Tuesday, February 16, 2010
About twenty-five years ago V bought me a yoghurt maker. I took to it straight away and used to make my own yoghurt all the time. I think I stopped when I got married and had to share my under-the-counter fridge with one and a half others (husband and ten-year-old stepson) and there just wasn't room in the fridge for the yoghurt tub. That was over twenty years ago.
I noticed the kit in its box in a cupboard recently and decided that either I had to start making yoghurt again or it had to go. I now have a larger fridge, so why not? I've googled and found that you can't get these Deva Bridge yoghurt makers any more, which is a great pity. Apparently you now have to have electric kits with individual pots. This way is so much better.
The kit consists of an insulated pot, a milk saver and a thermometer. You start with a little live yoghurt as a starter. The instructions say as little as 1 teaspoon will do. The fresher this starter the better. You then put your milk in a pan with the milk saver, bring to the boil, turn heat down and simmer for three minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the milk to cool until the temperature drops below the top line on the thermometer. (If it drops below the bottom line, reheat the milk.)
Gradually blend the milk into the yoghurt starter, stirring all the time. Put the two lids on the pot. Apparently the curve of the inner lid, together with the channel in the rim, collects some of the condensation, but I'm not sure this would be completely necessary.) Leave for five hours.
It's a little difficult to photograph yoghurt but I think you can see the two curves on the spoon I stuck into the pot, which you wouldn't get with milk.
Fresh yoghurt is deliciously sweet. The instructions say that the acid taste will start after about three days. I remember only the first day as being actually sweet, though. You can flavour and sweeten your home-made yoghurt, of course, though I plan to have it just as it is, on muesli as I usually do.
There's good news and bad news. The bad news is that after 25 years of being careful, this morning I managed to catch the edge of the yoghurt thermometer with the dishcloth, sweep it to the ground where, of course, it broke. The situation is rescued, however.
Looking at the instructions that came with the yoghurt maker, I found the temperatures that were indicated by the thermometer. The top line, below which the milk must cool, is 49 deg C and the bottom line, below which it must not cool, is 43 deg C. Good news follows, though. By very happy chance, I was given a digital food thermometer from Lakeland Limited for Christmas, so it will do the job perfectly. (I do have, as I have mentioned here before, a jam thermometer but one of the ways in which I find them useless is that the line above which the liquid must come for accurate measurement of temperature is higher than I will ever have a pan of milk for yoghurt.)
More good news is that the yoghurt is still just as sweet this morning. And finally, although the directions say to leave the yoghurt making for five hours, by this morning it was considerably thicker than yesterday.
I'm still very sad at breaking the original thermometer, though.