Saturday, March 2, 2013

Recipe: Homemade Natural Yogurt

There has been a huge growth in Irish artisan yogurt producers over the last few years ranging from West Cork's Glenilen Yogurt, Glenisk Organic Yogurt, Killowen Farm yogurt and many more. It's really exciting to see the growth of artisan yogurt producers and I think it's because more of us are recognising the quality of great Irish dairy which we are able to produce in this country. The lush green pastures of Ireland, our climate coupled with our passionate farming heritage gives Ireland's dairy a unique and unrivaled taste.

The growth of real yogurt can be linked to our strive for healthier living too with many of us making a conscious effort to seek out yogurts with no sweetners, artifical perservatives or colourings which you may find in many imported yogurts or even for that matter some homemade processed yogurts. Whenever I get the time I like to make my own yogurt from scratch which is actually very easy to make and is ideal as a breakfast treat topped with some granola, some fruit compote or as a healthy snack with honey, pomegranate and toasted ground hazelnuts.

Ingredients:

- 2 Tbsp Live Culture (or Live Yogurt at room temperature)
- 500ML Full Fat Organic Glenisk Milk
- 4 Tbsp Milk Powder (used to thicken the yogurt)


Method

1. Warm the milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan until the milk reaches around 85°C-90°C then whisk in then milk powder. Place the milk off the heat and allow to return to the optimum level of 40°C-42°C on your yogurt thermometer. (If you do not have a thermometer, place your spotlessly clean index finger into the milk mixture and if it can rest there comfortably for ten seconds then it is at optimum level but this is an inaccurate method of making yogurt not to mention unhygienic). 

2. Once at the optimum level of 40°C - 42°C, stir in the live culture / yogurt into the mixture and pour into a pottery bowl covering tightly with cling film. Place the pottery bowl in a warm place for example I leave it sitting alongside the stove at home or in the hot press. (Nigel Slater's tip of placing a hot water bottle alongside the pottery bowl works very well too). 

3. The following morning, stir your yogurt mixture and cool in a fridge. If you are pouring the yogurt into small glass jars, ensure you steralise the jars first. 

Notes:

- Homemade yogurt keeps well for up to two weeks. 
- Ensure that all your equipment is spotlessly clean before starting by placing them in boiling hot water.
- Depending on the season try some rhubarb, strawberry, elderflower or even gooseberry compote for a really delicious treat.