Make Your Own Yoghurt

I’ve always loved having yoghurt in my diet, but for a long time I bought the varieties that have sugar and flavouring added to them, whether it was in a six pack of the small pottles,or a larger 700 g to 1 kg pottle for a few servings. In more recent times looking at healthy breakfasts, I have been buying around 2 kg a week of Greek style yoghurt, generally the low fat variant with no sugar or flavouring.Lately I noticed a section on the supermarket shelves where they had tucked away some sachets of yoghurt mix as well as several brands of yoghurt makers, retailing around $24 for a device and around $4-$5 for a sachet of mix to make 1 kg of yoghurt, which after excluding the one off cost of the device, would allow me to halve the cost of a weekly supply of yoghurt.

A yoghurt maker device is basically an insulated flask which you fill to a certain level with boiling water. You take a sachet of yoghurt mix, which is mostly milk power with the yoghurt cultures (and other things if you prefer), place it into a jar which you fill with tepid water (around 15-20 degrees), mix well, then immerse the jar in the water inside the yoghurt maker flask, put the lid on and leave it for 8-12 hours depending on what the yoghurt mix maker recommends. It is best if the temperature of the room the maker sits in is also about 15-20 degrees during the period in which the yoghurt is forming inside the maker. Makers are produced under several brands, EasiYo and Hansells both being prominent in the local market, and EasiYo claiming to have invented the concept right here in New Zealand. Both of these brands also produce yoghurt mix in various flavours, and there are other brands of mix available as well. For example, Homestyle Yummy Yoghurt sachets are available in my local New World, manufactured right here in Christchurch, along with EasiYo made in Auckland, and Hansells. Homestyle is a little cheaper than EasiYo or Hansells. I bought the Hansells maker, but at the moment I have no intention of using the more expensive Hansells mixes, as cheaper ones are available that will work just as well.

At the moment I am trying out the different brands to see which one will produce the best variant of the natural low fat Greek yoghurt I prefer, which regardless of whether it is premade or made up at home, is just basically milk and culture. No thickeners, gelatine, flavours or sugar. Usually for breakfast I am making up a serving of yoghurt around some vitaplan or complan for extra nutrition and the cereal is either AllBran or latterly, Weetbix. Making the stuff is quite easy, so I will be interested to see which variety has the more preferable flavour. The obvious issues are that you have to make up a supply of water to the right temperature to go into the mix, the important timing issue of ensuring it doesn’t sit for much more than 8 hours, and having it sit in a warm enough room for that period. As I always heat my bedroom to 16 degrees overnight in winter, then having the maker work overnight seems like a good way of getting all the ducks lined up. Right now I am sampling the product of a Homestyle sachet and the second kilogram this week will be from EasiYo, next week I hope to use just one brand if I can choose between them.