Certains things in life makes our life sound so smooth and in control. To me one such thing is having yogurt and tea everyday. Ofcourse, not together. I need my steamy tea with cardamon and cloves right after I get back home. Yogurt goes hand in hand in every meal I take. It could be in my salad dressing or curry or just plain yogurt in rice. I also like a glass of chilled South Indian buttermilk once a while. Yogurt is a must have in my fridge. I go crazy if I run out of it. I don’t like the texture of store bought yogurt. They are firm and solid to me. I like my yogurt to be soft like whipped cream. When I mix it in my rice, I want it to gel with the rice with no effort from my end. Homemade yogurt is so smooth that it melts and blends wonderfully with the rice.
I learnt to make homemade yogurt during my pregnancy. During that phase in life, I was for some reason so particular about everything being organic and homemade. I made ghee, fruit juice, cheese, you name and I would have attempted to make a homemade version for it. Making yogurt is part and parcel of everyday routine. My mom would make yogurt as the last thing for the day. She would boil one packet of Avin milk and wait for it to steep. Once cooled to room temperature, she would spoon out a little of previoud day’s yogurt and mix them well with the boiled milk. Warm milk is left to ferment overnight at around 35-40’C. Whe I started to make yogurt at home, it was a failure for the first attempt. The temperaure and humidity varies from place to place. In California or any other cold part of the world, the best option is to warm the oven to 190F for 15-20 minutes. Once warm, switch it off and place the container wrapped in towel and let it ferment overnight. In case it didn’t form yogurm until morning, re-heat the oven to 190F and place it for another 6-8 hours. By the end of following day, you will have a bowl of perfectly set yogurt.
The proces is a simple science. You need a good bacterial yogurt culture. While living outside India, buy yogurt that carries “live culture” in the ingredient list of the packet. Specifically it should carry the names: Lactobacillus, bulgarius and thermophilus. These good bacteria helps in the fermentation of lactose in the milk. The bacterias convert lactose to lactic acid. This acid acts on milk protein and forms yogurt. Good bacteria are so good for your tummy and intestine. Yogurt are rich in calcium, protein and vitamins.
HOMEMADE YOGURT RECIPE
1 pint whole milk or 2% milk
1 tablespoon yogurt with live culture (store bought)
- Bring milk to a boil. Using a cooking thermomater, check whether the temperature reaches around 176-180 °F. This step is crucial as it will kill any unnecassary bacteria. Cool it down to 112-115’F. Set aside.
- Remove 1/4 cup milk. Cool to room temperature and dissolve 1 tablespoon of yogurt without forming lumps.
- Gently mix the yogurt mixture into the boiled milk. Pour into a glass jar or any container.
- Store it at room temperature to ferment.
- If living in a cold country, pre-heat the oven to 190F for 15-20minutes. Switch off the oven. Place the container over a baking tray and cover with a towel. The towel helps to retain the heat for a longer time. Place inside the oven and close the door. Let it ferment overnight.
- Once set, transfer the container to fridge until ready to use.