Despite being born in a farming family, I was never really a big fan of drinking milk, but homemade yogurt, cheese and butter I could always devour in any recipe or on their own as they were freshly made. I can’t live without yogurt ! Each day I make sure that I include yogurt in at least one of my meals, therefore, I usually never run out of it. To keep the cycle running of fresh homemade yogurt supply I make sure to save a few spoons of plain yogurt as a starter to make more. Having known the taste of real thing I could never warm up to the unnaturally thick, jelly like, sweetened and loaded with artificial flavours yogurt sold in the market.

The homemade version is not only refreshing and delicious but is 50% cheaper from store bought brands. The simple science behind making yogurt for people who get intimidated by the idea is that yogurt is made by fermenting milk with a lactose-loving bacteria. These bacteria feed on the sugar in the milk and produce lactic acid as waste product, which makes the yogurt tart and thick. For the organisms in this culture to function, the milk needs to be fairly warm to touch and stay warm and incubated for the bacteria to flourish. If your yogurt looks too thin even after an overnight incubation, it means the milk was not warm enough.

There are oodles of health benefits of home made yogurt as it is rich in protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and folic acid. People taking antibiotics are often advised to eat yogurt to replace the healthy bacteria. For people who have trouble digesting milk, fresh yogurt is much easier to digest and actually aids in their digestion as well.

Regularly eating yogurt decreases bloating, and gives relief in both constipation and diarrhea and other stomach disorders. Ayurveda medicine recommends taking yogurt in the form of lassi ( yogurt diluted with milk or water). This makes the yogurt even more light and digestible.

For Home Made Yogurt :

1 litre milk
2 tablespoons plain yogurt

This Is What You Do

Heat milk till it’s warm to touch.

Pour milk in clean heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid.

Stir in yogurt.

Cover the pan tightly, place it some place warm in the kitchen.

Leave it to set for 7-8 hours or overnight.

Makes four servings

Tips n Tricks :

* The pans should be clean and dry. If there is some other kind of bacteria in the pan that will effect the taste and texture of the yogurt.

* a higher fat content will definitely give you a thicker, creamier yogurt but it can be made with 2% and skimmed milk too.

*f keeping the milk cozy and at a fairly steady temperature (ideally around 110°F) while the bacteria go to work turning the milk into yogurt.

* For quicker result use a vacuum flask or hot pot with an airtight lid to make yogurt.

* To keep it warm and away from draught you can wrap the pan in some old woollen sweater. Or heat up the oven for ten minutes, turn off the heat and place the pot inside.

* The longer yogurt sits, the thicker and more tart it becomes.

* Starter should always be used in small quantity in proportion to milk. Adding more starter than necessary will lead to thinner, not thicker yogurt.

* To make Greek Yogurt or Hung Yogurt, you can strain the yogurt through a cheese cloth till you achieve the required thickness and creaminess.

* To make sweetened or fruit yogurt, you can stir in honey, maple syrup or puréed fruit into the yogurt once it’s set and chilled.

*Get new starter every few weeks, specially if your yogurt starts turning out runny or tastes weird, it’s time for new starter.

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