and let the milk cool until it reaches 43-46°C or 110-115°F. This will take 20-30 mins. You can do this faster by putting the pan in cold water but you have to stay and monitor it. If you let the liquid drop below this temperature, it may not allow the bacteria to grow or it will take much longer as the colder the temperature, the slower the reproduction or fermentation rate . You can reheat back to 43°C/110°F if needs be.
3. Scoop out half a cup of warm milk mixture and put it into a bowl. Mix the yoghurt into the warm milk (so that it is not being added cold and can kick-start the fermentation or multiplication of bacterial cells).
4. Pour the yoghurt/milk mix back into the pot.
5. Put the lid on and cover with a tea towel to try to maintain the temperature.
6. Put in an oven with the light on. This is to function as an incubator and the light keeps the milk at the right temperature for the fermentation to take place.
7. After 4-6 hours the bacteria will have converted the milk into yoghurt, however, the longer you ferment for, the more the bacteria feeds on the lactose, reducing the lactose content in the milk (making it better for slightly sensitive tummies) as well as creating a more sour taste. The longer the ferment, the more sour the flavour. I like to ferment for around 12 hours (put in oven around 6pm, take out in the morning) but you can do up until 24.
8. To make the yoghurt super thick and creamy, I like to strain out the whey. It’s also good because this contains lots of the carbs/sugars making it even more lchf friendly. So, line your strainer/colander with the tea towel and pour in the yoghurt.
9. Leave to drain for 1-2 hours. The longer you drain, the less whey there will be and the more cream cheese like it will be so don’t forget it sitting in the fridge!!
10. When strained, whisk until nice and smooth and then distribute into a glass jar. This recipe will yield almost a litre. The more whey it contains, the more yoghurt there will be.
See here for some suggestions about what to do with the left over whey (which is full of amazing nutrition!)
11. Finally, enjoy! I love my yoghurt with a bit of cinnamon and a piece of 85-90% dark choc. Alternatively, cook some frozen blueberries on the stove (slowly simmer with some water) and make a jam. Or cut up a kiwi and eat together. Or add to a soup, stew or chilli (but not when boiling as the heat will kill the good bacteria). So many uses, so good for you and so delicious.
Last note… if you want to do this with a slow cooker, you can. It is much the same but here are a few quick instructions:
- Heat milk on low for 2-2 1/2 hours (test the temp, it should be around 82-93°C or 180-200°F
- Turn off and let cool for 3 hours (again, test temp but it should be around 43-46°C or 110-115°F)
- Put the lid on the slow cooker, wrap it in a towel and leave on the bench overnight. Unless your house gets freezing cold, it should be ok as it is in an insulated pot.
- In the morning, you will have yoghurt. Follow the same instructions as above re: whey and storage.
If you like this recipe or have any questions, feel free to post below.
Love (and healthy fats) Bianca x